The Society for the
Study of Social Issues


The Social Issues Dissertation Award

The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues is proud to announce the Social Issues Dissertation Award, established to encourage excellence in socially relevant research.


Any doctoral dissertation in psychology (or in a social science with psychological subject matter) accepted between March 1st of the previous year and up to the deadline of the current year is eligible. Applicants must have successfully defended their dissertation prior to the current year's award deadline.  Please note that in the award year an individual or group may only submit one paper to one SPSSI award (from amongst the Allport, Klineberg, and Dissertation Awards) and applicants may not submit to the Dissertation Prize twice.


A first prize of $1000 and a second prize of $500 will be awarded to the dissertations that best demonstrate scientific excellence and potential application to social problems.

Click here to view previous Social Issues Dissertation Award Winners!


The Road to Empathy: Dialogic Pathways for Engaging Diversity and Improving Intergroup Relations (2011, Nicholas Sorenson); Coparenting among Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Adoptive Couples: Associations with Couple Relationships and Child Outcomes (2011, Rachel Farr); Not So Black and White: The Impact of Motivation on Memory for Racially Ambiguous Faces (2010, Kristin Pauker); Combating Contemporary Racial Biases: On the Virtues of Perspective Taking (2010, Andrew Todd); Novel self-categorization overrides racial bias: A multi-level approach to intergroup perception and evaluation (2009, Jay Van Bavel); The Luck Preference: Investigations Across Culture and Development (2009, Kristina Olson); Responsibility and Denial: Antecedents of Group-based Emotional Responses to Atrocities Committed by the Ingroup (2008, Sabina Cehajic); The Effects of Perceived Threat on Political Attitudes: Uncertainty, Lack of Control, and Closed-Mindedness (2008, Hulda Thorisdottir); Social Identity Threat and performance motivation: The interplay between ingroup and outgroup domains (2007, Belle Derks); Social-Psychological paths to protest; An integrative perspective (2007, Martijn van Zomeren); The role of compensatory stereotypes and attributions in system justification (2006, Aaron C. Kay); Welcome to the Neighborhood? Long-Term Impacts of Moving to Low-Poverty Neighborhoods on Poor Children's and Adolescents' Outcomes (2005, Rebecca C. Fauth); Neural Signs for the Detection of Race Bias: Implications for Individual Differences in Regulatory Ability (2004, David Amodio); Putting Pettigrew's reformulated Model to the Test: The Intergroup Contact Theory in Transition (2003, Anja Eller); Bailing and Jailing the Fast and Frugal Way: An Application of Social Judgment Theory and Simple Heuristics to English Magistrates’ Remand Decisions (2002, Mandeep K. Dhami); Status Differences In Selective Devaluing: Perceived Illegitimacy Moderates the Status Value Effect (2000, Toni Schmader); Children’s Static Versus Dynamic Conceptions of People: Their Impact on Intergroup Attitudes (1999, Sheri Levy).

The application should include:

A 500-word summary of the dissertation.  The summary should include title, rationale, methods, and results of dissertation, as well as its implications for social problems.  Please also include a cover sheet that states the title of your dissertation, your name, postal and e-mail addresses, phone number, and university granting the degree. 


APPLY ONLINE NOW!  Online applications are the preferred method.  Please limit the number and size of files uploaded when applying online. 

For hard copy submissions, mail the complete application to SPSSI, 208 "I" (Eye) St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4340. Attn: Social Issues Dissertation


This is an annual award.  The deadline is May 1st. 

All applicants will be notified of their status by July 1st. Finalists will be asked to provide:

i) certification by the dissertation advisor of the acceptance date of the dissertation; and

ii) a full electronic copy of the dissertation. 

The final decision will be announced by September 1st.

Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice.
                                                                                                                    - Kurt Lewin