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Clara Mayo Grant Report

Wendy R. Williams (Marshall University)

The mission of the SPSSI Clara Mayo Grant is to support masters' these or pre-dissertation research that focuses on prejudice, with special attention to work that examines sexism or racism.  The fund is named for Professor Clara Mayo, a Past-President of SPSSI, and it was made possible by a bequest and gifts from the friends and family in her honor.  Dr. Mayo came to the United States as a refugee after fleeing both Austria and Paris during World War II, and she worked throughout her career to examine both the causes and consequences of prejudice. She investigated a variety of fields, but is perhaps most well-known for her research on gender and racial differences in the perception of nonverbal communication and racial attitudes toward busing.  Through her career, Dr. Mayo placed a strong emphasis on the applicability of social psychology to everyday life, and she was particularly interested in the creation of interventions aimed at reducing prejudice.  Her work is often credited with legitimizing the field of applied social psychology. As such, the Clara Mayo Grant Committee strives to choose winners that reflect these ideals and interest areas, and who demonstrate excellence in their project purposes, theoretical rationale, research methodology, and analytic procedures.

The recipients of the fall 2007 awards are: Clara Wilkins (University of Washington) Positive Intergroup Feedback as a Threat to Ingroup Belonging and Valerie Morganson (Old Dominion University) The Line in the Sand: Understanding Customer Sexual Harassment through a Psychological Contract Framework.  Each of these students received $1000 towards costs associated with conducting their research. Because applications were particularly competitive this round, but funds were limited, the committee also elected to give honorable mentions to the following three projects: Anna Newheiser (Yale University) Perceived Groupness as a consequence of prejudice; Sarah Townshend (UC—Santa Barbara) The Buffering Effects of Worldview on Psychological Reactions to Discrimination; and Angela Nierman (University of Kansas) Conditioned Prejudice and Perceptions of Threat.

Given the goal of the award is to explicitly support the research of young scholars, it is especially gratifying to hear when research that was supported by the Clara Mayo Grant has not only been successfully completed, but published in major journals.  We have received news recently of two such projects.  Evan Apfelbaum received a Clara Mayo Grant in 2005, and his research, Seeing race and seeming racist? Evaluating strategic colorblindness in social interaction, co-authored with Samuel Sommers and Michael Norton, is currently in press at the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  Also in press at JSPS is an article by Jenessa Shapiro and Steven Neuberg titled When do the stigmatized stigmatize? The ironic effects of being accountable to (perceived) majority group prejudice-expression norms which is based off research for which Jenessa received a Clara Mayo award in 2004.  This is outstanding news, and SPSSI is proud to have been a part in helping these projects. Congratulations to all of these students—both past and present!

We would like to continue to highlight successful research, so if you have also received a Clara Mayo Grant and subsequently published your work, please contact me at

The 2007 Clara Mayo Grant Committee was chaired by Wendy R. Williams (Marshall University) and included Ashby Plant (Florida State University) and Lisa M. Brown (Austin College).

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