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Gordon Allport Award for Best Article on Intergroup Relations, 2008

by Kerry Kawakami, Selection Committee Chair


On behalf of the selection committee (Kerry Kawakami,Chair; Wendy Berry Mendes, John Jost, Margo Monteith, Dick Moreland, and Jacquie Vorauer), I am pleased to announce that this year's winners of the Gordon Allport Award for best article or paper of the year on intergroup relations are Andrea Carnaghi, Anne Maass, Sara Gresta, Mauro Bianchi, Mara Cadinu, and Luciano Arcuri for their 2008 article entitled Nomina sunt omina: On the inductive potential of nouns and adjectives in person perception, which appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 839-859. In this article, the authors describe six experiments that provide strong evidence for the impact of nouns on inferences about social category members. Specifically, they demonstrated that when targets were described by nouns (eg, “Mark is a homosexual”) compared to adjectives (eg, “Mark is homosexual”), people were more likely to infer stereotypes and less likely to infer counterstereotypes when forming an impression. Furthermore, their findings demonstrate that once a person has been labeled by a noun (eg, “Mark is an athlete”), classification of the same person along a different dimension (eg, “Mark is also an artist”) becomes unlikely. Notably, when targets are described with nouns in comparison to adjectives, greater essentialism was also attributed to stereotypic behavior such that the targets’ behavioral preferences were perceived to be stronger, more stable, and more resilient. The committee was impressed by the novelty of the ideas, the quality of the research, and the importance of its implications for intergroup relations.


The committee would also like to acknowledge two additional papers for their innovative approach to studying prejudice in an intergroup context and their examination of actual behaviors. The articles that receive honorable mentions are by Elizabeth Levy Paluck entitled Reducing intergroup prejudice and conflict using the media: A field experiment in Rwanda, which appeared in 2009 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 574-587, and by Evan Apfelbaum, Samuel Sommers, and Michael Norton entitled Seeing race and seeming racist? Evaluating strategic colorblindness in social interaction, which appeared in 2008 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 918-932.


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