Tropp Honored for ‘Highly Influential’ Work in Experimental Social Psychology

Linda Tropp
Linda Tropp

Linda Tropp, professor of social psychology in the department of psychological and brain sciences, has been selected as a recipient of the 2018 Scientific Impact Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP), which “honors the author of a specific article or chapter offering a theoretical, empirical, and/or methodological contribution that has proven highly influential over the last 25 years.”

The award will be presented at the 2018 SESP conference Oct. 4-6 in Seattle.

Tropp will receive the award in recognition of the 2006 article she coauthored entitled “A meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory.” This theory maintains that contact, under certain conditions, between two or more social groups can promote tolerance. If groups are allowed to communicate with one another, they may start to appreciate each other's viewpoints. Findings from Tropp's meta-analysis shows that intergroup contact typically reduces intergroup prejudice. This result suggests that contact theory, devised originally for racial and ethnic encounters, can be extended to other groups.

As summarized by the selection committee chair: “The committee's decision was unanimous and reflects the tremendous importance of Tropp’s meta-analysis and broader body of work, both theoretical and methodological, that has emerged before and since this particular publication.”

Tropp has also examined how groups of different status and power interact and experience contact. She is interested in studying legacies of inequality and conflict that form a group's perspectives and motivations. She strives to identify mechanisms that could be used to strengthen positive relations and social justice.

Tropp received the 2012 Distinguished Academic Outreach Award from UMass Amherst for excellence in the application of scientific knowledge to advance the public good. She has also received the Erikson Early Career Award from the International Society of Political Psychology, the McKeachie Early Career Award from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, and the Allport Intergroup Relations Prize from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

Tropp is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.