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Psychologist honoured for groundbreaking work

Professor Richard Crisp

9 September 2014

One of the most prestigious Psychological awards in the UK has been handed to an Aston University academic.  

Professor Richard Crisp was given the British Psychological Society’s President’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge 2014. The Award is conferred to psychologists who are currently engaged in research that is judged to be of outstanding quality. 

The social psychologist, who is Professor of Psychology at Aston Business School, is perhaps best known for developing the concept of ‘imagined contact’ – a mental simulation technique that models interactions between people from different cultures and groups. 

His research has established that the simple act of imaging positive contact with a member of an outgroup can contribute to reducing prejudice against that group. 

Professor Crisp said: “I am honoured and delighted to receive this award. I passionately believe this research holds huge potential to address many of the challenges facing governments and organisations, and it is rewarding to see it recognised in this way. Our research is highly team focused, and I am also especially proud to have helped the next generation of psychological scientists forge their own careers and contributions to the field. 

I am honoured and delighted to receive this award. I passionately believe this research holds huge potential to address many of the challenges facing governments and organisations

“I’ve spent my whole career pushing forward with scientific discovery and I will always want to do that – but what I am really excited about now is impact. I strongly believe there is a need for us to better connect basic science with applications – to build stronger pathways to effect positive change in peoples’ everyday lives.” 

The Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge 2014 Award was granted to Professor Crisp on the basis of a recommendation from Professor Miles Hewstone, of the University of Oxford. 

Professor Hewstone said: “Richard has established an international reputation in the psychology of prejudice and intergroup relations. His work is characterised by interrogative theorising and rigorous methodology, exploring both basic level processes and a concern with pressing social issues. His work is highly team –focused and the outstanding success of his graduates provides evidence that he can enable and inspire excellence in doctoral supervision.” 

In his twenty-year career, Professor Crisp has written or co-authored more than 130 articles and chapters in books, which are recognised to have made important contributions to how psychologists’ understand the impact of social categorisation on prejudice, discrimination and social conflict. 

He previously worked at as Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, Head of Psychology at the University of Kent and Chair in Psychology at the University of Sheffield.

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For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or j.garbett@aston.ac.uk