British psychologist to receive prestigious award

Friday 6 July 2018
Professor Steve Reicher, School of Psychology & Neuroscience

A University of St Andrews professor is the first Brit to win a prestigious international prize for his contribution to psychology.

Stephen Reicher, Wardlaw Professor in the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University, has been awarded the 2018 Harold Lasswell Award by the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP).

The award, which is the most prestigious award the ISPP present, has been made in recognition of Professor Reicher’s “distinguished scientific contribution in the field of political psychology”.

Professor Reicher said: “I am surprised and delighted in equal measure by the award. I have always felt that there is little point in doing research if it doesn’t make a difference – and it is self-evident in today’s world that there is much room for improvement in the quality of our political processes and political leadership.”

Professor Reicher, who is the first British academic to receive the honour, was last year presented with the ISPP Nevitt Sanford award which recognises work in the field of psychology which is both accessible and has the potential to make a positive difference to the workings of politics.

A social psychologist, Professor Reicher specialises in how people behave in groups. His influential work on crowd behaviour, political rhetoric and mass social influence, solidarity and social cohesion, intergroup hatred, conformity and obedience, and the psychology of tyranny is widely regarded as ground-breaking.

His recent work has involved the study of authoritarian leadership and resulted in him successfully predicting the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.

A Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Professor Reicher is committed to applying his research to practical use in society.

He has served as consultant to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, as well as the Police and the Emergency services in the UK, has advised the Scottish and UK governments and, through his research, has influenced policy both in the UK and globally.

The ISPP is a US non-profit organisation founded in 1978 which represents all fields of inquiry concerned with exploring the relationships between political and psychological processes and includes members from various fields, from psychology to political scientist, and historians among others.

The Harold Lasswell Awards is named after one of the pioneers of the application of psychology to the analysis of politics.

Visit the International Society of Political Psychology website for more information on the ISPP and its work.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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