Prof. Clayton Critcher Honored with SAGE Young Scholars Award

At Berkeley-Haas since 2010, Marketing Prof. Clayton Critcher continues to build his career by studying how people navigate life as economic, political, and moral beings and by shedding light on consumer behavior.

In recognition of his body of research, Prof. Critcher has received the 2015 SAGE Young Scholars Award from the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology (FPSP).

Critcher, an assistant professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, is one of five winners who will be recognized at the FPSP annual conference on Feb. 26 in Long Beach, Calif. His research has focused on judgment and decision-making, moral psychology, and consumer behavior. Contemporary issues such as racial or sexual discrimination often inspire his research work.

“I use experimental methods to test how people come to understand themselves and form impressions of others,” says Prof. Critcher. “I attempt to make major contributions to basic theoretical development by studying questions of clear applied import to both business and public policy.”

In his paper, “If He Can Do It, So Can They: Exposure to Counterstereotypically Successful Exemplars Prompts Automatic Inferences” (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, March 2014), Prof. Critcher found that positive examples of African-American success stories prompt white Americans to think less successful African-Americans simply need to apply more effort to achieve their own success. A feature story about Critcher’s research paper in The Huffington Post (June 2014) received 27,000 page likes and nearly four thousand page shares.

Critcher also co-authored the study, “The Cost of Keeping it Hidden: Decomposing Concealment Reveals What Makes it Depleting” (Journal of Experimental Psychology: General) that reveals the stress and negative impact of keeping a secret, such as one’s sexual orientation or something as simple as concealing a forbidden word. This paper was cited in The Atlantic (February 2014).

“Clayton has primarily aimed for a more general understanding of how humans think, thereby enabling him to make predictions about the behavior of different people, considering different features, of different products,” says Leif Nelson, chair of the Haas Marketing Group. “His success is reflected in the prestigious SAGE award – by discovering new things about the behavior of humans, he brings insights into consumers across many marketing situations.”

The SAGE Young Scholar Award is sponsored by the FPSP in collaboration with SAGE Publications, the publisher of hundreds of academic journals and textbooks. 

"The SAGE Young Scholars Awards recognize outstanding achievements by young scholars who are early in their research careers,” says Harry Reis, President of FPSP. “The awards are intended to provide these scholars with funds that can be flexibly applied in extending their work in new and exciting directions. Previous winners of this award have gone on to positions of intellectual leadership in the field. Because these awards are highly sought after, winning a Sage Young Scholar Award is recognition of both accomplishment and potential."

The four other SAGE Young Scholar Award recipients are Emily Impett of the University of Toronto Mississauga; Nicholas Rule of the University of Toronto; Jenessa Shapiro of UCLA and Jay Van Bavel of New York University.