Gillath lands two early career psychology research awards

This year’s annual conference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology was a good one for Omri Gillath. Not only did he learn more about the current state of research in the field and interact with colleagues, as is often the case at such events, he was honored twice for early career achievements.

Omri Gillath

Gillath, associate professor of social psychology, received both a SAGE Young Scholars Award from the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology and the Caryl Rusbult Close Relationships Early Career Award at the conference.

The SAGE award is given annually to five young researchers in personality and social psychology. The honorees receive a $5,000 award to be used at their discretion for research, study or conference travel. The five recipients were chosen from among more than 10,000 scholars of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology around the world.

The Rusbult award is given each year to one young researcher who is making significant contributions in the field of close relationships. Gillath said he was honored by both awards and was excited to receive both at the same conference.

“I had to pinch myself and say, ‘This is really happening,’ ” Gillath said. “I look around and see all these great colleagues and the work they’re doing in psychology and it’s amazing to be a part of it. It is also encouraging to see that close-relationships-related research is being recognized for its importance.”

Gillath came to KU in 2006. He has written more than 35 papers in refereed journals and seven book chapters and is on the editorial boards of six major academic journals. In 2009, Gillath and colleagues organized the “Mini-conference on New Directions in Research on Close Relationships: Integrating Across Disciplines and Theoretical Approaches,” which brought leading scholars in the discipline to KU.

Gillath’s research explores the underlying mechanisms of close relationships. He uses neuroimaging, physiological measures and endocrine markers as well as traditional social-cognitive methods to explore social behavior and questions such as whether certain people are predisposed to particular types of relationships.

Receiving two awards in one day was an honor, but Gillath credits his department and graduate student assistants for helping him achieve success.

“I’m happy I can contribute in this way and help continue to put Kansas on the map,” he said.

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