Jack Dovidio is the Carl Iver Hovland Professor of Psychology and Public Health at Yale University, where he also served as the Dean of Academic Affairs of the Faculty of Arts and Science. Jack earned his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1973 and his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in 1977. His collaboration with his dissertation advisor and friend, Sam Gaertner, continued throughout his career. Jack’s first academic position started in 1977 at Colgate University, where he later served as Provost and Dean of the Faculty. In 2003, he moved to the University of Connecticut, followed by a move to Yale University in 2007.
Jack’s research centers around issues of social power and social relations, both between groups and between individuals. His work on prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination, related to a variety of social categories such as racial and ethnic groups, sexual minorities, immigrants, socioeconomic status, and people with disabilities, is considered foundational. His early theorizing on Aversive Racism (in close collaboration with Sam Gaertner) set the groundwork for current research on implicit biases. His exploration of both conscious and unconscious intergroup processes has had a deep and lasting impact on our understanding of how people think, feel, and behave toward others based on group membership.
A primary focus of Jack’s research has been on discovering mechanisms related to intergroup bias and developing strategies to improve intergroup relations based on this knowledge. For example, his research on the Common Ingroup Identity Model has contributed to our knowledge of how social categorization processes can increase and decrease prejudice. Likewise, his work on contact theory, positive expectations, bias awareness, entitativity, associative training, and social power have led to the discovery of effective interventions to reduce intergroup miscommunication and bias. He has also made key contributions to the understanding of how perceptions of health care providers affect medical interactions, decisions, and outcomes for traditionally stigmatized groups. Jack’s legacy, however, will not only be related to his theorizing and research, but also to his commitment to mentoring students. As evident in the tributes, Jack has inspired the next generation of academics because of his dedication to science, his support of collaborators and students, and his steadfast goal to improve intergroup relations.
Jack has been widely recognized for his scholarship and mentorship. He has been awarded the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize from SPSSI in 1985, 1999, and 2000, the Dalmas A. Taylor Award from APA in 2001, the Kurt Lewin Award from SPSSI in 2004, the Raymond A. Fowler Award from APA in 2007, the Presidential Citation from APA in 2008, the Donald T. Campbell Award from SPSP in 2011, and the Otto Klineberg Intercultural and International Relations Prize from SPSSI in 2019. He has served as President of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP), the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI). He has also been editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, as well as founding Co-Editor of Social Issues and Policy Review. Given his generous service to the field, it is not surprising that Jack received the Distinguished Service Award from SPSSI in 2006, from APA in 2009, and from SPSP in 2014.
Jack is an exceptional scholar, scientist, mentor, and professional citizen. His work has inspired my own and his generosity and guidance, especially during my junior faculty years, contributed greatly to my own professional success. Indeed, his guidance, attention, and wisdom has been helpful to many other social psychologists from underrepresented minority backgrounds—far beyond his actual trainees, without any compensation or credit. I can't express enough how important it is for one of the leading figures in the field to take an interest in the development of scholars from racial minority backgrounds. This alone is worthy of recognition on the Heritage Wall of Fame!"
- Jennifer Richeson
I met Jack 294 publications ago (yep!). Jack Dovidio is simply the North Star of our field. His impact is not only in the prolific body of theorizing and research he has done on intergroup relations but also in the way he leaves an impact on people in the field. He was at Colgate without graduate students; hence, he helped usher so many of us assistant professors — many of whom are women and/or URMs — into tenured positions. If you become aware of all the people he pulled up while he climbed, it's staggering. Jack helped (as an editor) publish my first PSPB 20 years ago, allowed me to collaborate with him many times since, believed in me, and taught me so much about how to think, write, and publish. What can I say other than I just love this man — No doubt he is the academic who had the single greatest influence on my own career. Thank you Jack for all you do!
- Mikki Hebl
It was a beautiful coincidence to work with such a great mentor to understand mentoring. Jack's wisdom, knowledge and approach to research is unequivocal. What further makes Jack so admired by anyone who knows him is that Jack mentors indiscriminately. Even during the busiest week, Jack always finds the time to meet with each and every one of his mentees. He spends a significant time and energy on developing his mentees in research while guiding them to navigate the academic world successfully. If academia is a movie, Jack is the narrator who knows everything. He also listens indiscriminately, although he has a good amount of the most cited theories in the field and really high expectations, he will listen to your best and worse ideas calmly. He will; however, give his honest opinion at the end, as the time he saves time from sugarcoating, he'll spend on effective mentoring. And yes, the urban myth about him remembering effect sizes to the second decimal—it is true!
- Elif G. Ikizer
Jack is salt of the earth, in possession of so much good sense and moral character. For decades he has not wavered in his commitment to supporting such a wide variety of us trying to make our way in the field, in academe, and in the world.
- Colin Wayne Leach
When I first arrived as brand new assistant professor at Colgate, I was incredibly lucky in so many ways. And perhaps the biggest of those ways was that Jack Dovidio was the Chair of the Psychology Department. I cannot imagine a better mentor to help a new faculty person acclimate to the world of academia and the world of Colgate. Jack quickly became my model for what I could only hope to become — an outstanding teacher, a world-class scholar, and a completely generous colleague who served both Colgate and his field with joy and wisdom. About a decade after I started at Colgate, I was lucky to serve as a temporary Secretary-Treasurer for SPSP while Jack was on the Board. When I attended the Board meetings that year, I was able to see Jack as the rest of the non-Colgate world sees him. I discovered first-hand that Jack has served as a model of the ideal teacher-scholar-colleague and leader for the entire field of social psychology! Our department continues to quote Jack's words of wisdom, now many years since he has moved on to U Conn and then Yale. I will always be grateful to Jack for the way that he generously supported me in my earliest years as a professor at Colgate.
- Rebecca Shiner
Jack has been my friend and research collaborator for almost forty years. Personally and professionally, this has been one of the best "alliances" in my life. Jack is incredibly generous with his time and effort for both his colleagues and the numerous faculty and graduate students, whom he doesn't know but contact him in response to his research articles. Much of my own work over the last 40 years has been inspired and guided by Jack's important theoretical models in the areas of prosocial behavior and racial/ethnic bias. I am extremely grateful for this and our friendship. Congratulations to Jack on yet another honor from his colleagues in social psychology.
- Lou Penner
Jack's wisdom, kindness, and generosity set him apart as a phenomenal mentor and role model for rising psychologists. Jack went above and beyond in advising me during my pivotal last year of graduate school, despite the fact that my research interests were only tangential to his many areas of expertise. This illustrated his selfless commitment to helping students, as well as his seemingly limitless knowledge and instinctive insights across all areas of psychology. Jack's contributions to the field are wide-reaching in scope and impact, and I am incredibly grateful for the privilege to have received his mentorship.
- Rebecca L. Pearl
I have been incredibly fortunate to have Jack as a mentor for the past decade. As a graduate student in his lab, I was constantly impressed by his deep knowledge of the experimental social psychology literature, his creative methodological approaches to studying intergroup relation processes, and his dedication to mentorship. He was always generous with his time, challenging me to become a better scientist and writer while also encouraging me to pursue interdisciplinary collaborations that most closely aligned with my interests. Jack has remained an important part of my professional journey since I graduated from Yale, providing me with invaluable advice and guidance as I navigate the beginning stages of my career. I continue to be inspired by his numerous scholarly contributions, his passion for applying social psychological principles to address pressing public health and social justice issues, and his commitment to nurturing the next generation of scholars. Thank you, Jack, for being an amazing source of wisdom and support over the years — Congratulations!
- Katie Wang
I first met Jack when I was a graduate student at the University of Toronto and he came to give a talk in our colloquium series. I had based much of my dissertation research on his work related to Aversive Racism and automatic stereotyping, and so I was very excited to hear him speak in person. It is hard to believe now considering how this field has developed, but at the time he was one of only a handful of researchers examining implicit racial biases. His talk, as always, was entertaining, empirically sound, and theoretically and practically important. After his talk, I cornered him and ignoring the impressive array of studies that he had just presented, introduced him to some recent data that I couldn't figure out. Jack immediately set about helping me to understand my data and provided me with useful tips on how to analyze and interpret it considering current theorizing.
In the spring of 1990, I was waiting to defend my PhD and Jack invited me to come up to Colgate University to collaborate with him on a small project related to strategies to reduce the automatic activation of stereotypes. Thirty years later, I am still working on this project and I am grateful to Jack for having set my course. Through the years, Jack has become more than just a mentor and a collaborator, he has become a great friend -- one on whom I can always rely on for support, encouragement, and kindness.
Besides being an amazing mentor to me and numerous other students, Jack's work on intergroup relations has driven the field for almost 40 years. From his early work on automatic stereotyping to the Aversive Racism Theory to the Common Ingroup Identity Model to his studies on reducing implicit and explicit prejudice, and biases by health care providers, his theorizing and research will have an enduring impact on our understanding of intergroup relations.
- Kerry Kawakami
I remember we were told Jack would never be willing to be the opponent on my PhD defense. I had never met him personally, and being my opponent would mean flying from the East Coast to Oslo in the middle of the winter — with constant minus degrees, snow and 6 hours of sun light, certainly not the best time of the year to visit Norway. Against all my expectations, Jack agreed to be part of the committee. On the day of the defense, I told him about a paper I was working on and he wondered whether I could print out the draft for him. The very next day, despite jetlag and better things to do when visiting the city for the first time, Jack gave me extensive feedback on my paper. This day marked the beginning of our collaboration and I later started as post-doc in his lab.
Looking back, I feel honored and grateful for being able to collaborate with Jack and having such a distinguished scholar as my adviser. In addition to being an academic inspiration, I would like to thank him for his genuine interest in furthering mine and his other students' and post-docs' careers. It means a lot to us.
- Jonas Kunst
People often say that there are two types of research in social psychology: studies proving that people's common sense is correct and studies proving that people's common sense is incorrect. However, the work of Jack Dovidio and his many collaborators (primary of whom is Sam Gaertner) does not fall into these categories. For this reason, I enjoy talking about his research to students and people outside of academia. From experience, I know that hearing about aversive racism and implicit bias transforms the way people think about intergroup relations and gives voice to the thoughts and feelings of minority members. As such, Jack's work is a perfect illustration of why knowledge is power.
In addition to inspiring us with his research, anybody who has had the privilege of working with Jack knows that he is exceptionally kind and generous. Even though he is relentlessly busy, he dedicates an enormous amount of time to his students. In my own case, he has devoted a lot of effort to improve the papers and proposals that I pass on to him and to write the recommendations that I request - not only during my postdoctoral training but years later as well.
Almost a decade since I completed my training, Jack's wise advice still guides many aspects of my work. When I meet other researchers who were supervised by him, they confirm that this is true for them as well — and we conclude that "once you know Jack, you can't go back"
- Nurit Shnabel
When I tell people outside of my institution that I work with Jack, I can see their faces fill with awe. Jack is, of course, one of the most prolific and influential researchers in the field, and his work on racism and intergroup relations has influenced countless scholars in psychology — as well as society more broadly. Beyond that — and unknown to many of my fellow PhD students — Jack is incredibly humble, kind, and committed to instilling a growth mindset in the students he mentors. Jack is not focused on evaluating his students or their work but rather on meeting them where they are and providing concrete, constructive feedback and advice that will serve them not only in graduate school but throughout their careers. Jack frequently reminds his students that writing is a skill, not a talent. He challenges norms of competition and exclusion within academia. He opens his lab and extends his mentorship to psychologists from around the world and at every possible career stage. I am deeply grateful and honored to have the opportunity to work with Jack.
- Natalie Wittlin
I am delighted that Jack is being honored in this wall of fame. I have always greatly admired Jack's research. What makes him all the more 'special' is his commitment to putting knowledge into practice and truly helping the populations he studies. For me it was a wonderful opportunity to be able to actually get to know and collaborate with Jack as a graduate student – during a four month visit many years ago. Those were some of the best working months of my life. Jack is truly inspiring, such fun to work with. He cares for his students and has the talent of accepting people as they are, listening to what they have to say and, from a scientific point of view, giving room to develop own ideas. So apart from all his scientific and societal achievements, he has been a wonderful mentor and role model, to me and many others.
- Katherine Stroebe