James Pennebaker, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, is the recipient of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s (SPSP) Distinguished Scholar Award — the society’s highest honor.
Pennebaker showed that writing about personal trauma and other negative life experiences can positively affect physical health and psychological well being in the long term. These experiments on self-disclosure and health opened up broader inquiries into the nature of language use in everyday life. His recent book, “The Secret Life of Pronouns,” makes these findings more widely available to the public and won this year’s SPSP Media Book Prize for the Promotion of Social and Personality Science. Pennebaker is the incoming president of SPSP.