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PERSONALITY & SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
Kay Deaux
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Kay Deaux was born in 1941, and grew up in suburban Cleveland. She credits her maternal grandfather and an uncle on her father’s side of the family with her early sense of self-reliance and adventure. Kay was at first unsure of what she wanted to study when she attended Northwestern University for her B.A. studies. However, several experiences pointed her in the direction of an academic research career. Kay graduated with her B.A. in 1963. She went first to Columbia University’s School of Social Work to pursue doctoral studies in social issues research but it became apparent very quickly that what she really wanted was a research oriented program in social psychology. Kay moved to the University of Texas where she received her Ph.D. in summer, 1967, followed immediately by her first faculty appointment at Wright State University. In 1970, Kay joined the Department of Psychology at Purdue University, where she stayed until 1987 when she took up a position as Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, at City University of New York, the Graduate Center.

Kay showed her promise as a scholar early, winning First Prize in the Graduate Student Paper Competition from the American Association of Public Opinion Research in 1967. She went on to receive the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize from SPSSI in 1987, the Carolyn Wood Sherif Award from Division 35 of APA in 1987, the Heritage Research Award from Division 35 of APA in 1993, the CWP Leadership Award from APA in 2001, and the Kurt Lewin Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) in 2007. Kay has been a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation and twice a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. Kay also provided stellar leadership to numerous professional societies, serving as President of the Midwestern Psychological Association (1981-1982), the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (1990-1991), the Eastern Psychological Association (1994-95), the American Psychological Society (1997-1998), and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (2004-2005).

Over the course of her career, Kay brought her early sense of self-reliance and adventure to social psychology in a variety of ways. In the decades of the 1970s and 1980s, Kay’s research enlarged our understanding of processes fundamental to women’s lives. Her research moved back and forth easily between laboratory and field, each one always informing the other. Kay’s work in social judgment, attribution, sex-role stereotyping, and identity brought clarity to domains of social psychology that sorely needed it, enlarging and enlightening our understanding of important social phenomena and showing us productive ways to connect sociological and psychological inquiry. Her work on ethnic and immigrant identities throughout the 1990s and 2000s is a model for connecting large-scale social issues with social psychological questions. The end result of her work is always greater clarity and a bigger picture than what preceded.

Kay has also been a terrific role model and mentor to several generations of social psychologists as well as a terrific collaborator with numerous colleagues. She has left a lasting legacy on all the lives that she touched.

While Kay officially retired as Distinguished Professor from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2008, she has not taken leave of social psychology. She continues to extend her reach through international collaborations in Germany, the Netherlands, and beyond. Kay shares her New York and Princeton lives with husband and cognitive psychologist, Sam Glucksberg, sharing a love of art, music, theater, travel and vacations with family and friends in Maine.


Tributes

I owe my entire career, in no small way, to Kay’s mentorship and guidance. I first met Kay when she came to speak at Miami University (where I was a graduate student) as part of a two-day conference on women in psychology, organized by the female graduate students. Kay had just published The Behavior of Women and Men, and was at the forefront of an exciting new area of research on the social psychology of gender. That one-day encounter with Kay changed my life, prompting me to transfer to Purdue University to study with her. It was one of the best decisions of my life. Given her lifetime of success and honors and the gender composition of the field today, it is easy to forget that when Kay started in the field, she was a pioneer. Women were few and far between in the academy and the belief that they did not belong there was widespread. As a young female graduate student in a male-dominated field, it was so exciting and empowering to have a female mentor like Kay! This social context undoubtedly shaped Kay’s career and identity and contributed to her interest in how the social context influences gender differences in social behavior and gender stereotyping. Kay became an inspiring role model for numerous young women entering the field, including me. She exemplified how to bring the highest standards of theoretical sophistication and empirical rigor to bear on understanding important social issues. I will be forever grateful for her wisdom, guidance, and inspiration. Thanks Kay!

Brenda Major


I was fortunate enough to be one of Kay Deaux’s first two doctoral students. Kay offered by example a stunning combination of creativity and intellect. I got to go with her to Indiana county fairs and play pinball machines at her home, all in the name of testing hypotheses about sex differences in attributions of luck and skill. I took one of the first courses taught in the psychology of women from Kay, only slightly less intimidating than having her observe me teach the course to undergraduates a few terms later. I have remained in awe of Kay’s boundless curiosity and enthusiasm for social psychology. Her writings have added significantly to our understanding of the social psychology of gender and culture and have encouraged us to keep psychological and sociological insights connected. I have used Kay’s work to inspire my own students to find a place for themselves within social psychology. Kay coached me through the early years of my career and most recently, through retirement. I am so grateful to have someone of such wise counsel in my life as longtime colleague and friend.

Fran Cherry


Kay Deaux is a true pioneer in psychology. Her work on gender initiated important advances on gender stereotyping, attribution, sex-related differences and similarities, normative regulation, and many other topics. Not content with being an innovator in that area, she went on to study group identities in general. Her work on immigration has been path-breaking in bringing concepts of national and ethnic identity to the forefront. Outstanding in all of this work is Kay’s clarity of mind. Her lucid writing is always a pleasure to read.

Alice Eagly


Kay Deaux has long been a role model, with a talent for friendship. Throughout her career, she has embodied the joint ideals of research and social responsibility. From the inspiration of her research, she has blazed the trail for much good science in the service of humanity. From her many ways of supporting women, minorities, younger scholars, and the field, she has shown what can be done. Amidst all these contributions, she has befriended many, and we are grateful.

Susan Fiske


Kay masterfully connects social psychological theory and methods to issues of major significance in society, and she has a knack for identifying those issues well before the rest of us. Kay is also a generous mentor of emerging scholars, and she does this in ways that expand the scope of perspectives and questions being pursued in our field. I often share Kay’s mentoring advice with my own students, in particular her insight that if most of your experiments confirm your expectations, then it’s a sign you are not asking interesting enough questions. Kay has taught me that understanding complex and socially relevant phenomenon will require comfort with being wrong, openness to ideas and methods from other disciplines, and a commitment to navigating through the murkiness characteristic of these issues. I’m enormously grateful to be among the beneficiaries of Kay’s wisdom.

Cheryl Kaiser


Dear Kay

Because you set the bar so high-

For quality scholarship
Bold and caring leadership
Strong mentorship
Elegant aesthetics and warm comfort for colleagues and students

Because you weave professionalism and creativity
Dignity and high standards
Beautiful art and family and networks

You have created a path that can be admired from afar and advanced in our space at 34th and Fifth

A path of excellence and care that has been carved into the soul of psychology at the graduate center, identity and immigration research across disciplines, intellectual communities across institutions and nations, between university and professional organizations

In english and spanish

With midwestern reserve and a little of east coast Jewish chutzpa that must have rubbed off from sam and the village

I am honored to be a friendand colleague and to shepard the next generation of cuny doctoral students along a path indelibly influenced by the commitments of Deaux

Congratulations my friend - an honor much deserved

Michelle Fine


Kay Deaux is an amazing colleague! I got to know Kay through our mutual interest in immigration research. I have so very much appreciated the many conversations we’ve had about how psychological theory and research can contribute to this field, and Kay’s important insights in this regard. It is always a pleasure to be swept up in her enthusiasm for conducting rigorous psychological research in an area in which psychologists were slow to enter. Congratulations, Kay, on this well-deserved honour.

Victoria Esses


From the moment I arrived at CUNY, Kay went out of her way to support and guide me as I built my professional career. From taking me to lunch as a new assistant professor, inviting me to give a talk, to trusting me to co-chair the Policy Initiative during her SPSSI Presidency, to producing such critically important work on gender, Kay has been an inspiration to me and I am grateful to her and honored to call her a mentor, a colleague, and a friend.

Maureen O’Conner


Kay Deaux exemplifies all of the best in social psychology -- theoretical sophistication and methodological precision joined together in pursuit of basic and applied scientific inquiry. Over the course of her long and distinguished career as a researcher, she has never shied away from tackling the hard problems, always asking the difficult questions and always offering compelling answers. She has been a leader and a role model, both in her scholarship and her service to the discipline. Thank you, Kay!

Mark Snyder


I was fortunate to gain Kay Deaux as a mentor and friend when I was midcareer. Of course she had influenced me in print in many ways long before that, but it has been a later-career joy to have a chance to learn from her and write with her about matters of deep mutual interest. It is hard to think clearly about the ways that social contexts and identities mutually constitute each other--but Kay has led the way for so many of us. She is a model of a generous and generative colleague who knows about many worlds beyond psychology. I always learn from her, and it is also always fun--can't think of better qualities in a scholar, a mentor or a friend.

Abigal Stewart


Kay has been such an amazing role model for me, albeit largely from afar. She was one of the first social psychologists I met (through the journals, of course) who took ethnic identity serious and suggested that it may actually have some value— rather than something to jettison en route to becoming “American.” I can’t express how important this idea was to a young social psychologist of color. Kay's thoughtful engagement with sociologists and political scientists to better understand important social issues continues to inspire me. And, of course, she has always stood as shining example of what is possible for women in our field! Thank you, Kay! And, congratulations!

Jennifer Richeson


I had the good fortune to meet and get to know Kay when I was a visiting scholar at Russell Sage. One of the best things that happened to me that year was getting to know Kay. Even though she hardly knew me at the time, she took time to mentor me and give me sage career advice, and she even took it upon herself to come to Russell Sage to attend my talk. The field is a better place because of Kay’s mentorship, warmth, and guidance.

Sapna Cheryan


The first day I got to meet Social/Personality Psychology faculty at the Graduate Center of CUNY in September 1999 I was told that Kay Deaux would be my advisor. I remember thinking to myself “How did I get so lucky?” To an international student from Turkey, Kay was an unreachable figure from psychology textbooks and journals. I was amazed that I would be working closely with her. In the following years I realized that my real luck was not the fact that I was studying with a major name in social psychology, but that I was mentored by an incredibly patient and kind person who taught me to hold myself only to the highest professional standards. I appreciated Kay’s genuine joy as we celebrated my achievements, her unconditional support when I failed miserably, and her “tough love” when I was not doing my best. I still remind myself of specific instances of her patience with the clueless grad student that I was whenever I start losing my temper with my own students. She’s still the first person to read my work and give feedback. And still the quintessential resident of our beloved New York, the first person I contact whenever I plan a trip to the City. More than 15 years later, as our relationship has evolved from advising to mentoring and friendship, I still find myself asking the same question: “How did I get so lucky?”

Nida Bikmen


Several years ago, Kay called to invite me to join the Cultural Contact and Immigration Working Group at the Russell Sage Foundation. Since then, I have had the good fortune of getting to know Kay and to have her guidance on my work at the Foundation. What Kay probably does not know is how far back her guidance goes. For, you see – Kay has been an inspiration to me from the very beginning of my career in the early ‘90s. Before the term “diversity” ever made it into the lexicon of mainstream psychology, Kay developed a social identity framework that was critical for launching research on the experiences of ethnic minorities and immigrants. Her work gave me and others both the tools and the inspiration to proceed with our own work at a time when the problems we thought were important simply were not represented in the field. I am deeply grateful to Kay for her scholarship, which served in no small way as a catalyst for the burgeoning field of diversity science, her pioneering spirit, and her generous mentorship. Thank you Kay!
Yuen Huo



Further Donations are always welcome, whether to honor Kay Deaux or another psychologist. Be sure to leave a note regarding which mentor you would like to donate for and any testimonial you might like to give.