Congratulations to sociology PhD student Gordon Brett for receiving the Best Graduate Student Paper Award from the Theory Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA). This award recognizes distinguished theoretical work by a graduate student and may take the form of either a paper published or accepted for publication; a paper presented at a professional meeting; or a paper suitable for publication or presentation at a professional meeting. Gordon’s award-winning paper “Dueling with Dual Process Models. Cognition, Creativity and Context,” which was published in Sociological Theory (40 (2):179-201, 2022), draws on 40 interviews with theatrical improvisers as well as on observations from improvisational theater to discuss what is known in psychology as the dual-process model of cognition. Gordon’s paper considers three limitations of dual-process scholarship and their implications for culture, cognition, and action.
Gordon Brett is a PhD student in the University of Toronto Sociology Department. His research examines how cognitive processes and social and cultural life interrelate. This includes examining how cognition shapes creativity and human behavior in social contexts, how people develop patterns of thought and action, and how the cognitive sciences can improve sociological theory and research. His dissertation, The Embodied Dimensions of Creativity, examines how improvisational theatre troupes collaboratively create new jokes, characters, stories, and scenes in real-time, drawing on interviews and observational data with experienced improvisers from the Toronto improv scene. From this data, he develops an account of how creativity emerges out of interactions between cognitive processes, corporeal and material states and conditions, and the social and cultural environment. His research is published in Sociological Science, Poetics, Social Psychology Quarterly, Sociological Forum, and Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour.