Personalities

  • Germany has awarded Thomas Bever, PhD, a linguistics and psychology professor at the University of Arizona, with the Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize, an award given to international researchers at the pinnacle of their careers. Bever’s research focuses on areas such as sentence comprehension, constraints on learning and spatial cognition in humans and animals. An established and highly respected group of German academics select the award recipient, who is typically in mathematics or physical science fields, on behalf of the country.

  • The John Templeton Foundation has awarded the University of Chicago’s Center for Decision Research a three-year, $2.3 million grant. APA member Nicholas S. Epley, PhD, who directs the grant, and his colleague, Richard Thaler, PhD, the principal investigator, received the funding for their project, “Understanding Human Nature to Harness Human Potential.” The project explores how to use basic features of human nature to increase people’s capacities in social and economic decision-making.

  • The Asia Society has appointed APF Board of Trustees member Anthony Jackson, PhD, as its new vice president for education. Jackson is a leading expert in secondary-school reform who uses innovative methods such as internationally themed schools and intercultural school and community programs to improve adolescent learning.

  • APA’s Committee on Aging has awarded its 2009 Award for the Advancement of Psychology and Aging to Bob G. Knight, PhD, the University of Southern California’s Merle H. Bensinger Professor of Gerontology. The award recognizes his extraordinary leadership across the domains of education, practice, organizational development and research in clinical geropsychology. Knight’s career as a scientist-practitioner has shaped the field of geropsychology and the organizations that support it. He served on the APA Committee on Aging from 2000 to 2002 and chaired the committee in 2001.

  • The Society for the History of Psychology has given a Lifetime Achievement Award to David E. Leary, PhD, a professor of psychology and former school of arts and sciences dean at the University of Richmond. Leary was honored for his research on the impact the humanities — including art, literature, philosophy and religion — have on the development of modern psychology and the influence modern psychology has had on American culture.

  • Institute of Medicine members have re-elected APA member Alan I. Leshner, PhD, to the Institute of Medicine council. Leshner, who is chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, will continue as chair of the IOM’s Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders, which brings together academics and government and industry leaders to discuss such diverse issues as treatment development, mental health and neurological disorder care in developing countries.

  • n The Gerontological Society of America presented its Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology Award to Steven Zarit, PhD, at its 62nd Annual Scientific Meeting in November. Zarit is professor and head of the department of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University. He was one of the first researchers to study the burden of dementia patients on family caregivers, and he has shown that psychological measures can help predict the onset of disability in old age. Zarit has also developed clinical models aimed at improving health care and living conditions for older adults. He served as the first chair of the APA Committee on Aging in 1998 and remained a member through 2000.

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