Patricia Bruininks, PhD, an assistant psychology professor at Hendrix College, won the Martin E.P. Seligman Award for outstanding dissertation research in positive psychology in October. The award, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, included a $1,000 cash grant and travel expenses to the International Positive Psychology Summit, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, in Washington, D.C. Arthur Schwartz, executive vice president of the Templeton Foundation, presented the award to Bruininks.
Now in its seventh year, the Seligman Award recognizes talented and promising young researchers exploring positive psychology topics that focus on building human strengths. Bruininks' research defined hope as a characteristic distinct from optimism and other related states. She measured hope by creating an individual-difference measure based on her definition. She found that hope is most similar to, but still distinct from, wishing, and that hope differs from optimism by being an emotion, representing more important, but less likely outcomes, and by allowing for less personal control.
Bruininks is now collecting data to examine the psychophysiology of hope to better understand what underlies individual differences in hoping.Linda Spear, PhD, a distinguished professor of psychology at the State University of New York-Binghamton, accepted the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's Mark Keller Award and delivered an accompanying lecture on adolescents and alcohol in November at the National Institutes of Health.
Spear has published landmark studies on the effects of alcohol on the developing brain. Her work centers, in particular, on alcohol sensitivity and use during adolescence, the age when many young people first drink alcohol. Spear uses animal models to identify factors that might contribute to adolescents' propensity to experiment with alcohol and to determine why this age group seems to be prone to excessive drinking. Her findings are helping scientists understand how alcohol affects the developing brain and ultimately how drinking during adolescence may contribute to alcohol-related problems later in life.
The annual Mark Keller Award recognizes outstanding alcohol researchers who make significant contributions to the field's understanding of alcohol's effects, and the prevention and treatment of alcoholism.The Department of Education's National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research awarded psychologist Daniel Holland, PhD, a 2006 Mary E. Switzer Distinguished Fellowship in September. The fellowship supports research in disability issues. Holland, an associate psychology professor at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, studies, among other topics, disability activism in post-communist Eastern Europe. He will use the award to study how disability activists have promoted disability rights and independent living in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. The research will examine grassroots disability activities in those countries as well as international disability policies, such as at the United Nations and the European Union.
APA member Pamela Merkys, PhD, a clinical and geriatric psychologist for Cleveland-based Psychological Transitions, won first place in the Gloria Film Festival in West Valley City, Utah, for her film script "The Yellow Wallpaper." The script is an adaptation of an 1891 short story about a young mother's descent into postpartum mental illness in the care of her loving family. Merkys is also a finalist in the British Short Film Festival and semifinalist in the Page International Film Festival. Her first movie, "Going Postal," is being filmed in December. Merkys received her clinical psychology PhD in 1996.
In October, psychologist Claude M. Steele, PhD, the Lucy Stern Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, delivered the second American Education Research Association (AERA) Brown Lecture in Education Research.
Steele, an APA fellow and director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, Calif., delivered a lecture titled "Contingencies of Identity and Schooling in a Diverse Society: Toward Reducing Inequality of Outcomes" in Washington, D.C.
The annual Brown Lecture features research's role in advancing understanding of equality in education. AERA inaugurated the lecture last year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.Discover magazine named "The Man Who Shocked the World: The Life and Legacy of Stanley Milgram" (Basic Books, 2004) by APA member Thomas Blass, PhD, one of the top science books of 2004. The magazine described this first-ever biography of Milgram as "by turns both moving and chilling."
Blass is a psychology professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. In addition to the biography, Blass has authored more than 40 publications and papers on Milgram's life and work, including the G. Stanley Hall invited address at APA's 2001 Annual Convention. He also maintains an informational Web site on Milgram at www.stanleymilgram. com/main.html.Psychologist Sheila Ribordy, PhD, received DePaul University's 23rd Annual Cortelyou-Lowery Award for Excellence in October. Ribordy, a psychology professor and director of DePaul's Mental Health Center, received the award for her contributions in teaching and curriculum development, mentoring and research and in program development and leadership. Ribordy has for 30 years taught courses on topics such as family therapy, child development and treatment methods with children. She has created behavioral treatments for insomnia, developed and assessed strategies to help children overcome test anxiety and has more than 25 years of child abuse research and intervention experience.
Ribordy holds her master's and PhD, both in clinical psychology, from the University of Kansas. Among other honors, she has received two National Institute of Mental Health fellowships.
Evolutionary psychologist Leda Cosmides, PhD, a professor at the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB), was one of 13 scientists-and the only psychologist-to win a 2005 Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in September. The prestigious five-year grants provide $500,000 annually toward direct costs of research, plus additional amounts for overhead.
NIH recognized Cosmides for her work in pioneering the field of evolutionary psychology in the 1980s with her husband and collaborator, John Tooby, PhD, a psychologist at Harvard University. Cosmides and Tooby introduced the field in the landmark book "The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture" (Oxford University Press, 1992). The NIH award credits Cosmides with drawing from evolutionary biology, cognitive science, human evolution, anthropology, neuroscience and psychology to discover previously unknown mechanisms of the human mind and brain.
The award, she says, further affirms the field.
"I can't say enough about what NIH is trying to do [with this award] to encourage novel work across disciplinary boundaries," says Cosmides.
Cosmides developed her interest in rebuilding psychology along evolutionary lines while an undergraduate at Harvard, where she earned her cognitive psychology doctorate in 1985. She's been on the UCSB faculty since 1991. There, she and Tooby founded and still co-direct the UCSB Center for Evolutionary Psychology.
Cosmides won the 1988 American Association for the Advancement of Science Prize for Behavioral Science Research, the 1993 APA Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology, and a J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1999.
She will use the Pioneer Award to develop evolutionary and computational approaches to the study of motivation and developmental neuroscience.
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