Distinguished Scientific Contribution Awards: John T. Cacioppo, PhD, Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor, department of psychology, and co-director, Institute for Mind and Biology, University of Chicago. Cacioppo is being honored for his research in social psychology and psychophysiology. His work helped bring these areas together to establish social psychophysiology as a means of addressing questions in social, health and cognitive psychology.
Early in his career, Cacioppo collaborated with Richard Petty, PhD, on research on attitudes, and this research introduced a two-process view of persuasion that has been influential in psychology, political science and marketing research. Later, his physiological work involved examining physiological and biological markers of positive and negative affective and cognitive reactions. This work evolved into a concern with the nature and development of positive and negative emotion. He utilized psychophysiological methods to address a variety of theoretical issues that bridge the gap between social psychology and biopsychology. He uses neuroscientific approaches to examine various issues relevant to health psychology. He has focused on cardiovascular and immunological systems, relationships between social isolation and health, the relationship between cardiovascular reactivity and cellular immunity, and individual difference factors in wound healing.
Currently, he is investigating the physiological effects of loneliness. His findings of greater sympathetic nervous system activity in lonely college students and elderly people explain the reasons for increased cardiovascular morbidity in these populations. These findings may also be useful as biomarkers for at-risk populations. His research findings encourage researchers across many disciplines to analyze the effects of the social world on brain, physiological and immune responses.
David E. Meyer, PhD, professor of psychology, University of Michigan. Meyer is being honored for his scientific contributions to research on human cognition and to our understanding of diverse aspects of how people process information. He has contributed to four important domains within cognitive psychology:
Semantic memory and word recognition.
Movement production and perceptual-motor coordination.
Cognitive architecture and information-processing dynamics.
Computational modeling of executive mental processes and working memory.
Meyer's studies of visual word recognition and semantic priming during the 1970s established a paradigm, the lexical-decision task, which continues to be used today for revealing the structure of semantic memory. Subsequently, he conducted theoretical and empirical research on motor control that provided a powerful new mathematical explanation of the remarkably general logarithmic tradeoff in movement speed and accuracy quantified by Fitts' Law, and also explained why rapid aimed movements sometimes exhibit a linear rather than logarithmic speed-accuracy tradeoff. Furthermore, Meyer has developed new experimental procedures and theoretical approaches that help answer basic questions about cognitive architecture regarding the discreteness of successive processing operations, and the transmission of partial information from one operation to the next. His more recent research with computational models of executive mental processes and working memory in multiple-task performance synthesizes much knowledge about human performance, permits it to be applied in diverse, complex, real-world situations and constitutes a significant next step toward a unified theory of cognition and action. Meyer has also strived toward integrating the methods of mathematical psychology and computational modeling with cognitive neuroscience.
His contributions to knowledge about human information processing, cognition and performance have helped advance our understanding of the workings of the brain.
William T. Newsome III, PhD, professor, department of neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, and investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Newsome is being honored for his contributions in the field of neuroscience. He has related cellular function in the primate brain to behavior, bringing together methods and results from experimental psychology and neuroscience.
Newsome's research has been devoted to the study of the relationship between neural activity and visual perception. Early in his career, he studied the organization and function of extrastriate visual cortex, gaining knowledge about the basic properties of neurons and their organization into maps of visual space. Next, he focused on the neuron's role in perception by investigating the function of motion-sensitive neurons in an area of the macaque visual cortex known as MT. Newsome's lesion studies demonstrated that motion discrimination depends upon the integrity of MT, leading him to hypothesize that MT neurons carry the critical signals for motion perception. To test this hypothesis, he trained monkeys to perform threshold discriminations of motion direction. By conducting physiological recording and microstimulation experiments in the trained monkeys, Newsome was able to demonstrate a direct relationship between neural discharge and perception. These studies gave rise to two principles of neuropsychology: Stimulating neurons that seem to signal upward motion do in fact influence a monkey's motion judgments toward the upward direction, and the activity of single neurons in conjunction with their discharge variability limits the accuracy of perception.
The link between perception and electrophysiology has dominated Newsome's career. His work raises new and important questions about how higher brain areas "read out" the information in the visual cortex. His research has begun to make progress in this area, expanding the frontier of visual neuroscience to the field of decision-making and cognitive neuroscience.
Award for Distinguished Scientific Applications of Psychology: Robert Rosenthal, PhD, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, Harvard University, and Distinguished Professor, University of California at Riverside. Rosenthal is being honored for his research contributions that have influenced research methods, empirical investigations, theory and applications. His research on interpersonal expectancy inspired other researchers within and outside of psychology. His insights about ethical issues have improved the way that research is conducted. His contributions to statistics and data analysis have influenced the way that research is analyzed in psychology and other fields.
Rosenthal began his research career investigating the role of the self-fulfilling prophecy in everyday life and in laboratory situations. His special interests included the effects of teachers' expectations on students' academic and physical performance, the effects of experimenters' expectations on the results of their research, and the effects of clinicians' expectations on their patients' mental and physical health. His name has become synonymous with the experimenter expectancy effect, or Rosenthal effect. Experimenter expectancy refers to the investigator's hypothesis or expectancy becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy of participants' responses. Rosenthal's research highlights the importance to researchers of being aware of biases, estimating their magnitude and controlling them when possible.
Rosenthal expanded on his experimenter effects model by developing a distinction between two classes--noninteractional and interactional. Interactional effects refer to extraneous experimenter-related variables that can directly influence the reactions of the research subjects, such as biases due to biological or social attributes of researchers, the researcher's personality and comportment, the uncontrolled aspects of the setting and the example set by the investigator in the role of "scientist." The noninteractional type doesn't directly affect subjects' responses. Such effects would include: overestimates or underestimates of results during the observation and recording phase of an experiment, errors in interpreting the data, and the fabrication of data.
He has addressed ethical issues and dilemmas in human subject research. In his book with Ralph Rosnow, "The Volunteer Subject" (1975), he described a number of strategies that supported ethically acceptable ways to improve the rate of participation by reluctant non-volunteers for research and improve the generalizability of the research sample. The book described how to assess the direction and magnitude of errors of estimate associated with so-called "good subject bias."
Rosenthal's work on meta-analysis and statistics has helped scientists express and evaluate in quantitative terms how well any two competing theories fare individually as well as together.
Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Psychopathology): Deanna M. Barch, PhD, department of psychology, Washington University, and Donald R. Lynam, PhD, department of psychology, University of Kentucky.
Barch and Lynam will share the award. Barch is recognized for her contributions to our understanding of how deficits in cortical functioning and dopamine disturbances impact the cognitive deficits found in neuropsychological syndromes, including schizophrenia. Her work helps to demonstrate how and why specific cognitive/brain disturbances contribute to specific signs and symptoms of schizophrenia. Barch earned her PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993.
Lynam is recognized for his work on the etiology and pathology of childhood psychopathy. His work has had an important impact on the field of developmental psychopathology--especially in the area of the highly interrelated externalizing disorder constructs of ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder. His work has also contributed to our understanding of the childhood precursors of adult psychopathy and has proposed a new construct of childhood psychopathy ("the fledgling psychopath"). Lynam earned his PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995.
Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Developmental Psychology): Nicki R. Crick, PhD, University of Minnesota. Crick is recognized for her theoretical model of social information processing (with Kenneth Dodge, PhD) that has guided the study of aggression and pro-social behavior and for her groundbreaking research on gender and aggression. This research has profoundly changed the way in which we think about aggression and about the development of girls. It has influenced not only the field of developmental psychology, but also the lives of children. Crick earned her PhD at Vanderbilt University in 1992.
Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Health Psychology): Alexander J. Rothman, PhD, department of psychology, University of Minnesota. Rothman is recognized for his contributions in the area of psychological factors that influence individuals' perceptions of health risk and decisions to engage in healthy or unhealthy behaviors. His work is leading the field forward in behavior maintenance, crosses all illnesses, and his contributions are having a major impact on health in general. Rothman earned his PhD at Yale University in 1993.
Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Cognition and human learning): Marvin M. Chun, PhD, department of psychology, Vanderbilt University, and Julie A. Fiez, PhD, Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh.
Chun and Fiez will share the award. Chun is recognized for his research on the attentional blink and his research on contextual learning. His contributions with Mary Potter to the phenomenon of attentional blink explain how visual targets interfere with each other over time. His contributions to contextual learning demonstrate that novel visual context information can be learned rapidly and incidentally to guide visual behaviors such as search. Chun's research highlights the importance of memory and learning in perception. Chun earned his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994.
Fiez is recognized for her research in cognitive neuroscience. She is able to use data acquired from multiple disciplines including functional neuroimaging, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology to address fundamental questions of language and language processing. Her integrative approach provides high impact research that is important to cognitive psychology, as well as cognitive neuroscience, having concentrated on language processing and working memory. Fiez earned her PhD at Washington University in 1992.
Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Animal learning and behavior, comparative): Lisa M. Savage, PhD, department of psychology, State University of New York-Binghamton. Savage is recognized for her research on a rat neurobiological and behavioral model of Korsakoff disease, a pathological consequence of long-term excessive alcohol consumption. Her work involves the implementation of an integrated, multilevel analytic strategy that illustrates the successful use of laboratory animals as a model with which to study a human pathology of brain and behavior. She has successfully used thiamine deficiency to produce anatomical damage and impaired learning and memory functions that parallel those of patients with Korsakoff disease. Savage has begun to explore pharmacological and behavioral manipulations that may attenuate the development of the disorder and may remediate some of the impairments in learning and memory. Savage earned her PhD at the University of Minnesota in 1992.