The American Academy of Arts and Sciences in April announced the election of 178 new fellows--including four psychologists.

Election to the 224-year-old academy is one of the highest honors in the United States. Members include world-renowned leaders in scholarship, business and the arts who have made extraordinary contributions to their fields. Past members include George Washington, Ben Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Albert Einstein. It currently has more than 4,500 members, including 150 Nobel laureates.

The new fellows will officially join the academy during its annual induction ceremony, to be held in October at the academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

Meet the four psychologists who will become new academy members:

  • Marilynn B. Brewer, PhD, a psychology professor at Ohio State University. The academy recognized Brewer for her work on social identity and group relations; she investigates how connection to insiders of a group--not dislike of outsiders--fuels discrimination and prejudice. Brewer has also developed the optimal distinctiveness theory, which states that people seek to fit in a group and yet retain their own personality and sense of individuality.

  • Dedre Gentner, PhD, a professor of psychology and of education and social policy at Northwestern University. Gentner directs Northwestern's cognitive science program, which focuses on higher-order cognition, language and learning. Her research interests within cognitive psychology include learning and thinking; analogy, similarity and metaphor; language acquisition; and cross-linguistic studies.

  • Mark Lepper, PhD, professor and chair of the psychology department at Stanford University. Lepper focuses on the psychological distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and has studied how these motivations change as children progress through school. This has led him to research people's feelings about choice and to investigate the psychological benefits of having a choice and the potential drawbacks of being presented with too many choices.

  • Norbert Schwarz, PhD, psychology and research professor in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Schwarz has researched social cognition, specifically the interaction between feeling and thinking and conversational influences on judgment and reasoning.