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Decade of Behavior Recognizes Recent Award Recipients

The Decade of Behavior Research Award recognizes high caliber research that has had a demonstrated impact on policy or society at large, has contributed to the use of social and behavioral science knowledge in policy settings, or has enhanced public understanding of behavioral or social science principles.

By Jessica Bryant

Each year the Decade of Behavior acknowledges outstanding researchers from across the behavioral and social sciences by awarding two unique awards: the Decade of Behavior Research Award and the Decade of Behavior Distinguished Lecture Award. We were extremely pleased by the caliber of researchers that were nominated and are excited to be working with such distinguished scientists. Below is a description of each award and the selected recipients. A complete summary of the research interests and unique accomplishments of each scientist will be listed on our website and can be viewed on the Decade of Behavior website.

The Decade of Behavior Research Award recognizes high caliber research that has had a demonstrated impact on policy or society at large, has contributed to the use of social and behavioral science knowledge in policy settings, or has enhanced public understanding of behavioral or social science principles. Up to five Research Awards are given annually in one of the Decade's major themes areas. The theme for 2005 was Democracy. Each of the award recipients is invited to discuss their research at a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill. The 2005 Decade of Behavior Research Award recipients are (with some of the selections from the award citations):

James Gibson
Professor of Government, Washington University in St. Louis
Nominated by the American Political Science Association

"Professor Gibson's research provides important insight into how democracy functions in the minds of everyday citizens. By holding the beliefs of liberal democratic philosophers up to empirical examination, the research by Professor Gibson has promoted democracy by showing how individuals, political leaders, and public policies are influenced when freedom is in jeopardy."

Judith Torney-Purta
Professor of Human Development, University of Maryland at College Park
Nominated by the American Psychological Association

"Torney-Purta has conducted psychological research for nearly forty years on young people's knowledge of democracy and the social and political attitudes necessary to maintain it. Over a ten-year period, with colleagues from over thirty countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Australia, Torney-Purta led a study that is the most rigorous ever conducted of how young people are prepared for their roles as citizens in democracies and societies aspiring to democracy."

William Clark
Professor of Geography and Statistics, University of California, Los Angeles
Nominated by the Association of American Geographers

"Clark's research has produced an exceptional body of knowledge of desegregation, residential mobility, and urban change that has been influential in both behavioral science settings and in the policy realm through expert testimony in key US court cases. Contributions toward these topics represent advancement in understanding major issues of importance within an ever-changing democratic society. The research on segregation and neighborhood change led to requests for Clark to testify on the nature of residential separation and the role of demographic change in creating separation in the residential fabric."

Sharyn O'Halloran and David Epstein
O'Halloran- Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Columbia University
Epstein-Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
Nominated by the American Political Science Association

"Working from a scholarly background of formal modeling and game theory, David Epstein and Sharyn O'Halloran have fashioned a research agenda to explore some of the most vexing issues in democratic practice. They have offered us important empirical and theoretical insights, including findings that percentages of blacks in an election district that are needed to assure that African-American candidates get even treatment from voters have been steadily declining."

Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Professor of Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Nominated by the National Communication Association

"Jamieson's research is not only strong academically, it has had immediate appeal to the wider public. Her many appearances as a commentator on nationally televised coverage of Presidential Debates and elections testify to her ability to translate her scholarship into terms understandable to the public. She is the impetus behind the National Public Radio program Democracy Now series, which is currently playing to large audiences."


The Decade of Behavior Distinguished Lecture Program offers support for major addresses on themes of the Decade of Behavior initiative to showcase research that stretches the boundaries of traditional disciplinary focus and that promotes a cross-disciplinary approach: each year, the program will sponsor addresses at the national/ international conferences of professional scientific societies that have endorsed the initiative. Funding for the Decade of Behavior Distinguished Lecture Program is made possible by a generous grant from the James S. McDonnell Foundation. The 2005 Decade of Behavior Distinguished Lecture Award recipients are:

Michael McDonald
Coordinator of the National Disaster Risk Communication Initiative
Nominated by the National Communication Association

"McDonald has extensive experience in the public health area and more recently has turned his attention to developing communication strategies and programs that promote homeland security. He frequently provides evidence and testimony to Congress and federal agencies on issues of public health and homeland security. His lecture will address specific issues of biodefense, terrorism, public health, and the opportunities and challenges behavioral scientists and communication researchers in particular face in securing funding in these areas of research."

Stephen Schneider
Professor of Biological Sciences, Stanford University
Nominated by the Association of American Geographers

"Schneider's research centers on climatic change; global warming; food/climate and other environmental/science public policy issues; ecological and economic implications of climatic change; integrated assessment of global change; human impacts on climate, advancing public understanding of science; improving formal environmental education in primary and secondary schools; contributing toward international intergovernmental assessment and policy advisory panels on climate change."