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Science Award Recipients Announced

APA recently announced the names of the recipients of the 2008 APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Awards.

APA recently announced the names of the recipients of the 2008 APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Awards. The senior award winners include Michael Gazzaniga, Janellen Huttenlocher, Hazel Rose Markus, and John Holland. Early Career award recipients are Samuel Gosling, Joshua Tenenbaum, Jodi Quas, Elissa Epel, Linda Gallo, and John Curtin. Information about each recipient is shown below. Please visit APA Awards for more information about this awards program.

Michael S. Gazzaniga, Director, Sage Center for the Study of Mind, University of California, Santa Barbara. Gazzaniga is being honored for his contributions to the field of cognitive neuroscience.

For more than 30 years, Gazzaniga’s research has demonstrated the specialized functions of the two cerebral hemispheres in the human brain. His pioneering studies of split-brain patients, begun in collaboration with Roger Sperry, provided an important body of knowledge for understanding how the human brain is organized to produce thought and action.

Gazzaniga pursued a diverse research program aimed at understanding the neural bases of human cognition. He contributed to our understanding of the cognitive and linguistic specializations of the right and left cerebral hemispheres and how the two hemispheres cooperate to produce the human mind. This research examined the full spectrum of human cognitive abilities including language, memory, perception, attention, emotion, executive decision making, and motor control.

Janellen Huttenlocher, William S. Gray Professor of Psychology, University of Chicago. Huttenlocher is being honored for her theoretical and empirical contributions to developmental and cognitive psychology.

Her research contributions are unique in terms of their breadth and impact on the field. Within the field of developmental psychology, Huttenlocher’s research has spanned the subdomains of language development, spatial development, and mathematical development. Her work on language development has informed us of the factors that impact children’s early language development. One of her most famous findings is that children’s vocabulary growth is determined by the amount of mother speech. Her recent work has focused on the effects of early input on children’s syntactic development. By showing there are variations in the input children receive, these inputs affect their levels of comprehension. This work has important implications on how to increase children’s language competence.

Hazel Rose Markus, Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences, Department of Psychology, and Director, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University. Markus is being honored for her theoretical and empirical contributions to the study of social, personality, and cultural psychology.

Markus’ early research laid the groundwork for the development of a social cognitive perspective into the self-concept. Her pioneering work in the 1970’s and 1980’s on “self-schemas,” “possible selves,” and on the “dynamic self-concept” emerged as one of the most significant trends in social psychological research. She integrated research on the self-concept with more mainstream cognitive theories in psychology and facilitated the development of social cognition research generally. She continued her studies and brought attention to the myriad ways in which self-representations affect social behavior. This work included study on self-regulation and the impact of the self on the perception of others.

Award for distinguished scientific applications of psychology

John L. Holland, Emeritus Professor, Johns Hopkins University. Holland is being honored for his contributions to vocational psychology and personality research.

Holland is best known for his theory of vocational personalities and work environments. His research found that people are most likely to enter and persist in occupations congruent with their personality profile. He is the author of several instruments widely used among high school and college populations and others who are searching for an occupation—the Holland Self-Directed Search and the Holland Vocational Preference Inventory.

Award for distinguished scientific early career contribution to psychology (animal learning and behavior, comparative)

Samuel D. Gosling, Department of Psychology, University of Texas. Gosling is recognized for his conceptual and empirical work on animal personality. His work has generated interest in other fields (e.g. behavioral ecology and animal behavior) as well. Gosling’s work unites biological, evolutionary, and psychometric approaches to psychology. His program of research is broad, linking human personality to basic processes in social perception and animal personality and illuminating enduring issues within personality psychology in the process. Gosling earned his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley in 1998.

Award for distinguished scientific early career contribution to psychology (cognition and human learning)

Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tenenbaum is recognized for his contributions to the field of computational cognitive science. He studies inductive learning, including concept learning, categorization, word learning, and causal inference. In each of these domains he has developed computational models that prominently feature two key elements treated as mutually exclusive in most prior research—statistical learning and a central role for background knowledge and structured representations. Tenenbaum is also making contributions to computer science and artificial intelligence (AI), linguistics, epistemology, and developmental psychology. Tenenbaum earned his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999.

Award for distinguished scientific early career contribution to psychology (developmental psychology)

Jodi A. Quas, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California at Irvine. Quas is recognized for her contributions to how we conceptualize the role of emotional distress in children’s memory. Her work has led the field to new insights into children’s eyewitness capabilities, particularly the conditions under which children’s reports are more versus less likely to be accurate. Her research is changing existing models of social influences on children’s suggestibility and false event reports; and her research is advancing understanding of exposure to stressful experiences in at-risk children. Her research integrates theory and application and she is an ardent advocate for children. Quas earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis in 1998.

Award for distinguished scientific early career contribution to psychology (health psychology)

Elissa S. Epel, Department of Psychiatry, Health Psychology Program, University of California, San Francisco and Linda C. Gallo, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University. Epel and Gallo will share the award

Epel is recognized for her research that bridges health psychology, neuroendocrinology, and cell biology. Her work helps us to better understand how the social environment and psychological coping can transform neuroendocrine function and other biological processes affecting cell aging and physical aging, and how to apply these results to interventions for those at risk of stress-related disorders. Her research is innovative and multidisciplinary and integrates mental and physical health with a focus on identifying the neuroendocrine mechanisms by which psychological factors influence important health outcomes. Epel earned her Ph.D. at Yale University in 1999.

Gallo is recognized for her research on how interpersonal processes that occur in important relationships, emotional states, and their social context impact on cardiovascular risk. She uses a variety of methods in her research including sophisticated analyses of epidemiological data, experimental studies that more rigorously test putative mechanisms, and systematic literature reviews to inform future research and practice. She has expanded her initial research on the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and negative emotions to examine how ethnicity and SES intersect in determining risk for cardiovascular disease. Gallo earned her Ph.D. at the University of Utah in 1998.

Award for distinguished scientific early career contribution to psychology (psychopathology)

John J. Curtin, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Curtin is recognized for his outstanding contributions to the understanding of the psychobiological processes underlying the use and abuse of drugs and the poor self-regulation and inappropriate behaviors associated with such abuse. His research is translational and multi-disciplinary integrating theory and methods from clinical psychology, psychophysiology, and affective/cognitive neuroscience. He uses a broad theoretical perspective to address programmatic and well-specified hypotheses of fundamental importance to understanding the psychobiology of addictions. Curtin earned his Ph.D. at Florida State University in 2000.