2011 William James Fellow Award
Arizona State University
Nancy Eisenberg has made pioneering theoretical, empirical, and methodological contributions to the understanding of basic developmental processes. In particular, her work provides foundational knowledge in the areas of prosocial behavior and moral reasoning, empathy-related responding, and emotion-related regulation.
A driving force in the emergence of the study of children’s prosocial behavior, Eisenberg’s contributions have distinguished prosocial behaviors that differ in motivation and in socioemotional correlates, the relation of parenting to prosocial behavior, and the relation of prosocial behavior to empathy-related responding. Her work on empathy-related behavior changed the research methods in that area and dramatically advanced our knowledge about the development of empathy-related responding, and her work is widely cited in developmental, social, clinical, and psychophysiological literatures. A major figure in defining the construct of emotion-related regulation, she has differentiated between more effortful regulatory processes and less voluntary reactive processes and identified socialization correlates of effortful control. She has also empirically delineated the role of emotion regulation in sympathy, positive adjustment, and maladjustment.
Eisenberg’s record of cutting-edge and socially significant scholarship has resulted in her being considered among the premier developmental scientists in the world. The sophisticated and influential multi-model, multi-method, and multi-cultural scholarship that has marked Eisenberg’s distinguished and prolific research career provides fundamental, timely, and critically needed knowledge for scientists, policymakers, and practitioners. She is also known as a dedicated and generous colleague and mentor, devoted to advancing the academy and the community.