Nock Receives McArthur ‘Genius Award’ Fellowship

Matt Nock's brilliant work is geared to understand the most perplexing of human behaviors — the taking of one's own life. Matt Nock has asked why, when, and how: And he has done remarkable and multidimensional research to give us a firm foothold to understand self-harm.

-Mahzarin Banaji, Harvard University

APS Immediate Past President

Matthew Nock of Harvard University was awarded the 2011 MacArthur Fellowship for his research on suicide and self-injury among adolescents and adults. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death and the third leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the United States. Nock, a leader in the study of self-injurious behavior, has developed computer-based tests to predict the risk of suicide.

“We’re at a point now in psychological science where we have the tools … to measure thoughts about suicide … in a more objective, more scientific way, just as in medicine we can use blood tests and X-rays to understand what’s going on in a person’s body,” Nock says in a video interview posted on the MacArthur Foundation’s website.

Next, Nock aims to decrease suicide and self-injury in the real world by applying what he has learned in the lab. He hopes that the MacArthur grant will permit him to pursue more “creative and riskier ideas,” which might not qualify for funding from more traditional sources.

Observer Vol.24, No.8 October, 2011

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