APS Welcomes President Phelps, President-Elect Eisenberg

Karmiloff-Smith and Shoham Begin Board Terms

APS welcomes the 2013-2014 APS Board. Elizabeth A. Phelps is President, Nancy Eisenberg is President-Elect, and Joseph E. Steinmetz is Immediate Past President. A heartfelt thank you to outgoing Immediate Past President Douglas L. Medin and outgoing Board Members Morris Moscovitch and Janet Polivy for their dedicated service to APS. Newly elected Board Members Annette Karmiloff-Smith and Varda Shoham are beginning their three-year terms on the Board.

Elizabeth A. Phelps

New York University
President, 2013-2014

APS Fellow Elizabeth A. Phelps is APS Board President. She is the Julius Silver Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University, and a research scientist at Nathan Kline Institute, where she conducts research investigating complex interactions between learning, emotion, and the human brain.

Phelps uses a multi-faceted approach that brings together behavioral studies, physiological measurements, brain-lesion studies, and fMRI. Her research combines insights from animal models of emotional learning, computational neuroscience, and cognitive and social psychology to examine how emotion shapes learning, memory, and decision-making. Examples of her research include the 9/11 Project, an ambitious, collaborative research program designed to study the quality and accuracy of individuals’ memories following the 9/11 terrorist attacks; studies of altering fear through targeting memory reconsolidation; and investigations of the impact of race attitudes on decision-making.
Phelps has been recognized by multiple organizations. She received the 21st Century Science Initiative Award from the James S. McDonnell Foundation, and she is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science as well as the Society of Experimental Psychologists. She is also a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Her dedication to psychological science is evident in her service to the field. In addition to serving on the APS Board, Phelps has served on the Board of Directors for the International Neuroethics Society and is a former president of the Society for Neuroeconomics. She has also served as editor of the journal Emotion.

Nancy Eisenberg

Arizona State University
President-Elect, 2013-2014

Nancy Eisenberg has made pioneering theoretical, empirical, and methodological contributions to the understanding of basic developmental processes. At Arizona State University, where she is a Regents’ Professor, her research interests are self-regulation, socialization and moral and emotional development, socio-emotional competence, empathy-related responding, and prosocial behavior. 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. Eisenberg is also 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, an APS William James Fellow, has a record of cutting-edge and socially significant scholarship that has resulted in her being considered among the premier developmental scientists in the world. She was editor of Psychological Bulletin and Child Development Perspectives and is known as a dedicated and generous colleague and mentor, devoted to advancing the academy and the community.

As APS President-Elect, Eisenberg hopes to foster diversity and support scientists. “I am concerned about diversity in the organization, in terms of minority group members, international representation, age of members, and subgroups of psychological science,” Eisenberg said. “For example, I would like to find ways to increase involvement from a number of areas of psychology that are not very visible or involved in the organization and its annual meeting. I would also like to expand the ways the organization reaches out to, and assists, early career psychological scientists. Another important concern is funding sources and if there are additional steps we, as an organization, can take to increase resources for research in our field.”

Annette Karmiloff-Smith

Centre for Brain & Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London, UK
APS Board Member, 2013-2016

APS Fellow Annette Karmiloff-Smith is a Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Brain & Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London, and an expert on neurodevelopmental disorders. Before moving to the Centre, she was head of the Neurocognitive Development Unit at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, where she studied infants, children, and adolescents with Williams syndrome, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, and fragile X syndrome, across a wide variety of cognitive domains, as well as researched progressive developmental trajectories and the underlying cognitive processes that support them in typical development.

A student of Jean Piaget at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, Karmiloff-Smith has proposed a dynamic model for neurodevelopmental disorders that contrasts with the static adult neuropsychological model in which researchers seek to distinguish intact and damaged parts of the brain compared to a normal brain. Karmiloff-Smith argues that deficits must be understood within the process of development: hence the importance of tracing developmental trajectories of cognitive-level outcomes back to their basic-level processes in infancy. As an illustration of this and her multidisciplinary approach, her current research is examining the risk and protective factors for adult Alzheimer’s disease at the genetic, cellular, neural, cognitive, and environmental levels in infants with Down syndrome.

“Having been voted the non-American APS Board Member is a great honor,” said Karmiloff-Smith. “I hope to be able to represent fully the excellent work being carried out in European universities and research institutes and encourage greater exchanges of students and young researchers. A truly multidisciplinary approach is now critical to psychology, and this places greater demands on training and student exchange than ever before. I hope to play an active role in bringing European perspectives to the field.”

Karmiloff-Smith has authored numerous books and academic articles and received many awards, including the British Psychological Society’s Book Award (1995); she is a Fellow of the British Academy (1993), a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (1999), and a Fellow of the US Cognitive Science Society (2008). In 2004, Karmiloff-Smith was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In 2009, she won the British Psychological Society Research Board Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2012 the Mattei Dogan Prize in Psychological Science, given by the International Union of Psychological Science. She is on a committee overseeing APS’s international initiatives.

Varda Shoham

National Institute of Mental Health (formerly at the University of Arizona)
APS Board Member, 2013-2016

Varda Shoham is an APS Fellow and Professor Emeritus of psychology at the University of Arizona, where she had previously served as director of the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program. She is senior advisor for Translational Research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where she had previously served as Special Assistant to the Director.

Her research at the University of Arizona — conducted in collaboration with Michael Rohrbaugh — has focused on how and for whom psychosocial treatments work. They have a special interest in interpersonal-level ironic processes occurring when repeated attempts to solve a problem keep the problem going or make it worse (e.g., when persistent attempts to force sleep perpetuate insomnia, when a spouse’s demands for intimacy may provoke her partner’s withdrawal, or when a therapist’s push for abstinence drives an addicted person out of treatment). Recent projects at their Family Research Lab, funded by NIMH, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, include testing a treatment designed to interrupt couple-level processes and mobilize the resources of the immediate social system to support change, and identifying factors that moderate and mediate family therapy for adolescent drug abuse.

At NIMH, Shoham has taken a generative turn as she focuses on advancing behavioral treatment research at large. She works in the Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development which facilitates research on mechanisms of mental disorders and on behavioral interventions that target these mechanisms to foster behavior change. Shoham’s contributions to psychological science are reflected by various honors and leadership positions, including the Outstanding Early Career Achievement Award from the Society for Psychotherapy Research and the Research Career Development Award from the Office of Academic Affairs at the University of Arizona. She has served as president of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, and of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology. Most recently she co-led a National Institutes of Health-academia partnership aiming to overhaul training in psychological clinical science.

“APS Board Membership means a lot to me,” Shoham said. “I like being in a position to give back some of what I have taken over the years from the organization. These are ‘my peeps’: friends, colleagues, former students, and, most recently, grantees.”

Observer Vol.26, No.7 September, 2013

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