New APS Leaders

Linda Bartoshuk
University of Florida
President, 2009-2010

Linda Bartoshuk, an APS Fellow and Charter Member, has dedicated time and energy to APS since its inception. She is a familiar face on the APS Board, having served as a Member-at-Large from 2000 to 2003 and as Secretary from 2006 to 2008.

Bartoshuk is one of the leading researchers in the field of taste physiology and disorders. Currently Bushnell Professor in the Department of Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, Bartoshuk is known for her investigations of the effects of genetic variation on tasting and taste pathology, including taste loss and phantom tastes. Bartoshuk has parlayed this understanding of taste into research about why we like to eat what we do and how this affects dietary choices and, therefore, overall health. She is also currently working on methods to provide accurate comparisons of sensory and hedonic experiences across individuals. Already an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, Bartoshuk was appointed in February 2008 to a three-year term on the Council of the NAS. Her past leadership positions include terms as president of the APA Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology division and The Society for General Psychology. Bartoshuk has served as president of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences (AChemS) and the Eastern Psychological Association. In 1998, she received the AChemS Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Chemical Senses.

Q & A with New APS President Linda Bartoshuk

What is your vision for APS?
The goal we all share is the production and dissemination of excellent psychological science. APS excels at this goal. Our journals, annual meeting, and outreach to the public and to legislators all attest to that excellence.

Why did you initially want to be involved in leading APS?
We are all interested in the human condition. The “psychic” predicting the future, the patient crippled by anxiety, the novelist, the artist, the philosopher, and so on all feel that they own insights into human nature. What distinguishes their insights from ours is science. Psychological science has rules that guide the inferences we can derive from our observations. These rules are not immediately obvious to the person who picks up a magazine to read about “the psychology of getting your boyfriend to propose.” We all know only too well that the term “psychology” is used to cover a great deal that does not pass muster as psychological science. One of the most important functions of APS is to stimulate the creation and dissemination of genuine psychological science. The breadth of our Annual Convention (a generalist meeting as opposed to highly specialized meetings) is a testament to the range of critical problems we address. APS’s success in making genuine psychological science available to various media is a powerful demonstration of “best practices” in psychological science; this makes our work accessible to the person in the street (including those persons who are scientists in other domains), shares with them the pleasures of explanation, and helps them understand who we are as psychologists.
In my own small part of the world, food behavior reigns supreme. Virtually all sub-disciplines in psychology are relevant to the way we deal with food. I hope to celebrate the beauty of psychological science in my presidential columns by highlighting the elegant research and the elegant researchers working on food behavior.

Why do you feel APS is important to psychological science?

APS was born out of the frustration of psychological scientists with the proliferation of “psychology” that is not evidence based. We define ourselves both by what we are and what we are not. We are not a guild for practitioners; rather our clinical researchers do the science and training that clinical practice should be based on. APS works to sustain federal support for good psychological science by communicating that science to funding agencies and educating its membership about funding opportunities. Most importantly, APS stimulates good psychological science through its annual meetings and journals.

Mahzarin Banaji
Harvard University
President-Elect, 2009-2010

APS President-Elect Mahzarin Banaji has made a career out of understanding unconscious biases, but there’s nothing unconscious about her positive feelings about APS. “I was a newly minted Assistant Professor the very year of APS’s birth,” says Banaji, “and I think of us as having grown up together.  I wore not one but two APS buttons and attended the now famous first conference where the social hour was held in a parking lot.” Eager to be involved in the new organization, Banaji was invited to serve on the APS convention program committee by Marilynn Brewer and was appointed APS Secretary by Kay Deaux and Elizabeth Loftus. She credits them with encouraging her early involvement with APS and her choice to “focus on how APS could disseminate its science to the public.”

Banaji believes that this is a particularly exciting time for psychological science, “with psychology being the hub discipline connecting the social and life sciences, not to mention the clearer applications of our work that are now visible in the worlds of education, business, health, and the law.” She is excited “to be able to play a small role in advancing our science so that we may advance the possibility of leading lives that are more ethical, more in line with the facts, and more productive” during her time as APS President.

Banaji was born and raised in India, received her PhD at Ohio State and had a brief postdoctoral position at the University of Washington. From 1986-2001, she taught at Yale where she was the Reuben Post Halleck Professor of Psychology.  In 2001, she moved to Harvard University where she is the Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics and served as the first Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

In her research, Banaji has explored many aspects of social cognition. Much of her work focuses on unconscious evaluations of oneself and others based on group memberships. With Anthony Greenwald and Brian Nosek, she was instrumental in the development of the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which measures these unconscious affiliations and their implications for bias through timed association tests. Since 1998, Banaji, Greenwald, and Nosek have managed Project Implicit, an extensive website of information about unconscious bias and online tests. The site has not only allowed the public to learn about bias and test their own, it has also created unprecedented opportunities for the researchers – millions of visitors from all walks of life and all over the world have taken IATs on Project Implicit, creating an unparalleled data set.  This work as lead to four broad findings, with implications for all sorts of social interactions: implicit biases are pervasive across various populations, people differ in levels of implicit bias showing an influence of experience, people are often unaware of their implicit biases, and implicit biases predict behavior.

Banaji’s work has been recognized with multiple awards and leadership positions. Among her honors are Yale’s Lex Hixon Prize for Teaching Excellence, a James McKeen Cattell Fund Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Morton Deutsch Award for Social Justice, and the Gordon Allport Prize for Intergroup Relations. In 2008, she was elected to the American Academy for Arts and Sciences, in 2009 she was named Herbert Simon Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and in 2009 she received the Ed and Carol Diener Award for outstanding contributions to social psychology.

Jennifer Richeson
Northwestern University
APS Board Member

APS Fellow Jennifer Richeson’s compelling research largely focuses on how social categories such as race and gender affect interactions between members of different groups. Much of Richeson’s work considers the dynamics of interracial interactions, shedding light on what transpires on the surface and subconsciously when members of different racial groups communicate with one another. For example, Richeson and her colleagues have found that the mental effort involved in making sure one does not appear prejudiced (whether or not one actually is) makes interracial interactions stressful and cognitively costly for many individuals, even to the point of undermining their cognitive performance after the interaction. These cognitive costs could make both biased and unbiased individuals less likely to seek out interactions with people of other races.  Richeson has also conducted several lines of research on various implications of being a member of a stigmatized group, studying the physiological and mental health effects of contending with subtle, compared with more blatant, forms of bias.

In 2006, Richeson was named a MacArthur Fellow (known popularly as the “genius grant”). The MacArthur Foundation recognized her for  “bringing new life to the topic of intergroup relations,” saying that she “takes the lead in highlighting and analyzing major challenges facing all races in America and the continuing role played by prejudice and stereotyping in our lives.” Richeson also received the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues Louise Kidder Early Career Award, was named a 2007 “Young Innovator in the Arts and Sciences” by the Smithsonian Magazine, an APS “Rising Star” (see Observer, November 2007), and she recently received the APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology.

Richeson is excited to be joining the APS Board because, as she said, “psychologists have so much to offer toward solving so many of the problems that we face as a country and as human beings, more generally…APS helps to get us at the table.” Richeson is also inspired by the fact that “APS provides a space and philosophy that promotes the fertilization of ideas across subfields that is critical to the advancement of psychological science and its contribution to society.”

Edward E. Smith
Columbia University
APS Board Member

APS Fellow Edward E. Smith is the William B. Ransford Professor of Psychology at Columbia University and the Ransford Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. At Columbia, Smith is also the director of the Cognitive Neuroimaging Lab, one of five member labs of Columbia University’s Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit (SCAN Unit or SCAN-U), a collaborative effort to understand the psychological and neural basis of thought and behavior.

Smith identified the “schism in the field between those who take a brain-based approach to psychological phenomena and those who take a more conventional approach” as part of the reason for his seeking a position on the APS Board. Serving on the Board will allow him to be part of the process of bridging gaps and fostering communication between researchers, no matter what their research methods. On a more personal level, Smith’s joint appointment in a psychiatry department has convinced him “how much basic-research driven psychology can contribute to psychiatry, as well as how much mission-driven psychiatry can add to a psychology department.” APS is a perfect forum for encouraging this interaction.

Smith’s own research focuses on working memory, in particular the executive functions in working memory that control paying attention to what we need to for a given task, ignoring what we don’t need to pay attention to, and the process of switching our attention as needed. Using fMRI and cognitive tasks, Smith studies a wide variety of populations, from normal subjects of various ages to subjects with Alzheimer’s disease, depression and frontal lobe impairment. He has also studied the process of learning and assigning novel objects to categories, even when we may not be aware that we are doing so, and the impact of placebo pills on neural activity in the brain’s pain centers.

In recognition of this wide body of work, Smith was the recipient of the 1999 APS William James Fellow Award as well as the 1997 APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions.  He has been elected the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has also served as Chair of both the Psychonomic Society and the Cognitive Science Society.

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