2020 APS Mentor Award

E. Tory Higgins

Columbia University

Tory Higgins has won many of the highest awards in psychological science for his work on knowledge activation and self-regulation. Beyond these accomplishments, what truly excites Higgins is developing and sharing research ideas with his students. This devotion to both ideas and people makes him an outstanding mentor.

More than 35 of Higgins’s former students have themselves ascended to academic positions. It is no wonder given the universal fondness with which these students remember their time in his lab. Higgins’s students are inundated with his boundless enthusiasm for ideas and his contagious joy in helping them find their own “burning issue” to pursue; they are unfailingly supported in their academic journey, treated as full partners in the research process, and genuinely credited with its success (even when they often know that the best ideas along the way were probably Tory’s). Most importantly, they join a larger intellectual family that Higgins actively nurtures for them even after they have left his lab.

Indeed, perhaps the primary reflection of the deep impact Higgins has on his students is that they never cease wanting to return “home.” For the past decade, his mentees have flocked to a bi-annual “Labfest” conference that brings together both current and former students, fostering even further opportunities for collaboration and enrichment. Having joined the Higgins Lab, former students never want to leave. Thanks to his ongoing dedication to both them and the field, they never have to.

Higgins is an APS William James Fellow and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.