2015 James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award

Roberta M. Golinkoff

University of Delaware




Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

Temple University




Collaborators for over 30 years, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta M. Golinkoff are scientists and intellectual entrepreneurs who have forever changed the landscape of developmental research. They have performed groundbreaking research in language and literacy and contributed to advances in education through work on playful learning and early spatial development.

Their book, The Origins of Grammar, and their monograph, Breaking the Language Barrier, are testimony to their research on language growth. They pioneered a new method for studying early language development, used in laboratories around the world, that enabled scientists to look beneath the surface of children’s early linguistic productions and to explore the richness of infants’ and toddlers’ language even before they can talk.

Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff’s research on playful learning has deeply influenced the fields of education and human development. Their book, Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, won the prestigious Books for a Better Life Award as the best psychology book of 2003. Their book, A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool, received high praise in the scientific literature.

As part of the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (National Science Foundation Science of Learning Centers Program), Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff have also contributed to the literature on early spatial development, finding that play with blocks, puzzles, and shape sorters can help “spatialize” young children’s early learning in ways that will foster school readiness and later mathematical ability.

Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff are world-renowned disseminators of science. Doing what they call “edible science” (i.e., accessible, digestible, and usable), they have given hundreds of public lectures and are part of the debates on national educational policy.

See Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff’s award address presented at the 2015 APS Annual Convention in New York City.