2019 William James Fellow
Elizabeth A. Phelps
Elizabeth A. Phelps has had an enormous impact across
several domains of psychological science, including affective, cognitive, and
social psychology. Her groundbreaking research on how the human brain processes
emotion has garnered international acclaim and has influenced many disciplines,
from the basic sciences to clinical psychology and psychiatry.
Her multidisciplinary body of research has probed the influence
of emotion across cognitive and behavioral domains using novel imaging
techniques and neuropsychological studies grounded in animal models of
learning. Through this work, Phelps has critically informed a neuroscientific
model of the role of emotion in cognition and behavior. Her work has
significantly advanced our understanding of the pathophysiology of mood and
affective disorders and has identified promising novel approaches for their
treatment. Her findings about our
ability to rewrite fear memories and block these memories without the use of
drugs has significant implications for the treatment of anxiety- and
In addition, her publications on racial bias, trust, and human
choice reflect how her work extends from affective and cognitive neuroscience
to social psychology and neuroeconomics.
A Past President of APS, Phelps has conducted research that holds
tremendous importance for understanding the mind, the brain, the behavior of
the individual, and trends in society at large. She is also known as an
exceptional mentor and a strong advocate of women in science.