Harold W. Stevenson
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
The Association for Psychological Science names Harold W. Stevenson as a William James Fellow in recognition of his distinguished achievements in psychological science.
For four decades Harold W. Stevenson has been an immensely productive developmental psychologist, making crucial conceptual and empirical contributions to the understanding of children’s learning. His earlier work involved a series of striking contributions through the experimental study of learning processes in children, with special focus upon the impact of social and tangible rewards, the effect of failure and/or anxiety, central vs. incident content learning, and visual (television, film) display learning. More recently, he has conducted ground-breaking cross-national research illuminating children’s cognitive development and school achievement in the framework of the particulars of school, family, and cultural experience. In doing so, his colleagues and students have succeeded in overcoming extraordinary methodological and pragmatic barriers, generating a unique, rich and still accelerating treasure of rigorous data and compelling insights. These findings have spoken eloquently to crucial issues in the American K-12 educational system. In this realm, as well as in his leadership roles in the Bush Program on Child Development and Social Policy and a variety of national and international organizations, he has both insisted on and persuasively demonstrated the relevance of developmental sciences to public policy, and thus to the lives of children.
For his decades of powerful contributions to the understanding of both the intrinsic processes and contextual shaping of children’s learning and school achievement, for his vital role in the evolution of cross-cultural studies in developmental psychology, and in forwarding the dialogue between developmental psychology and public policy, Harold W. Stevenson is recognized as a leader in psychological science.