APS Past President Elizabeth A. Phelps (Harvard University), APS Fellows Daniel T. Gilbert (Harvard University) and Lynn Nadel (University of Arizona), and Janet F. Werker (University of British Columbia, Canada) have been selected to receive the 2019 APS William James Fellow Award in recognition of their lifetime of intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology.
Phelps is a professor of psychology and neural science who researches the relationships among learning, emotion, and memory. Her work extends animal models of emotional learning to human behavior to shed light on the neural systems underlying memory, in addition to connecting those basic mechanisms to decision-making and economics. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012 and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Society for Experimental Psychology.
Gilbert is a professor of social psychology with a focus on how people use social inference and affective forecasting to make decisions, predict the emotional consequences of events, and sacrifice for the future. His bestselling book, Stumbling on Happiness, sold more than 1 million copies worldwide and was awarded the Royal Society’s General Book Prize. Gilbert was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008, and has received the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s Donald T. Campbell Award, among numerous others.
Nadel is an emeritus professor of psychology whose work has focused on how stress, sleep, and other states influence the reactivation and malleability of episodic memory. His cognitive map theory of hippocampal function and multiple trace theory of memory remain highly influential throughout the field of cognitive neuroscience. In 2005, he received the Grawemeyer Prize in Psychology; in 2006, he was granted the National Down Syndrome Society’s Research Award for his work on the nature of intellectual disability. He is a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Society of Experimental Psychologists.
Werker, director of the University of British Columbia Infant Studies Centre, is a professor of developmental and cognitive psychology studying the perceptual foundations of language acquisition in infants. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Institutes for Advanced Research and the Royal Society of Canada and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014. Werker works with infants, toddlers, and adults using behavioral and neuroimaging studies to uncover the mechanisms that contribute to native speech and bilingual language learning. She has contributed to more than 150 papers and chapters in such publications as Science, Nature, and Cognition.
These scientists will be honored and deliver award addresses at the 31st APS Annual Convention, to be held May 23-26 in Washington, DC.