APS Fellows Jamil Zaki of Stanford University, Adriana Galván of University of California, Los Angeles, and Mary C. Murphy of Indiana University are among the 2019 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Established in 1996, the award is the highest honor bestowed by the US government to outstanding scientists and engineers in the early stages of their research careers.
Zaki, a 2015 recipient of the APS Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions, is a psychology professor and director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Laboratory. His research, with support from the National Science Foundation, uses methods that span neuroscience, physiology, social psychology, and behavioral economics. He studies people’s motivation to approach or avoid empathizing with others. His work has shown that empathy can be cultivated over time. His neuroscience research has identified brain systems associated with different types of empathy. His book, The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World, has just been released.
Galván, a professor of psychology at UCLA’s Brain Research Institute, has made pioneering discoveries about adolescent neurodevelopment. Her current work, backed by the National Institute of Mental Health, focuses on the neural circuitry thought to underlie the development and symptomology of anxiety in early adolescence. She, along with APS Fellow Thomas Griffiths of Princeton University, is also a 2019 recipient of the National Academy of Sciences’ prestigious Troland Research Award, which recognizes young investigators’ outstanding achievement in experimental psychology.
Murphy, an assistant professor of psychology and brain sciences, develops and tests theories about social identity threat, stereotype threat, and intergroup dynamics. Her current research includes an NSF-funded examination of situational cues in inter- and intraracial interactions that affect people’s level of identity threat, emotional experiences, cognitive performance, and motivation to build friendships.
Other psychological scientists receiving the PECASE include University of Connecticut researcher Marie Coppola, who studies language acquisition and creation, with a particular focus on how early exposure to language fosters typical development in social cognition and numerical cognition.
Zaki, Murphy, and Coppola received their PECASE nominations from the National Science Foundation. Galván received her nomination from the Department of Health and Human Services.