APS William James Fellows James L. McClelland and Elizabeth S. Spelke are the recipients of the inaugural National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences. This prize, to be given biennially, recognizes “significant advances in the psychological and cognitive sciences with important implications for formal and systematic theory in these fields.”
Spelke is Marshall L. Berkman Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. She heads a lab at Harvard’s Laboratory for Developmental Studies, where her research focuses on the developmental psychology of infants, toddlers, and children. In 2012, she was featured in a New York Times video that highlighted her “work on advancing our understanding of human knowledge and on childhood psychology.” Spelke is being honored for her “work on the representation of numbers and of the physical and social world in the minds of infants, children, and adults.”
McClelland, director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Computation at Stanford, conducts research on cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience. His most recent project involves mathematical cognition, with the goal being “to understand the development of human abilities in mathematics at all levels.” He is receiving this award for his work developing computational models that demonstrate the transmission of activation networks through brain networks.
Spelke and McClelland will each receive a $200,000 prize at the 2014 NAS meeting in April. The awards were made possible through a grant from APS William James Fellow Richard C. Atkinson.