New Leadership, Familiar Faces

Princeton social psychologist Susan T. Fiske took the helm of the American Psychological Society as 2002-03 President at the conclusion of the 14th Annual Convention in June. Henry L. Roediger, III became President-elect and John T. Cacioppo and Denise C. Park began their terms as Members of the APS Board of Directors. All are APS Fellows and Charter Members, and are distinguished, highly-regarded researchers in their respective fields.

Fiske succeeds Princeton colleague John M. Darley who continues on the Board as Immediate Past President. Robert A. Bjork, University of California, Los Angeles, concluded his term on the Board, having served as APS President in 2000-01.

During her term as President, Fiske plans to focus on cross-discipline issues, which she believes can really make or break the future of psychological science. She said that only by nurturing overlapping disciplinary connections inside the field of psychology and adjacent to it will research, theory and application truly flourish and progress.

“My goals are to address the ties that link us all as psychological scientists, at a time when the field faces centrifugal pressures to fly apart at the seams,” Fiske said. “Much of the most fascinating and important work is occurring precisely at those seams, at the boundaries between neuroscience, cognition, emotion, and social context, for example, or at the boundary between psychology and the more macro social sciences, such as economics, politics, sociology.” [Editor’s note: Fiske elaborates on these views in her inaugural Presidential Column.]

Fiske received her PhD in social psychology from Harvard University in 1978. Her research addresses how cultural stereotypes and prejudice depend on relationships of power and interdependence. Some of her past elected and appointed positions include President of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in 1994 and editor of the Annual Review of Psychology in 2000. She received an Honorary Doctorate from the Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium in 1995.

“APS has reached a certain level of maturity, having achieved some critical goals; as a recognized representative of psychological science, APS has established credibility with policymakers and scientists alike,” Fiske said. “Its membership is strong and many graduate students appreciate its importance.”

Roediger Returns
Roediger, an internationally recognized researcher in the field of human learning and memory, particularly how knowledge is recovered from memory, returns to the Board of Directors as President-elect. Roediger is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department at Washington University at St. Louis. Roediger previously served on the APS Board from 1998 to 2001.

“APS has played an important role in the last 15 years in American psychology,” Roediger said. “I hope the organization will become more international in the future. The three journals are excellent and each makes a unique contribution to the field, one not duplicated by other publication outlets. Alan Kraut has been an excellent spokesman for the entire field and boosted the case for behavioral research on Capitol Hill.”

Roediger also serves on the Editorial Board for Psychological Science in the Public Interest and has been a member of the APS Publications and Elections committees.

Cacioppo and Park joined the APS Board in June at the conclusion of the 14th Annual Convention in New Orleans. They will serve three-year terms. Cacioppo and Park succeed Eugene Borgida, University of Minnesota, and Rochel Gelman, Rutgers University.

Cacioppo is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor at The University of Chicago. He is the director of the social psychology program and the co-director of the Institute for Mind and Biology.

His research focuses on the field of social neuroscience, exploring the ways in which the interactions between our psychology, our physiology, and our social world are manifested in our behavior. This was the subject of his 14th Annual Convention Keynote Address, “Built for Pleasure: How Mood and Emotion Reflect Our Hedonic Instincts.”

Park is joining the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign as Professor of Psychology and a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Illinois’ Beckman Institute. She leaves the University of Michigan where she was a Senior Research Scientist and directed CACHET: The Center on Aging and Cognition: Health, Education, and Training.

Park will be bringing her neuroscience and behavioral research science laboratories to the Beckman Institute, where she will continue to study the role of age-related changes in memory function at the basic level, through neuroimaging and behavioral studies, as well as the implications of these changes for society.

“The emphasis APS places on the translation of scientific work into public policy outcomes is particularly important and impressive,” Park said. “The most significant problems in our society – conflict, poverty, destruction of the environment – have their roots in behaviors. I would like to see the Society stay focused on advocacy efforts on the Hill for research funding as well as launch continued visible initiatives that demonstrate linkage between basic behavioral research and public policy issues.”

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