Harvard University James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award Chris Argyris is one of the world’s most respected management thinkers. A behavioral scientist, he has devoted his career to understanding how organizations operate and how managers learn. Argyris’s early research focused on the impact of formal organizational structures, control systems, and management on individuals — and how those individuals respond and adapt to them. He was an early adopter of the ground-breaking T-group experiments in the 1960s. T-group training involves increasing trainees' skills in working with other people, and Argyris found that T-groups successfully melted the rigid, authoritarian behavior of many managers.
Elissa L. Newport
Georgetown University William James Fellow Award With a background in cognitive science and now a professor of neurology, Newport has devoted her career to studying human language acquisition and developmental psycholinguistics, with a focus on the relationship between language development and language structure. She studies both normal language acquisition and creolization using miniature languages presented to learners in the lab, where both the input and the structure of the language can be controlled. A second line of research for Newport concerns maturational effects on language learning.
Washington University in St. Louis William James Fellow Award Larry Jacoby is one of the world’s foremost researchers on memory — specifically on the distinction between consciously controlled and automatic processes. The distinction is useful for better understanding of age-related differences in memory performance, and for improved diagnosis and treatment of memory deficits. Under Jacoby’s leadership, the Aging, Memory & Cognitive Control Lab in Washington University’s psychology department has centered on questions related to cognitive control and to subjective experience. Other research extends the consciously controlled/automatic distinction to the domain of social psychology.
BBN Technologies (retired) William James Fellow Award John Swets is the intellectual father of signal detection theory (SDT) — an idea he borrowed from World War II radar experts and adapted for the study of human decision making. He has played a key role in adapting SDT as a central tool in the study of perception, and ultimately in the field of medical diagnostics. Both radar and the human mind have trouble detecting the few meaningful signals amid random noise. The tool that Swets and his colleagues developed — the so-called receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve — points the way to the best decision threshold for each unique problem.
Ellen M. Markman
Stanford University William James Fellow Award Ellen Markman’s work has covered a range of issues in cognitive development. She conducted some of the pioneering research on the development of comprehension monitoring in children. Much of her work has addressed questions about the relationship between language and thought in children focusing especially on categorization and inductive reasoning and on how infants and young children figure out the meanings of words. In particular, Markman addressed the question of how young children solve the inductive problem that word learning poses.
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign William James Fellow Award Nicknamed “Dr. Happiness,” Ed Diener is one of the leading pioneers in scientific research on happiness. He developed the Satisfaction with Life Scale and many other research protocols currently used by psychologists; he is chiefly responsible for coining and conceptualizing the term “Subjective Well-Being (SWB)” — how people experience the quality of their lives. According to Diener’s research, there is a positive level of SWB throughout the world, with the possible exception of extremely poor countries.