Five APS Fellows Elected to Society of Experimental Psychologists

A Guggenheim Fellow and a co-founder of a widely influential psychological theory are among four APS Fellows newly elected to the Society of Experimental Psychologists (SEP), the oldest and one of the most prestigious honorary societies in scientific psychology.

APS Fellows Diane Beck, Charles Brainerd, Steve Sloman, Joshua Greene, and Fei Xu, along with three other psychological scientists, have been selected as 2020 SEP Fellows. In addition, Vanderbilt University researcher Jennifer Trueblood, named an APS Rising Star in 2015 and a 2020 APS Janet Taylor Spence Award recipient, is receiving the SEP Early Investigator Award.

Beck, a psychology professor and head of the Attention and Perception Lab at the University of Illinois, studies the cognitive processes and neural structures that enable and limit our visual representations of the world. Her lab uses a variety of approaches, including functional magnetic resonance imaging, behavioral methods, and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Brainerd, a professor in Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, studies human memory and decision-making, statistics and mathematical modeling, cognitive neuroscience, learning, intelligence, cognitive development, false memory, learning disability, and child abuse. He is best known for developing, with APS Fellow Valerie F. Reyna, the fuzzy-trace theory — a general model of how memory influences reasoning and how reasoning influences memory. That theory, which seeks to explain some of the most counterintuitive aspects of memory and reasoning, is now widely used by investigators in fields such as forensic psychology, judgment and decision-making, and human memory.

Greene, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, studies the automatic and controlled processes that support moral judgement and decision-making. His lab uses a combination of behavioral experiments and functional neuroimaging to investigate how the role of this dual-process framework in religious belief, cooperation, and conflict resolution, among numerous other phenomena.

Sloman, a professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences at Brown University, studies how our habits of thought influence the way we see the world, and how the way we believe the world works influences our evaluations of and reactions to events. The focus of his current research is collective cognition — how we think as a community. Sloman is the author, with psychological scientist Philip Fernbach, of the 2017 book The Knowledge Illusion, Why We Never Think Alone.

A psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Xu studies cognitive and language development from infancy to middle childhood. She uses behavioral experiments and computational models to understand how young children learn so fast and so well, and what kind of domain-general learning mechanisms explain children’s learning. Xu was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2018.

Trueblood uses a joint experimental and computational modeling approach to study human judgment, decision-making, reasoning, and memory. She investigates how people make decisions when faced with multiple alternatives; how dynamically changing information affects decision processes; how people reason about complex causal events; and how different perspectives, contexts, and frames can interfere with decision-making and memory.

Other researchers who have been elected 2020 SEP Fellows include Karen Emmorey, Professor of Speech Language at San Diego State University; and Olaf Sporns, Provost Professor in Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University.

Founded in 1904, SEP admits about 6 new members annually from among the leading experimentalists in North America. Membership is by invitation only. It has a current membership of 220 individuals —about 5 – 10% of the practicing experimental psychologists.

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