Inside the Psychologist’s Studio: Janet Taylor Spence

Inside The Psychologist’s Studio with Janet Taylor Spence
Interviewed by Kay Deaux at the 22nd APS Annual Convention in Boston, MA, May 28, 2010.

Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions

Remembering Janet Taylor Spence

See more interviews with legends of psychological science here.


I admire this woman for all of her achievements !!!

Great souls live on….through their actions and words.

Janet Taylor Spence was simply wonderful, as this window into her personality, mind, and career clearly shows. I treasure the times I got to work with her. She was “all light, and no nonsense” and a role model for men as well as women. Rest in peace, Dear Janet. You will be in our thoughts, and in our hearts.

Janet Spence was not only my great-aunt but a pillar in my family. She was so humble in regards to her work, rarely talking about her achievements and contributions, and it’s because of this that I am thrilled to have come across this video. To be able to see her and hear her voice again is a gift beyond measure. Thank you to all who have worked with and admired her throughout the years, and to those who put this interview together. She is extremely missed in my family and I know she will be remembered forever for her contributions to the field of psychology.

Janet had just come to teach as Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at Northwedtern University when I was a graduate student in that department. JANET’s age was close to that of the Grad students, so she was somewhat of a “pal” to many of us. Janet and I became such pals, and when we both moved away from Northwestern we continued to write each other. After she married Kenneth Spence and moved to TX, we stayed in contact. Eventually, when she was a widow, in 1990 I spent some time as Visiting scholar in Austin, spending many hours sharing with Janet, and some time with Helmreich. These visits helped me write some good material in my Motivation textbook on the need to achieve and gender, published in 2000. Janet and I saw each other at APS conventions in following years, always sharing as one does with a “pal.” She was courageous in many ways that I had admired, and her willingness to learn new aspects of psychology and “stats” were impressive. She was co-author with other Northwestern profs of a Stats textbook and proudly told me when I was with her in Austin that the latest edition of that book she had in fact finished on her own, having to learn new content to do so. It was typical of Janet, to learn new material so that she could contribute in important ways to Psychology. Her courage to be a pioneer was part of her life all the years she was growing up, so she had shared with me, and all the years (over50 years) we were friends.
An award in her name for young Psycholigists is very fitting, as they also are pioneers.

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