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Psychology Department News Archive

2012 Psychology Department News
  • Professor Herbert Terrace gave this year's Leonard Hastings Schoff Lectures. The University Seminars at Columbia University sponsor an annual series of lectures with the support of the Leonard Hastings Schoff and Suzanne Levick Schoff Memorial Fund. Columbia University Press publishes the lectures.

  • An article in The LA Times reports on a new study by Professor Daphna Shohamy and graduate student Elliott Wimmer, published in the journal Science. The study reveals how memory systems in the brain bias decisions. To view the article click, here.

  • The Columbia Symposium on Rewards, Habits and Learning was held on September 12. Click here to view the official event notice.

  • We note with great sadness, the passing of our dear colleague Professor Edward E. Smith. For details of his life and contributions, please follow this link. A memorial service celebrating his life was held on Friday, November 16th at Saint Paul's Chapel at Columbia University.

  • Professor Geraldine Downey, former Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, returned to full time teaching in July 2012. For the news feature, click here.

  • Professor Hakwan Lau was recognized with the Janet Taylor Spence Award at the Association for Psychological Science 24th annual convention on May 24-27, 2012 in Chicago, IL. Click here for information about his convention symposium.

  • Professor Walter Mischel was awarded the Ludwig Wittgenstein Preis 2012 der Österreichischen Forschungsgemeinschaft Austrian Research Foundation's [Ludwig Wittgenstein Prize for 2012] in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field of personality psychology.

  • Professor Daphna Shohamy received one of the Distinguished Columbia Faculty Awards established by University Trustee Gerry Lenfest (Law '58) from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

2011 Psychology Department News
  • Professor Tory Higgins published the hardcover, Beyond Pleasure and Pain: How Motivation Works available through Amazon and Barnes&Noble. To see pictures of the book publishing celebration for Tory Higgins, click here.

  • Professor Betsy Sparrow and her studies on memory are featured on in the PBS News Hour broadcast, Google's Effects on Memory, The New York Times article, "Internet Use Affects Memory, Study Finds", and a host of other articles and publications in July 2011.

  • Columbia University's Psychology Department was the host of the annual Four College Conference on April 8, 2011.

  • Professor Daphna Shohamy was selected to be one of six recipients of the 2011 Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions. The award was created by APS in honor of Janet Taylor Spence to laud the creativity and innovative work of promising scientists who represent the bright future ahead for psychological science. The award will be presented at the opening ceremony of the 2011 APS convention in Washington, DC on May 26, 2011 accompanied by profiles of each recipient in the APS Observer.

  • Professor Walter Mischel is the 2011 winner of the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Psychology for his work explaining self-control- demonstrating that willpower can be learned and that it carries lifelong benefits.

2010 Psychology Department News
  • Carl Hart is featured in the article, "The Drug Data Pusher", in the February 2010 issue of Wired UK magazine.
  • On June 6, 2010 Professor Walter Mischel was the first psychologist in 70 years to receive from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem the degree of Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa. The award letter from university President Menahem Ben-Sasson and university Rector Sarah Stroumsa "...acknowledges (his) outstanding scientific contributions in the areas of cognitive, social and personality psychology."

2009 Psychology Department News 
  • In May, the Robert Krauss Festschrift book titled "Expressing Oneself / Expressing One's Self: Communication, Cognition, Language, and Identity" was published and available on! Click here for a summary of this book edited by Ezequiel Morsella and published by Psychology Press.
  • In May, Valerie Purdie-Vaughns was featured in the science section of The New York Times. Click here to view the feature.

2008 Psychology Department News
  • In May, Professor Carl Hart and Graduate Student Scholer were the recipients of Columbia University Presidential Awards.
  • In May, Professor Carl Hart was awarded a 2008 Columbia University Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching- Faculty.
  • In May, Graduate Student Abigail Scholer was awarded a 2008 Columbia University Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching- Graduate Student.

2007 Psychology Department News

  • In February, a symposium titled Careers in Science and Engineering: Building a Diverse Workforce was held in Schermerhorn Hall at Columbia University. The symposium for undergraduates, graduates, and post-docs interested in careers in science and engineering, focused on the following questions: What is the career path like for scientists and engineers who wish to work in a university? How does it differ from career paths of those who work in industry? What special challenges do women and other underrepresented groups face as they advance through their institutions?Do scientists and engineers have lives outside of work? Students and post-docs were encouraged to submit questions for the panelists.
  • In February, Chris Summerfield was the recipient of the 2006 James McKeen Cattell Dissertation Award. Summerfield's dissertation, "Cognitive Control during Episodic Memory Encoding", was selected as the sole recipient of the Cattell Award which is sponsored by the Psychology Section of the New York Academy of Sciences. As Chris Summerfield's mentor, Jennifer Mangels, Ph.D. has also been recognized by the New York Academy of Sciences.
  • In February, Geraldine Downey was awarded the 2006-2007 Distinguished Faculty Award. The Record describes this Arts and Sciences Honor as one "...that recognizes faculty members who demonstrate extraordinary merit across a range of professional activities - particularly in instructing and mentoring their students." Cited in the article was Prof. Downey's research on the psychological aspects of rejection and her course "Children at risk".

  • In March, Vanessa Anderson and Abigail Scholer, who were named 2006-07 recipients of the Christie Fellowship, are pictured with Prof. Geraldine Downey in the March 19th edition of The Record at the GSAS fellowship dinner on March 6, 2007. The fellowship will be used in support of their research.

  • In March, Sarah Woolley and Frances Champagne celebrate the opening of new labs: The Columbia Spectator features an article on the reception held by the Psychology Department in Prof. Woolley's and Prof. Champagne's new labs. Specifically designed for their research, the spacious facilities include a computer lab, conference room, and a microscope room.

  • In April, Professor Don Hood along with four other University professors have been named winners of the 2007 Presidential Teaching Award. Established in 1996, the award honors faculty who represent "the best of Columbia's teachers for the influence they have on the development of their students and their part in maintaining the University's longstanding reputation for educational excellence."

  • In July, Provost Brinkley and President Lee C. Bollinger are very pleased to announce the appointment of Geraldine Downey as the University’s new Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives. Geraldine is a respected colleague, an innovative teacher, an award-winning psychologist, and a treasured member of the Columbia community since 1991. Having trained at University College-Dublin, Cornell, and Michigan, she is a leading developmental psychologist recognized for her path-breaking research on identity formation and for her vigorous commitment to mentoring students. As professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, Geraldine has had extensive experience in faculty recruitment and development. She also serves as the director of Columbia’s Social Relations Laboratory.In her role as Vice Provost, Geraldine will be giving special attention to the question of diversity in the sciences--an issue of national concern and one in which we believe Columbia can become a national leader. She will, of course, also continue current efforts to advance diversity generally in the professional schools and the Arts and Sciences. Please join us in welcoming Geraldine to this important position of leadership and in affirming our shared commitment to strengthening diversity as a critical component of the Columbia community. Dr. Geraldine Downey's research was recently featured in Psychology Today as the cover story in the August 2007 issue. The article, entitled, "Dumped (but not down)" discusses Dr. Downey's work on rejection sensitivity.

  • In October, Kevin Ochsner was awarded the Cognitive Neuroscience Society's Young Investigator Award for contributions in Social Cognitive Neuroscience.

2006 Psychology Department News
  • The article, "Eight reasons to re-register: What you must take in your four years here", featured in the 2006 Orientation edition of the Columbia Spectator describes PSYC W1010 Mind, Brain and Behavior as a course "worth it's weight in textbooks."  According to a former student, "...this is one of those classes that will give you cocktail party talking points for the rest of your life. The science-requirement filler teaches students how their brains work and why people act the way they do. It's a little tough, but definitely worth it."
  • In April, Tory Higgins was elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences 2006 Class of Fellows. Among the newly elected fellows, Dr. Higgins is joined by two former U.S. presidents, the Chief Justice of the United States, and a Nobel laureate.The Academy's Chief Executive, Officer Leslie Berlowitz, had this to say about the newly elected, "Throughout its history, the Academy has convened the leading thinkers of the day, from diverse perspectives, to participate in projects and studies that advance the public good. I am confident that this distinguished class of new Fellows will continue that tradition of cherishing knowledge and shaping the future."

  • In April, a Psychology Honors was student named CC '06 Salutatorian. Psychology Honors student, Julia DiBenigno, was named CC '06 Salutatorian at this year's Class Day ceremonies.

  • In May, an experiment designed by Watler Mischel was featured in a New York Times article. David Brooks discusses the utility of Dr. Walter Mischel's classic longitudinal study on self-control in children as a tool to guide public policy in his New York Times article, "Marshmallows and Public Policy".

  • In May, Chloe Carmichael (GS '06) received the Pack Prize during the Class Day ceremony.

  • In June, Karatsoreos wins SBN Young Investigator Award. Mr. Ilia Karatsoreos, a 5th year graduate student, receives the Young Investigators Award from the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. He will present his work at the Society's 10th Annual Meeting hosted by the University of Pittsburgh on June 18th, 2006.

  • In November, the agenda of the symposium titled, The Science of Diversity had two goals: to set out what research reveals about how bias and exclusion occur, and to suggest how institutions can counteract both to promote more inclusive environments and practices. Speakers will present the latest behavioral and neuroscience research on cognitive bias, judgment, and decision-making. (more)Friday, November 17, 2006, 9:30am - 5:30pm501 Schermerhorn, Columbia University (Morningside Heights Campus)Sponsored by the Provost's Task Force on Diversity in Science & Engineering,the Earth Institute ADVANCE Program, the Department of Psychology, and the Offices of the Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives and the Executive Vice President for Research.

  • Prof. Mangels's and Prof. Hirsch's Research Featured in Science Article "Predictive Codes for Forthcoming Perception in the Frontal Cortex" is a featured report in the November 24, 2006 issue of Science Magazine. The article discusses the "Predictive coding" and how the "brain resolves perceptual ambiguity by anticipating the forthcoming sensory environment, generating a template against which to match observed sensory evidence. Click here for the article.

  • In December, The Record features Prof. Downey and Prof. Graham as two of "Columbia's Hotshot Women Scientists". In the Faculty Q & A, of the December 4, 2006 issue of The Record, Prof. Downey and Prof. Graham are asked about their experiences in the sciences and in academia.

  • In December, The Science of Diversity Conference is featured in the New York Times The article, "Women in Science: The Battle Moves to the Trenches," appears in the Science section of the December 19, 2006 issue of The New York Times. The conference at Columbia is cited as one of the many forums in which "female scientists are asking why" there is a gender imbalance in the Sciences.

2005 Psychology Department News
  • Prof. Frances Champagne featured in ScienCentral article Dr. Frances Champagne's research, which explores "whether mothering tendencies are passed on through genetics or experience" is the topic of the article, "A Mother's Touch", featured in the May edition of ScienCentral News.
  • In May a posthumous degree will be awarded to George Pappas, who graduated in psychology, at the 2005 GS Class Day ceremony.

  • Prof. Walter Mischel was the recipient of the Jack Block Award: The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) presented Dr. Walter Mischel with the 2005 Jack Block Award for his many distinguished contributions in the area of Personality Psychology.

  • Ms. Bonita London, a 5th year graduate student in Psychology, receives the  University's Presidential Teaching Award in November which honors outstanding graduate student teachers for the influence they have on the development of their students and their part in maintaining the University's longstanding reputation for educational excellence.

  • Prof. Tory Higgins was the recipient of the SESP 2005 Distinguished Scientist Award from The Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP). The award honors his service and many contributions to the the field. Past recipients include Dr. Walter Mischel who received the award in 2000 and Dr. Stanley Schachter in 1983.

  • Niall Bolger, Ph.D. joins the Psychology Department faculty in the fall of 2005. Dr. Bolger joins the Columbia Psychology Department from New York University. He will continue his research on how close relationships affect coping with stressful events.