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Vol.26, No. 19 Apr. 9, 2001

Higgins to Discuss the Way Values Affect Decisions at April 17 Lecture

By Pamela Vu

E. Tory Higgins, Stanley Schacter Professor of Psychology, will deliver the spring University Lecture on Tues., April 17, in Low Rotunda. His topic will be “What Makes a Decision ‘Good’? Rethinking Where Value Comes From.”

The 8:00 pm. lecture, sponsored by the Offices of the President and Provost, is free and open to the public.

Higgins will address the processes by which we make decisions based on value. In traditional models of decision making, the value of a decision depends on its consequences. Higgins points to two other sources of value: one that is derived from decisions affirming our moral principles and the other from decisions that are aligned with our motivational state. He will also distinguish among “doing what is good,” “doing what is right” and “doing what feels right.”

From 1994 to 2001, Higgins was chair of the department of psychology at Columbia. He gave the M.A. Convocation Address (2000) and the Ph.D. Convocation Address (1999) for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He received a MERIT Award from the National Institute of Mental Health (1989), the Donald T. Campbell Award in Social Psychology (1996) and the Thomas M. Ostrom Award in Social Cognition (1999).

In 2000, he was the recipient of the William James Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions.

He received a B.A. in sociology and anthropology from McGill University in 1967, a M.A. in social psychology from the London School of Economics in 1968 and a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia in 1973. He served on the faculty of Princeton, University of Western Ontario and New York University before returning to Columbia in 1989.