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OBSSR Honors Behavioral Scientists and NAS Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences Meets

June 13, 2019

The NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research hosted its 12th Matilda White Riley Awards, the annual distinguished scholar lecture named for a celebrated scientist and member of the National Academy of Sciences. Riley provided outstanding leadership and transformative work in the behavioral and social sciences across the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  In 2016, OBSSR expanded the event to recognize emerging scientists with a competition for peer-reviewed articles by Early Stage Investigators (ESIs).

Following welcoming remarks by OBSSR Director, William T. Riley (no relation), five ESI awardees, including several behavioral scientists, presented on their distinguished work.

Among the early career winners, Robbee Wedow, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, presented his work on “Education, smoking, and cohort change: Forwarding a multidimensional theory of the environmental moderation of genetic effects.” Marco Venniro, National Institute on Drug Abuse, shared his findings on “Volitional social interaction prevents drug addiction in rat models.” Jamie L Hanson, University of Pittsburgh, who was unable to attend, received the award for his work on “A family focused intervention influences Hippocampal-Prefrontal Connectivity through Gains in Self-Regulation.”

For more information about past NIH Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors, click here.


Established in 1997, The Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS) was created as a part of The National Academies of Sciences to provide a cross-disciplinary intellectual resource for policy making communities to inform and enhance policy decisions and practices. During the open session of the June meeting, William T. Riley, NIH, and Marc M. Sebrechts, National Science Foundation, provided updates on their agency initiatives. BBCSS is chaired by former FABBS president, Susan Fiske, Princeton.

With help from the ad hoc study committees, BBCSS has issued dozens of reports on topics such as how people learn, the aging mind, educating children with autism, visual impairment, staffing standards for aviation safety inspectors, human behavior in military contexts, behavioral modeling and simulation, and threatening communications and behavior. Last month, BBCSS released a report on “Reproducibility and Replicability in Science.” The report recommends ways in which researchers, academic institutions, journals, and funders can help strengthen rigor and transparency in order to improve the reproducibility of scientific research. BBCSS will hold a public symposium about the report on September 24, 2019. Another important report for FABBS sciences, “A Decadal Survey of the Social and Behavioral Sciences: A Research Agenda for Advancing Intelligence Analysis” was released in March.

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