FABBS is pleased to announce the 2021 Early Career Impact Award winners. This award is presented to early career scientists of FABBS member societies during the first 10 years post-PhD and recognizes scientists who have made major contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior. The goal is to enhance public visibility of these sciences and the particular research through the dissemination efforts of the FABBS in collaboration with the member societies and award winners.
2021 Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research Award Winner
Dr. Picard is a pioneer and has contributed to lay the foundation for the emerging field of “mitochondrial psychobiology.” Mitochondria are organelles and the primary source of energy that sustains our life. His major research contributions reach across basic science and translational domains. He initially developed novel imaging methods to visualize and quantify the morphology and physical interactions of mitochondria in brain and muscle cells, including in human tissues from the clinic. Through this ground-breaking work, Dr. Picard has shown how mitochondria communicate with each other, and defined how defective mitochondria behave inside the cell in disease and aging. He has also used mouse genetics to show that mitochondrial function regulates neuroendocrine, metabolic, and brain gene expression responses to acute stress, uncovering the specific influence of mitochondria across multiple stress-related systems. To translate his work to the clinic, Dr. Picard developed a novel platform for mitochondrial phenotyping, deployed in human blood leukocytes, and provided with his colleague Dr. Epel evidence of a directional effect of stress and mood on mitochondrial health in humans – the hint of a mind-mitochondria connection. His team together with Dr. Marsland and Dr. Kaufman also showed how acute psychological stress can cause the release of mitochondrial DNA into the serum, and used machine learning to map individualized psychobiological predictors of this response in healthy women and men. Dr. Picard’s group has also developed a new quantitative hair imaging method, which demonstrated that age-related graying is temporarily reversible and linked to psychological stress.
Dr. Picard’s research has important implications for how we teach and practice medicine, and has been featured on several platforms. First, his studies demonstrating that the mitochondrial genome is released during psychological stress were featured in Scientific American to help raise awareness about stress and depression. Second, Dr. Picard’s and his collaborator Dr. Sandi’s research on mitochondrial energetics, stress, and the brain was the topic of a piece in the widely read Quanta Magazine, painting a simple bridge between psychosocial experiences and biological processes within mitochondria. Third, his innovative work describing a quantitative link between stress and hair graying was also featured on several platforms including the BBC radio World Show, the Daily Mail, and The New Scientist. Dr. Picard is an inspirational speaker and has given public science lectures at multiple international venues and been interviewed on popular podcasts, to explain how energy flow in our mitochondria and in our brain may be linked to the flow of our thoughts and to our behaviors.
2021 American Educational Research Association Award Winner
Emily Rauscher is an Associate Professor in the Sociology Department at Brown University and faculty affiliate of the Population Studies and Training Center, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, and the Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy. She is a sociologist whose work spans sociology, education research, demography, policy, and health policy. She has a solid publication record with over 20 first- or second-author publications in peer-reviewed journals across these disciplines from 2012 – 2020 as a postdoctoral fellow and assistant professor. The extraordinary breadth of her research is outstanding for her career stage. Few scholars ever produce work that is both interdisciplinary and crosses multiple disciplines and fields.
Rauscher is an exceptional scientist who is producing a range of research that integrates disciplinary perspectives, data sources, and levels of analysis are in the finest tradition of where education research and other sciences need to be headed. A common thread throughout much of her research focuses on education research, broadly defined. Her work cuts across the life cycle at both the individual and macro levels as she addresses topics such as infant health and parents education attainment, socialization effects in early education and the primary grades, school funding, transgenerational wealth transfers, and effects of education policy. Rauscher studies the relationship between education and inequality, focusing on specific policies that can increase equality of opportunity by race and socioeconomic status. Rauscher’s research examines intergenerational inequality, which has implications for education, socioeconomic standing, and health. She recently published research using rigorous statistical techniques that suggests that passing a school funding bond increases achievement for low socioeconomic status students, but not for affluent students. Through her research she is creating new knowledge and helping us to understand how social forces can influence school and educational processes.
Rauscher received a small grant from the AERA-NSF Grants Program to study school funding and inequality of educational achievement using large-scale Federal data sets. From this work she produced multiple publications in education research and sociology journals. Another line of her research examines how K-12 schools contribute to students’ learning social skills such as how to get along with others and how to talk to teachers and other authority figures. This work also suggests how schools serve as center of some communities. Rauscher has produced additional research on topics such as infant health variations, integrating genetics and social science, children’s conception of social class, historical contexts of economic mobility, and intergenerational financial transfers effect students’ educational attainment. These multiple lines of research and publications illustrate that she is a nimble and interdisciplinary scholar who is making a significant contribution to scientific inquiry.
In addition to her strong body of research that is published in peer-reviewed academic journals, Rauscher has published several policy reports and research briefs on school funding inequality. These reports are largely directed to state and local policymakers and the general public. She also has provided testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Kansas Advisory Committee, Education Funding and Civil Rights in Kansas on education inequality in Kansas. Her work has contributed to the sociology of education and how we understand how schools influence socialization learning in early childhood. Rauscher has contributed to a National Public Radio podcast about the socialization effects of education on children, especially those from low-income, rural, and racial minority groups. She has also presented her research in numerous symposia and colloquia at several universities, and organizations. The interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary focus of her research attracts a wide audience which includes school administrators and practitioners, health care clinicians, policy makers, and others interested in understanding and improving life experiences.
2021 Behavior Genetics Association Award Winner
Dr. Marceau has helped to advance our understanding of how genes and environments work together to predict child behavioral outcomes, with a particular focus on developmental psychopathology and transitions to substance use during adolescence. Her research examines the integrated roles of genetics, prenatal environmental risks, neuroendocrine development, and the family environment for human development by clarifying the magnitude of the effects of diverse factors that are typically evaluated in isolation. Examining effects in isolation is vital for in-depth understanding of specific mechanisms in controlled settings but can be misleading in the context of the complexity and diversity of human development. She has written both empirical and theoretical papers describing how these multiple processes may work together to help shape child and adolescent developmental outcomes, for example documenting distinct pathways by which stress hormones mediate genetic, prenatal, and parenting influences on children’s emotional (but not behavioral) problems, and adolescent substance use. Her work also finds that prenatal exposures are often related to genetic risk but can exert unique effects or modify both genetic and postnatal environmental effects on hormones and behavior. By leveraging unique behavioral genetic designs and statistical methods, Dr. Marceau’s work has challenged some and strengthened some causal claims of environmental influences on development, while revealing the ways in which biological and environmental factors work together to support human development broadly. Dr. Marceau’s work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as a PI (F31, K01), Co-I (R01), and as primary sponsor/mentor on student-led (R36, F31) grants.
2021 Society for Mathematical Psychology Award Winner
Pernille Hemmer’s research impacts are three-fold: challenging standards that lead to poor theory development, developing novel methods with real-world applications, and transforming science teaching to provide cutting edge programming and computational modeling skills.
Hemmer’s research examines the interaction of episodic memory and prior knowledge, showing that people appear to use knowledge of environmental regularities to improve episodic memory accuracy. This stands in contrast to the long-standing view in the literature that memory is fallible due to prior knowledge. Hemmer takes a new perspective: she shows the importance of ecologically valid stimuli by demonstrating how using unrepresentative stimuli can lead to erroneous conclusions about memory. This work has brought the laboratory in closer contact with the ‘real world,’ and has been recognized with awards from the Cognitive Science Society and the Association for Psychological Science.
Hemmer has focused on developing other transformative methods with real-world applications. In work funded by a prestigious NSF CAREER award, she developed a new framework for inferring individual differences via the application of Bayesian analysis to Bayesian models of cognition. In a first-of-its-kind assessment, this approach is being applied to patients suffering from Schizophrenia to characterize individual differences in subjective mental representations. This approach has value as both a diagnostic and a predictive tool.
Computational cognition modeling is a growing field. Successful students must have basic programming and computational modeling skills; however, these skills are not readily attained at many Universities. Transforming science teaching is critical in cultivating undergraduate and graduate students to be rigorous scientists in mathematical psychology and computational cognitive science. Dr. Hemmer has worked hard to improve computational training by developing unique courses in Bayesian Cognitive Modeling and Programming for Behavioral Scientists. She adapted these courses for online teaching to be disseminated at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She deeply integrates students of all levels into her research program, making a point to include them as co-authors on papers and conference presentations.
Hemmer is dedicated to promoting women and minorities in STEM. Her most important service engagements are with local and national organizations seeking to advance diversity and enhance the participation and visibility of women and minorities. Her outreach focuses on promoting the retention of women in science through mentoring workshops and participation on panels for national organizations. For 10 years she has co-organized annual Women of Math Psych Professional Development Workshops, working to establish a formal organizational structure and secure funding for WoMP. Hemmer received the Women in Cognitive Science (WiCS) Mentoring Award for her commitment to mentoring students from underrepresented groups. She serves on Advisory Boards for both WoMP and WiCS. To attract underrepresented groups to the academic setting, Hemmer practices outreach to pre-college organizations targeting at-risk inner-city youth. She mentors female high school students and hosts high school summer interns (funded by a Research Experience for Undergraduates award, two NSF awards).
Hemmer has served the behavioral sciences as Associate Editor for three journals (Behavior Research Methods, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, and Computational Brain & Behavior). She serves on the Psychonomic Society Publications Board, and is currently the President of the Society for Mathematical Psychology. For Hemmer, outreach integrates public engagement with research, teaching, and mentoring. This nexus energizes her to continue in her efforts to advance diversity and increase public awareness of science.
2021 Society for Research in Child Development Award Winner
Riana Elyse Anderson
University of Michigan School of Public Health
Riana Elyse Anderson is an emerging leader in the understanding of how racial discrimination affects the development of children and youth, and what approaches can be taken to buffer the negative effects of discrimination.
Anderson’s work is unusual in that it focuses on multiple developmental periods. She has publications focusing on development in light of the experience of racial discrimination from early childhood through the transition to adulthood. The developmental outcomes she considers in her work vary accordingly, ranging from consideration early school readiness to youth mental and behavioral health.
Not only are there separate publications focusing on different developmental periods, but Dr. Anderson and colleagues have provided a clear conceptual framework for understanding how and why discrimination affects children’s development in different ways at different periods. For example, this conceptual framework provides evidence that the role of caregiver and peer influences in both experiencing and interpreting racial discrimination changes across developmental periods; that children’s participation in different organizational settings and the potential for exposure to discrimination in each setting (such as early care and education, school, youth organizations, and employment) change with age; and children’s capacity to grasp and interpret experiences of racial discrimination also changes as their cognitive development grows.
Anderson’s work encompasses the development of important new measures, with rigorous psychometric testing. For example, the development of a measure of racial socialization competency is in itself an important contribution to behavioral science. Anderson’s work includes not only careful and nuanced examination of the mechanisms by which the direct personal experience of racial discrimination comes to affect children, but also indirect influences such as the pathways by which parents’ experiences of discrimination come to affect children and youth.
Anderson’s work with colleagues goes beyond understanding how racial discrimination affects children and youth to the development and testing of approaches for addressing and buffering the impacts of such discrimination. Of importance, this work goes beyond consideration of the history of child/youth exposure and how caregiving adults have responded in the past to consideration of approaches for helping children and youth interpret and respond to instances of racial discrimination as they occur, with a particular focus on efficacy and preparation of parents for communication when such instances occur.
Anderson is frequently invited as a guest speaker to convey research findings to a range of target audiences. Just in 2020, these audiences have included the National Urban League, the Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program, the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, the Metro Detroit Association of Black Psychologists, The Allliance for Health Policy, the Detroit City Council, the American Psychological Association’s Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice, and meetings convened by Michigan State Senator Stephanie Chan.
Anderson is also a frequent writer for commissioned blogs. These include blogs prepared for Psychology Today, NBC Newsroom, Bounceback Parenting, and the America Psychological Association. Her blogs have addressed such issues as How to Talk to Children about Race Today, and Resources to Encourage Enriching Racial Dialogue Early for Black History Month.
2021 Society for Text & Discourse Award Winner
University of South Carolina
Greg Trevors received his PhD from McGill University in 2016 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of South Carolina where he studies cognitive and emotional processes in revising misconceptions about important socio-scientific issues, such as vaccines, immigration, and climate change. In this program of research, he has explored learner factors, mechanisms, and boundary conditions that play a role in the success or failure of corrections. These findings have contributed to theoretical knowledge about how, why, and for whom corrections may effectively update misconceptions about controversial topics.
Trevors has shown tremendous research productivity coupled with a strong capacity to secure external funding. He routinely publishes his work in highly ranked venues (e.g., Contemporary Educational Psychology, Learning and Instruction, Educational Researcher) and prestigious edited volumes, including an entry on belief change in the forthcoming APA Handbook of Educational Psychology. His research has recently been supported by a National Science Foundation RAPID grant to develop a new digital game that employs cognitive principles of belief change to combat misconceptions about COVID-19. The potential and quality of his work has been recognized by local, federal, and international organizations, from which he has been awarded numerous prestigious fellowships, including the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Currently, Trevors is investigating individual and cultural differences that may be related to misinformation about vaccinations. His research efforts and products are prime examples of how research agendas in different disciplines can be synergistically blended to advance our understanding of the complex nature of learning. His triangulation of interdisciplinary methods demonstrated in his past and planned research represents ambitious, innovative, and achievable psychometric advancements. With respect to educational practice, findings from his research address real-world challenges and may serve to inform the design of sound educational interventions. These outcomes derived from Trevors research will likely provide fruitful new avenues of inquiry for the field.
Trevor’s research on belief change has been highlighted by several media outlets, including The Globe and Mail, The Conversation, AAAS Eureka Alert, and Medscape. Two journal articles stemming from this work have ranked in the top 5% of quality and quantity of online attention compared to 16,000,000 research outputs tracked by Altmetric. Interviews about these findings have also appeared in popular press and in distributed by the Vox Media Podcast Network. Additionally, in his collaborations with non-profit organizations, he is working to translate theoretical and empirical research on belief change to applied, real world problems.