Congratulations to Leah Somerville, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Harvard University and CLBB faculty member, who was recently selected to receive two significant awards for early career contributions to psychological research. The research of Somerville and her Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab focuses on understanding the neurodevelopmental contributions to adolescents’ motivated, emotional, and social behavior. Somerville is also an member of the CLBB Juvenile Justice Working Group.
The FJ McGuigan Early Career Investigator Research Prize supports research that aims to advance, both empirically and theoretically, a materialistic understanding of the human mind. The original bequest of Dr. FJ McGuigan, for whom the prize is named, sought to develop a unified conception of brain and behavior:
“The principal purpose… is to support research, to explicate the concept of the human mind. The approach must be a materialistic one fostering both empirical and theoretical research. Empirical research would primarily be psychophysiological, but physiological and behavioral research may also qualify for support. It is essential that dualistic approaches such as espoused by many contemporary cognitive psychologists do not qualify for support.”
Somerville was the sole recipient of the award in 2014.
The Janet Taylor Spence Award, named for the first President of the American Psychological Society, recognizes transformative early career contributions to psychological science. Somerville is one of six recipients annually who “reflect the best of the many new and cutting edge ideas coming out of our most creative and promising investigators who, together, embody the future of psychological science.”