Emory psychologists Walker and Lilienfeld receive top national honor

By Carol Clark | May 29, 2012

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Elaine Walker and Scott Lilienfeld. Emory Photo/Video.

Emory psychologists Elaine Walker and Scott Lilienfeld have both received the 2013 James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award for lifetime achievement from the Association for Psychological Science. Only two or three Cattell Fellow Awards are given each year, and this is the first time they have come from the same university.

The highest honor granted by the APS, the Cattell recognizes selected members for a career of outstanding contributions to an area of applied psychological research that addresses a critical problem in society. The two honorees will be recognized during the annual APS convention in Chicago, May 24-27.

"Elaine Walker and Scott Lilienfeld represent the very best of modern clinical psychological science," said Alan Kraut, executive director of the APS. "It is through work like theirs – carefully conceived, painstakingly rigorous and experimentally precise – that serious mental illness will be addressed with findings that stand the test of time. Emory must be extremely proud of them," Kraut says.

"I'm particularly grateful to receive this award from the Association for Psychological Science because the organization's members include some of the most distinguished scientists in the country," says Walker, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience.

Walker studies risk factors for major mental illness and is a leading expert in schizophrenia and related disorders. Her research, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, is focused on child and adolescent development and the brain changes that are associated with adolescence. She has published more than 200 scientific articles and six books dealing with mental health and neuroscience. She is currently editor of the journal "Psychological Science in the Public Interest."

"I'm humbled and honored to receive such a prestigious award from an organization that I greatly respect and value," says Lilienfeld, professor of psychology.

Lilienfeld's principal areas of research are personality disorders, psychiatric classification and diagnosis, evidence-based practices in psychology, and the challenges posed by pseudoscience to clinical psychology.  Lilienfeld has co-authored eight books, including "50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior." In addition to publishing in scientific journals, he writes for Scientific American and Scientific American Mind.

Both Walker and Lilienfeld are part of the clinical psychology program at Emory.

"That two of our colleagues have received this recognition in a single year is quite remarkable, and certainly showcases our faculty," says Robyn Fivush, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology.  "Elaine and Scott are both outstanding scientists and outstanding colleagues, and well-deserving of the honor."