Atkinson Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences

Atkinson Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences

Scheduled for presentation in 2022.  More information on how to submit a nomination can be found here

About the Atkinson Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences

The Atkinson Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences (formerly the NAS Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences) is presented to honor significant advances in the psychological and cognitive sciences with important implications for formal and systematic theory in these fields. Two prizes of $100,000 are presented biennially. The prize was established by Richard C. Atkinson in 2013.

Most Recent Recipients


Richard N. Aslin, Haskins Laboratories and Yale University, and Susan Elizabeth Carey, Harvard University, received the 2020 Atkinson Prizes in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences.

Aslin has made landmark contributions to the study of infancy over the past 40 years, including revelations about the development of vision and speech perception, as well as the early stages of language acquisition.

Aslin’s research provided important findings about statistical learning — the rapid acquisition of temporal and spatial patterns — in adults, children, and infants. He has helped to pioneer the use of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to understand the neural underpinnings of learning and development in infants. Read more about Aslin's work»

Carey’s research examines the fundamental question of how humans construct knowledge through processes such as face processing, social cognition, numerical representation, word learning, counting, and explanation. Her studies in all of these areas have culminated in a grand theory of conceptual change, which she detailed in her book, The Origins of Concepts. This theory has revolutionized our understanding of how humans construct an understanding of objects, number, living kinds, and the physical world. Read more about Carey's work»


Richard N. Aslin (2020)
For his groundbreaking innovations and seminal contributions to the field of infancy, from visual and perceptual development to early language acquisition and, most recently, to brain imaging in infants; and also for his outstanding advocacy and support for women in science.
Read more about Aslin's work»
Watch Aslin's acceptance speech»

Susan Elizabeth Carey (2020)
For her discoveries of the mechanisms by which core cognition undergoes conceptual change in childhood and over history, thereby revolutionizing our understanding of how humans construct an understanding of objects, number, living kinds, and the physical world.
Read more about Carey's work»
Watch Carey's acceptance speech»

Barbara Dosher (2018)
For her groundbreaking experimental and theoretical work using elegant computational models and novel psychophysical techniques to reveal the nature of processes controlling human memory, search, perceptual attention, and perceptual learning.
Read more about Dosher's work»
Watch Dosher's acceptance speech»

Richard M. Shiffrin (2018)
For his pioneering contributions to the empirical and theoretical investigation of short- and long-term memory, controlled and automatic attention, the co-evolution of general knowledge and event memory, and the field of cognitive science.
Read more about Shiffrin's work»
Watch Shiffrin's acceptance speech»

John R. Anderson (2016)
For foundational contributions to systematic theory and optimality analysis in cognitive and psychological science and for developing effective, theory-based cognitive tutors for education.
Read more about Anderson's work»
Watch Anderson's acceptance speech»

Carol S. Dweck (2016)
For her groundbreaking work documenting that the implicit theories people hold about human abilities and traits have profound consequences for their perseverance, resilience, and achievement.
Read more about Dweck's work»
Watch Dweck's acceptance speech»

James L. McClelland (2014)
For seminal contributions to the empirical investigation and theoretical characterization of human perception, learning, memory, language and other basic mental processes through detailed, precise connectionist neural-network modeling.
Watch McClelland's acceptance speech»

Elizabeth S. Spelke (2014)
For her groundbreaking studies of infant perception, infant representations of number, and infant knowledge of the physical and social world, as well as studies of continuity and discontinuity in ontogeny.
Watch Spelke's acceptance speech»

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