Yale Professor Named President of the American Psychological Association

Robert Sternberg, the IBM professor of psychology and education, and director of the Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies and Expertise (PACE) at Yale, has been named president of the American Psychological Association (APA).

The APA is the largest association of psychologists in the world. It comprises about 155,000 members from the United States and abroad and includes both academic and practicing psychologists. The last APA president on the Yale faculty was Professor Neal Miller in 1961.

Sternberg’s planned initiatives include a school children’s bill of rights that would broaden the conception of accountability in schools. “For many schools, accountability means high test scores and little more,” said Sternberg. “I plan to work with other organizations to address issues such as child physical and mental health, safety, nutrition, social development and critical-thinking skills.”

Sternberg’s second planned initiative involves using psychological knowledge to combat hate and the violence that can result from it.

“Even before September 11, I had proposed a theory of hate and argued that much of the violence we have seen around the world originates in hate,” said Sternberg. “Psychologists need to play a major role in combating hate and violence, and in promoting peace and personal well-being. Psychologists already are actively engaged in the fight against terrorism, and I believe that there is yet more they can do.”

Sternberg’s third initiative involves finding ways to increase psychologists’ contributions to developing countries. With his fourth planned initiative, he aims to unify the academic and practice communities of psychologists.

The central focus of Sternberg’s research is on intelligence, creativity and wisdom and he also has studied love and close relationships, as well as hate. His PACE center is dedicated to advancing theory, research, practice and policy in the notion of intelligence as developing expertise. Sternberg is the author of hundreds of journal articles and books and has received numerous awards and fellowships for his work. Sternberg graduated from Yale College and received a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

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Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-432-1326