Waisman’s Gernsbacher named APS President-elect

University Communications

Morton Ann Gernsbacher, the Vilas Research Professor and Sir Frederic C. Bartlett Professor of Psychology at UW-Madison, is president-elect of the American Psychological Society, an international organization dedicated to the advancement of scientific psychology.

APS is the only association solely dedicated to supporting researchers, applied and clinical scientists, academics, and teachers in the fields of psychology. The society is a powerful voice in promoting psychology as a science-based discipline and advancing behavioral science research on Capitol Hill.

“I feel very fortunate to have already had many excellent opportunities to get to know APS, its membership, leadership and staff,” said Gernsbacher, an APS Fellow and charter member. Gernsbacher has served as chair of the APS Program Committee and the APS Publications Committee and is co-editor of the APS journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest. “Each of my experiences has impressed upon me how passionately committed APS is to advancing psychological science.”

One of the foremost experimental psychologists in the country, Gernsbacher specializes in the fields of language, cognition, and autism. Using behavioral and cognitive neuroscientific methodology, Gernsbacher investigates the general cognitive processes and mechanisms that underlie language comprehension. She is currently studying the language development of a group of 200 children in Wisconsin diagnosed with autism, using behavioral and brain imaging methodologies.

“I’ve become very interested in autism and in particular the cognitive, emotional, and perceptual strengths, rather than deficits, found in autism,” Gernsbacher said, whose 9-year-old son is autistic. “This is a novel perspective and one that I would like to see flourish.” One of her most recent articles regarding autism, “Three Reasons Not to Believe in an Autism Epidemic,” was published in the July 2005 issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, an APS journal.

Gernsbacher has served on ten editorial boards, is the author or editor of ten books and has published more than 100 journal articles and invited chapters. Her three-year term on the APS board includes a year as president-elect, president, and immediate past-president.

Also elected to three-year terms on the APS Board of Directors are Patricia Devine, also of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Douglas Medin, of Northwestern University.
APS is the leading organization of academic psychologists in the United States devoted to scientific psychology. The society’s mission focuses on the advancement of research and science-based psychology in the public interest. For more information about APS, visit www.psychologicalscience.org.