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Psychology’s chair honoured for lifetime contributions

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Faculty of Arts is very proud to share the news that Professor Colin MacLeod, Chair of Psychology, will receive the 2018 Gold Medal Award for Lifetime Contributions to Canadian Psychology at a ceremony in June. The award celebrates outstanding Canadian psychologists who have dedicated their careers to the advancement of the field in this country and around the world.

Presented annually by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), the Gold Medal Award recognizes the exceptional and enduring contributions of a CPA member or Fellow to Canadian psychology throughout his/her career. CPA is the national association for the science, practice, and education of psychology in Canada. With approximately 7,000 members and affiliates, CPA is Canada's largest association for psychology.

Colin MacLeodProfessor MacLeod is internationally acclaimed for his research on attention, learning, and memory. As a professor, he spent 25 years at the University of Toronto, and has now been at the University of Waterloo for 15 years.

In recent years, his research has focused on the roles of consciousness and inhibition in memory as well as on basic processes in associative learning. His work has been published in top journals including Science, Psychological Review, Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Psychology, and Memory & Cognition. He has served as Editor of both the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology and Memory & Cognition, and has been a member of numerous editorial boards.

Colleagues from all six research areas in the Department of Psychology contributed to the nomination of Professor MacLeod for the CPA Gold Medal. Among their comments, they wrote:

“He has made landmark contributions in both domains [memory and attention], with over 20 of his papers cited over 100 times each. His tour de force review of literature on the famous Stroop effect in Psychological Bulletin in 1991 is one of the most cited papers in all of Psychology in the last 50 years. He and his students have helped to elucidate the basis of interference in attention and the nature of implicit memory, and his ongoing elegant work continues to probe the basic processes of attention, learning and memory.”

According to Google Scholar, Professor MacLeod’s published research has been cited more than 13,000 times over his career. A recent University of Waterloo media release on a study by Professor MacLeod and postdoctoral fellow Noah Forrin on reading aloud to improve memory attracted hundreds of mainstream media hits and thousands of social media shares.

The CPA Gold Medal is certainly not the first high-profile recognition of Professor MacLeod’s research contributions. He has received the Donald O. Hebb Distinguished Contribution Award from the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science and the CPA Donald O. Hebb Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as a Science. In 2016, Professor MacLeod was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

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