Michael Wenye Li / Sun Photography Editor

Professor Charles Brainerd will receive the American Psychological Association's G. Stanley Hall Award at their annual convention in Aug. 2019. This award is the highest honor in the field of developmental psychology.

October 10, 2018

Prof. Charles Brainerd Receives Highest Award in Field of Developmental Psychology

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Prof. Charles Brainerd, human development, has been awarded the highest honor in the field of developmental psychology: the American Psychological Association’s G. Stanley Hall award. He will receive this award at the APA’s annual convention in August 2019.

The G. Stanley Hall award is given to a single individual who has made “distinguished contributions to developmental psychology, including contributions in research, student training, and other scholarly endeavors,” according to the APA website.

The award’s evaluations are based on the scientific merit of the individual’s work, the importance of this work for opening up new empirical or theoretical areas of development psychology and the importance of the individual’s work in linking developmental psychology with issues confronting the larger society or with other disciplines, according to the website.

Brainerd’s research focuses on human cognition. His research has been published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Journal of Memory and Language, Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Developmental Review, and The Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, according to his Cornell biography.

Brainerd has made significant contributions to psychology. He and his colleague, V.F. Reyna, developed a widely known and accepted theory called fuzzy-trace theory, a general model of how memory influences reasoning and how reasoning influences memory. Some of his work has also focused on neurocognitive impairment and how memory affects legal evidence.

“I have concentrated most extensively on the development of cognitive processes in normal and atypical children, but I have also published considerable research on adult cognition and have taught widely in that area,” Brainerd said in his Cornell biography.

When asked about his opinion on receiving this award, Brainerd stated, “Although recognition for one’s research is gratifying, the award does not change my further research or teaching plans in any way.  It simply says that my past work may have some merit in the eyes of my peers.”

According to the National Academy for Education, Brainerd has published over 300 articles and over 20 books. Brainerd is a Fellow of the Division of General Psychology, the Division of Experimental Psychology, the Division of Developmental Psychology and the Division of Educational Psychology of the American Psychological Association, and he is a Fellow of the American Psychological Society and the Psychonomic Society.

In addition to the G. Stanley Hall award, Brainerd was awarded the Spirit of Excellence Award from the Governor of Arizona for “work in higher education and the Trial Defense Services Medal of the Judge Advocate General of the United States Army.”

According to the National Academy for Education, he has advised civilian and military courts on “memory research and has contributed to amicus briefs in many appeal cases, including death penalty appeals.”

He currently is the editor of Developmental Review.