RCGD’s Shinobu Kitayama and Robert Sellers Receive APS’s 2024 Lifetime Achievement Awards

ANN ARBOR — The Association for Psychological Science (APS) has awarded 2024 APS Lifetime Achievement Awards– the association’s highest honors– to 15 psychological scientists whose contributions have advanced understanding of topics ranging from how to alleviate human suffering to cultural differences and similarities in mental processes

Two of the awards went to University of Michigan Psychology faculty who are affiliated with the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research: Shinobu Kitayama and Robert Sellers.

2024 APS William James Fellow Award 

Shinobu KitayamaThe APS William James Fellow Award honors APS members for their lifetime of significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology.

Shinobu Kitayama is the Robert B. Zajonc Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Research Professor of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the University of Michigan. His research revolves around cultural differences and similarities in mental processes such as self, emotion, and cognition. His seminal paper, “Culture and the Self,” (Psychological Review, 1991), co-authored with 1989 William James Fellow Hazel Markus, is considered to be a foundational work in socio-cultural psychology. 

Dr. Kitayama was a fellow and charter member of the APS, serving as its president from 2020-2021. His transformative contributions to psychology have been recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award, and the Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from the American Psychological Association. 

“It’s my great pleasure and honor to be named a William James fellow of APS,” said Dr. Kitayama. “I am grateful to all my teachers, colleagues, and students, both past and present. I am also very happy to be affiliated with Kyoto initially and then Michigan. Michigan is special; so is Kyoto. If there is any merit in our work, it’s been fostered and nurtured by the intellectual traditions of these two institutions.”

Jacquelynne Eccles of the University of California, Irvine; Lynn Hasher, Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Centre; Rose Zacks, Michigan State University, and Henry M. Wellman, the Harold W. Stevenson Collegiate Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Michigan, were also named 2024 William James Fellows.

2024 APS James S. Jackson Lifetime Achievement Awards for Transformative Scholarship 

Robert SellersRobert Sellers of the University of Michigan earned the APS James S. Jackson Lifetime Achievement Award for Transformative Scholarship, which honors APS members for their lifetime of outstanding psychological research that advances understanding of historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups and/or understanding of the psychological and societal benefits of racial/ethnic diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Robert Sellers is Michigan’s Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and a Professor of Education, as well as an affiliate of the Research Center for Group Dynamics. His research interests include ethnicity, racial and ethnic identity, personality and health, athletic participation, and personality. 

Dr. Sellers and his students have developed a conceptual and empirical model of African American racial identity. The model has been used by a number of researchers in the field to understand the heterogeneity in the significance and meaning that African Americans place on race in defining themselves. Dr. Sellers is also known for investigating the processes by which African American parents transmit messages about race to their children, and the ways in which African Americans suffer from and often cope with experiences of racial discrimination. Dr. Sellers has also studied the life experiences of student-athletes, and is one of the founders of the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context. He was also a founder of the Black Graduate Conference in Psychology.

Dr. Sellers is a past President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (Division 45 of the American Psychological Association). He is a fellow of Division 8 (Society for Personality and Social Psychology) and Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race) of the American Psychological Association as well as a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. Dr. Sellers received the APS Mentor award in 2023, and was inducted this year into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). 

James S. Jackson, for whom the award is named, was the pioneering social psychologist known for his research on race, ethnicity, racism, health, and aging among African Americans. Jackson was an affiliate of the Research Center for Group Dynamics and was a director of the Institute for Social Research.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award from APS named after James S. Jackson,” said Dr. Sellers. “James was my mentor, my role model, and my friend. He has been so instrumental to my career and life.”

Vickie M. Mays of the University of California, Los Angeles, who was formerly a postdoctoral affiliate of the Program for Research on Black Americans at RCGD, was also honored with this year’s James S. Jackson Achievement Award.

​​Recognizing the Awardees

“The Association for Psychological Science is pleased to recognize the scientific achievements of globally recognized scientists,” said APS Chief Executive Officer Robert Gropp. After reviewing outstanding nomination materials, “the APS awards committees have identified deserving recipients for the 2024 APS Lifetime Achievement Awards. These individuals have shaped and influenced research and mentoring.”

Additional recipients of the APS’s Lifetime Achievement Awards were winners of the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award: Steven C. Hayes, University of Nevada, Reno; Anthony Jorm, University of Melbourne, and Gordon Legge, University of Minnesota. The 2024 APS Mentor Awards went to James Gross, Stanford University; Claus Lamm, University of Vienna; Brenda Major, University of California, Santa Barbara; Catherine (Cammie) McBride, Purdue University, and Julio J. Ramirez, Davidson College.

The awardees will be celebrated during the 2024 APS Annual Convention in San Francisco, California. The recipients of the 2024 Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions will also be honored at that time.

About the Association for Psychological Science 

As the premier international organization dedicated to advancing scientific psychology across disciplinary and geographic borders, APS is the scientific home of thousands of leading psychological science researchers, practitioners, teachers, and students from around the world. Learn more about APS, including its 2022–2027 Strategic Plan, at psychologicalscience.org/about.  

About the Research Center for Group Dynamics

Since its establishment in 1948, the Research Center for Group Dynamics’ mission has been to advance the understanding of human behavior in social contexts. Learn more about RCGD and its Group Dynamics seminars from http://rcgd.isr.umich.edu/. With Catherine Thomas, Shinobu Kitayama is co-organizer of this fall’s seminar series, open to the public, on “Psychological Diversity across the Globe.”