Shinobu Kitayama and Robert Sellers

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

September 11, 2023

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 

The 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.”

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

Robert 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.”

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