• Visit
  • Apply
  • Give

School of Education

Association for Psychological Science President Nancy Eisenberg (center) presents Roberta Golinkoff (right) and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek (left) with the prestigious James McKeen Cattell Award at the 2015 APS Convention. Photo courtesy of the Association for Psychological Science.
Roberta Golinkoff, Unidel H. Rodney Sharp Chair in the School of Education, and her long-time collaborator Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, professor of psychology at Temple University, have been awarded the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award. This award, the highest honor conferred by the Association for Psychological Science (APS), recognizes “a lifetime of outstanding contributions to applied psychological research.” Professors Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek have dedicated their careers to groundbreaking research on language, literacy, education, and spatial development changes in the field of developmental psychology in infants and young children. In the late 1980s, Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek pioneered an innovative research method for studying pre-verbal infants named the Intermodal Preferential Looking Paradigm (IPLP). Through the use of side-by-side visual stimuli on a television screen and a single auditory stimulus, researchers were able to determine whether pre-verbal infants could match what they heard with one of the events they saw on the screen. “Before IPLP we really couldn’t understand what it is kids knew about language before they speak. Now, we can use their gaze patterns to see if they can match the language with the one of the events,” said Golinkoff. Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek later focused their research on the importance of play in the development of young children. They demonstrated that preschoolers learn best from play and playful learning. In 2010, Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek organized the Ultimate Block Party in New York City’s Central Park. Over 50,000 families participated in child-friendly activities that illustrated value of playful learning. Subsequent Block Parties were held in Baltimore and Toronto. “For over 30 years, Roberta and I have used our science to help each child reach his or her potential. The more we know, the more we can fashion programs to help every child succeed,” said Hirsh-Pasek. “I cannot put into words what an honor it is to work with a best friend who shares your passion and your values.” Golinkoff joined the University of Delaware in 1974 and holds joint appointments in the School of Education in the College of Education and Human Development and in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science in the College of Arts and Sciences. She currently works as a principal investigator on an Institute of Education Sciences Postdoctoral Training Grant and co-chairs the Frontiers of Innovation Working Group on Playful Learning at Harvard University with Hirsh-Pasek. She also serves as the director of the Child’s Play Learning and Development Lab, which explores the intricate aspects of the language-learning process, cognitive development, and the development of spatial concepts through play. Golinkoff’s achievements have also been recognized by other organizations, including the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the University of Delaware, and the American Psychological Association. In recognition of an “exceptional capacity for productive scholarship,” Golinkoff received the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2011, she received UD’s Francis Alison Award, the University’s highest competitive faculty honor. The American Psychological Association has awarded Golinkoff the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award and the Distinguished Scientific Lecturer Award. While committed to her research, Golinkoff also supports her students’ efforts, encouraging both undergraduates and graduate students in their scholarly pursuits. “Working with Professor Golinkoff is really great,” said Maya Marzouk, Child’s Play Lab coordinator. “Conducting research with kids is challenging, because you don’t want to influence their answers and skew the data. I feel as though I’m learning so much working here.” Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek were presented the Cattell Award on May 21, at the annual APS Convention held in New York. They delivered a joint presentation titled “Living in Pasteur’s Quadrant: Navigating the Uncharted Waters Between Basic and Applied Research.” “It is so nice to have one’s colleagues acknowledge your contributions. There are so many other wonderful people in my field, it is an honor to be recognized in this way,” said Golinkoff. Please see the UDaily story on this recognition here. Article by Elizabeth Adams