Bernard Weiner, social psychologist and distinguished research professor, is this year’s recipient of the Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the science of psychology, awarded by the American Psychological Foundation. This award is one of the nation’s highest honors, recognizing “a distinguished career and enduring contribution to advancing psychological science.”
Weiner joined UCLA’s psychology department in 1965, and over the course of his career, he has made significant contributions to our understanding of human motivation. His research asks big questions, such as: What thoughts and feelings motivate or de-motivate individuals after failure? What determines who we help and who we neglect? How do our perceptions of causality (e.g., “Why did I fail?” or “Why is she in need?”) affect motivation and subsequent behavior?
Weiner was honored for his development of attribution theory and its application to educational achievement, stigma, interpersonal aggression and pro-social helping behavior, according to a member of the award selection committee. He was also praised for his support of diversity through his mentorship of former students who went on to achieve excellence.
Weiner is the author of several books and has published hundreds of book chapters and articles. For the insights that his research has brought to education, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Education. Among his notable honors are the Edward L. Thorndike Career Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, the Palmer O. Johnson Publication Award from the American Educational Research Association, the Donald T. Campbell Distinguished Research Award in Social Psychology from the American Psychological Association and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.