Sandra R. Waxman

Sandra R. Waxman

Fellow: Awarded 2007
Field of Study: Psychology

Competition: US & Canada

Northwestern University

Sandra Waxman is a Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University, a position she has held since 1992. Previously she was an Assistant (1986-89) and Associate (1989-92) Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. At Northwestern, she was a cofounder in 2000 of its Program on Culture, Language, and Cognition.She completed her undergraduate studies and doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania (B.S., 1976; Ph.D., 1985) and her master’s degree studies at Johns Hopkins University (1981).

Her principal area of interest is cognitive psychology, specifically the development of language and concepts in infants and children, and she has published numerous articles on her researches. Among them are (with D. B. Markow), “Words as invitations to form categories: Evidence from 12- to 13-month-old infants,” Cognitive Psychology, 29, No. 3 (1995); (with J. Lidz), “Early word learning,” in Handbook of Child Psychology, vol. 2, ed. D. Kuhn and R. Siegler, 6th ed. (Wiley, 2006); “Folkbiological reasoning from a cross-cultural developmental perspective: Early essentialist notions are shaped by cultural beliefs,” Developmental Psychology, 43, No. 2 (2007); (with F. K. Anggoro and D. L. Medin), “Naming Practices and the Acquisition of Key Biological Concepts: Evience from English and Indonesian,” Psychological Science, 19, No. 4 (2008); and (with H. M. Norbury and H. Song), “Tight and loose are not created equal: An asymmetry underlying the representation of fit in English and Korean speakers,” Cognition, 109 (2008). In addition to her research, teaching, and writing, she is also an associate editor of Cognitive Psychology.

Ms. Waxman has been a Research Fellow of the Spencer Foundation and the National Academy of Education; a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute for Cognitive Science in Lyon, France; and a CNRS Visiting Professor at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris.

In 2007, Ms. Waxman garnered the American Psychological Society’s James McKeen Cattell Award, and the following year the University of Illinois honored her with its Ann L. Brown Award for Excellence in Developmental Research. She was elected a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in 1990, and in 2005 she was elected a Fellow of the American Psychological Society.

During her Guggenheim Fellowship term, Sandra Waxman continued her research on how notions of the natural world unfold across development, across cultures, and across languages.


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