When social psychologist Shelley E. Taylor, PhD, found out that she’d be receiving the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award in San Diego, she thought about the first APA convention she attended as a college senior, shepherded by Yale University graduate students.

“I was in awe of all these people whose work I had read and who I’d heard about, and I wanted so badly to be able to make a contribution,” said Taylor, now a distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

She certainly has. APA recognized Taylor as one of the most influential psychologists of all time for her work, which includes founding the modern social cognition, health psychology and social neuroscience fields.

In bestowing the award, APA President Carol D. Goodheart, EdD, said she first met Taylor during a master lecture at convention in the 1980s, and that while editing the “Handbook of Girls’ and Women’s Psychological Health” (Oxford University Press, 2006), Goodheart realized that Taylor was the most frequently cited researcher across the book’s 50 chapters.

“Equally at home in the lab and in the field, in brilliant research and field defining theory, you are an inspiring role model who enjoys a much-admired and well-deserved reputation as a wise person,” Goodheart told Taylor, who received the award during the convention’s opening session.

Taylor said the award means a great deal to her by recognizing the efforts she and her lab colleagues undertake to bring together experts in biology, genetics, social psychology, physiology and clinical practice for a unified inquiry into such questions as how people manage intensely stressful events of their lives.

“It’s always done in a team. … I feel I’m sitting here taking credit for the numerous talented students and collaborators I’ve been privileged to work with over many, many years,” she said.

—C. Munsey