Psychology professor Michael Gazzaniga was recently named a 2015 William James Fellow by the Association for Psychological Science for his contributions to cognitive neuroscience.

Gazzaniga is a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the director of UCSB’s SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind. The Association of Psychological Science names William James Fellows among its members for profound intellectual contributions to psychology, and the award is considered the highest honor granted by APS. The William James Fellowship, which is named after the 19th century founder of modern psychology, William James, dates back to 1989 and has been awarded to over 150 psychological scientists. However, Michael Gazzaniga is only the second UCSB scholar to receive the honor since David Premack, a former faculty member of UCSB, who was awarded in 2004.

Professor Gazzaniga is receiving the award for his research regarding the thought and consciousness capacity of the cerebral hemispheres of the human brain through his analysis of the split brain. His research analysis has contributed to a greater understanding of how the brain functions.

In a press release, Executive Director of the Association of Psychological Science Alan Kraut said Gazzaniga “has done nothing less than unlock the secrets of the mind.”

“He has taken us along with him on this journey, beyond the psychological and brain sciences, and shown us all a glimpse of what it means to be human,” Kraut said in a press release.

Gazzaniga said he takes pride in being named a William James fellow and said he is excited for the upcoming APS Convention in New York City, where he will present a lecture and be formally recognized as a fellow.

“It’s a great honor to have your fellow psychologists think you’re worthy,” Gazzaniga said. “It’s always gratifying to be awarded something.”

According to Diane Mackie, chair of the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Gazzaniga’s work has taken the field of psychology and related areas of study to new heights, with his involvement in the Sage Center for the Study of the Mind and fostering of interdisciplinary relations helping to do this.

“His research changed the direction of both psychology and neuroscience, and his presence here at UCSB has energized the already considerable interdisciplinary relationships our department enjoys with other disciplines across campus,” Mackie said in an email. “Under his leadership, the Sage Center for the Study of the Mind has become an invaluable catalyst for intellectual vitality on campus.


A version of this story appeared on page 3 of Wednesday, April 2, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.