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Publication Lists Sternberg among Eminent Psychologists

November 7, 2013
Bob Sternberg

A new study ranks University of Wyoming President and Professor of Psychology Bob Sternberg among the world’s eminent psychologists since World War II.

Sternberg ranks 61st on the list of 200 eminent psychologists compiled by researchers led by University of Illinois Professor Ed Diener and co-written by Shigehiro Oishi, a professor at the University of Virginia, and Estelle Park, a researcher at the University of Illinois. Diener says several sources, such as the American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientist Award winners, members of academies and lifetime achievement award recipients, were used to select the psychologists, who were then ranked based on a combination of awards, citations and textbook coverage.

The paper, “Eminent Psychologists of the Modern Era,” also borrowed methods used to produce a 2002 publication of eminent psychologists of the 20th century. Diener says that while that list cites classic figures in psychology, the current list focuses on modern psychologists.

“Our list is not of important contributions per se, but rather current impact and widespread recognition of the scientists and their works,” Diener says.

Sternberg stood out in the citation count category, being cited more than 66,000 times in published articles.

“This is a lot of citations. Think of it this way. Most research psychologists are not cited 5,000 times,” Diener say. He says Sternberg also scored well by being mentioned on 25 pages by textbook authors who want to cover the most important findings from the entire field. Many researchers, Diener says, are not mentioned, or are mentioned only once.

The list will be useful in a number of ways, Diener says. Students of psychology and their professors can more readily identify the psychologists who have made the most impact on the profession, as well as the type of contributions that receive recognition.

“In addition, students can learn what is required if they want to achieve eminence,” the paper notes. “The listing of the most eminent psychologists also gives students a way to study many of the most important discoveries in psychology.”

Sternberg previously was ranked 60th by the APA Monitor, a magazine of the American Psychological Association, in its listing of the top 100 psychologists of the 20th century. His scholarly research on intelligence, creativity, wisdom, cognitive styles, love and hate, and leadership is recognized internationally. He is the author of more than 1,500 journal articles, book chapters and books, and has received more than $20 million in government and other grants and contracts for his research, conducted across five different continents. 

He was the 2003 president of the American Psychological Association and is past-president of the International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology. He currently serves as the president of the Federation of Associations of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, and treasurer of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education, and is an honorary professor at Germany’s Heidelberg University.

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