New York University’s David Amodio, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science, has been awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The awards, announced by the White House, identify outstanding scientists and engineers who will broadly advance science and the missions important to federal agencies.
The PECASE Awards are the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their careers. They are conferred annually at the White House following recommendations from participating federal agencies. Amodio, whose research examines the cognitive and neural mechanisms through which people regulate their social behavior, was nominated by the National Science Foundation.
Amodio, under a five-year, $834,000 NSF CAREER award, is currently examining how unconscious, or “implicit,” racial associations operate in the brain, in an effort to understand how they influence behavior and how they may be reduced. The award is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). CAREER awards are the most prestigious NSF awards for junior faculty and are given to those who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research, education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.
Amodio’s research has linked different emotional and conceptual forms of implicit racial bias to separate systems of learning and memory in the brain. By connecting these forms of racial associations to well-characterized neural processes, he can apply existing knowledge from neuroscience to shed light on how prejudices are learned and unlearned, and how they may be reduced. The integration of ideas and methods from social psychology and cognitive neuroscience, exemplified in Amodio’s project, characterizes the emerging field of social neuroscience that Amodio has helped pioneer.