Prof. Emeritus Juan Pascual-Leone earns recognition

In recognition of his contributions to the field of psychology, York University Professor Emeritus Juan Pascual-Leone has been appointed Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

Juan Pascuale-Leone

APS is the “leading international organization dedicated to advancing scientific psychology across disciplinary and geographic borders”, and is considered by many – including Pascual-Leone – to be the most distinguished international association of research psychologists.

Joel Goldberg, chair and associate professor in York University’s Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, offered congratulations to Pascual-Leone, and noted the appointment recognizes “years of sustained contributions to the science of psychology in the field of cognitive development, beginning with a seminal paper in 1970 which is ranked among the most cited in our discipline, and continuing now with on-going NSERC funded research in his lab.”

Pascuale-Leone spent 50 years with York University researching and teaching in the field of developmental neuropsychology. He is the founder of the neo-Piagetian approach to cognitive development, and his research in the 1960s led to a paper in 1970 that has become one of the most referenced papers in psychology.

He is a senior scholar at York University, and continues to run an active lab on campus where he is studying mental attentional capacity.

“In a 50-year career at York, he has developed a general theory of thinking processes and their development from infancy to old age,” said Janice M. Johnson, York Professor Emerita and Pascual-Leone’s spouse and collaborator. “We are grateful to students and collaborators who have contributed to research on the theory and to Canadian granting councils (SSHRC and NSERC) for past and continuing support. We are particularly gratified to receive this recognition by peers in APS, as we work on completion of a book summarizing his life’s work.”

Pascual-Leone has received many important academic honours over the course of his career, including the 2006 Doctor Honoris Causa in Psychology, University of Cyprus; 1993-94 International Honorary Member, Venezuelan Society of School Psychology; 1979 Fellow Scholar of the Van Leer Jerusalem Foundation; 1975 Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association.

This particular recognition by APS, he said, is an important one because it may signal general appreciation by researchers in psychology of his constructive-rationalist approach to modeling human behavior and cognition.

“Because much of traditional psychology has been empiricist, recognition of my work by APS could mark a welcome change in epistemological orientation of researchers,” said Pascuale-Leone. “Perhaps the accumulation of empirical evidence is responsible for that.”

For more on Pascuale-Leon’s current research, visit the Developmental Processes Laboratory website.