Claremont, Calif. (August 17, 2016)—Pitzer College Professor of Psychology David S. Moore has won the American Psychological Association’s 2016 William James Book Award for his most recent work, The Developing Genome: An Introduction to Behavioral Epigenetics. Moore shares the honor with New York University Professor of Neural Science and Psychology Joseph LeDoux and his book Anxious.
The William James Award honors recent books that best serve to further the goals of the Society of General Psychology by providing an outstanding example of an effort to bring together diverse subfields of psychology and related disciplines. The William James Book Award is given by the American Psychological Association (APA) Division One and the winners are selected by a committee of peers.
Published by Oxford University Press in 2015, The Developing Genome introduces readers to behavioral epigenetics, which explores how experiences influence genetic activity. The book outlines how this relatively new discipline has rendered the nature vs. nurture debate obsolete by showing that individual traits arise from a combination of genetic and non-genetic factors. Behavioral epigenetics is changing the way scientists think about nature, nurture and human development, Moore says.
As the award committee members noted, “This book helps us to understand what may be a total shift in our thinking of how evolution works. Its influence, if substantiated, will be felt far beyond the narrower limits of psychology. It is a work done with great care and with an understanding of theory that is yet to be empirically supported, but which, nonetheless, deserves the careful refinement he gives it.”
APA Division One: Society for General Psychology is concerned with creating coherence among psychology’s diverse specialties by encouraging members to incorporate multiple perspectives from psychology’s subdisciplines into their research, theory and practice. Membership includes academic scientists, professional practitioners and psychologists whose main concern is the public interest.
In connection with this award, Moore will deliver a major address for Division One at the annual 2017 American Psychological Association meeting. His award presentation will be published in the society’s newsletter The General Psychologist.
In November 2015, Moore also won the American Psychological Association’s 2016 Eleanor Maccoby Book Award in Developmental Psychology for The Developing Genome. Moore was appointed by the National Science Foundation as the new director for its Developmental and Learning Sciences Program this April. His one- to three-year appointment at NSF began in July.
David S. Moore is a developmental cognitive neuroscientist with expertise in infant cognition. He is the founder and director of the Claremont Infant Study Center at Pitzer College, which examines how infants perceive and learn from the world around them. Moore explored how human traits evolved from interactions between genes and the environment at every stage of development in his first book, The Dependent Gene: The Fallacy of “Nature vs. Nurture,” which was nominated for the Cognitive Development Society’s Best Authored Volume award.