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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board On Behavioral Cognitive and Sensory Sciences
Board On Behavioral Cognitive and Sensory Sciences
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures

Committee Member Biographies


HPL2 Marrett
Cora Bagley Marrett (Chair) is an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she served on the faculty for over 30 years, including 5 years in the concurrent position of Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Wisconsin System. Her academic career includes appointments at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she was Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Western Michigan University. On leave from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, she held administrative positions at the National Science Foundation, including the first Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources, Acting Deputy Director for the foundation in 2009, permanent Deputy Director in 2011, and two periods as Acting Director. Other national service includes appointment by President Carter to the Presidential Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island. She received an Excellence in Teaching award and Distinguished Alumna award from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Sigma Xi, as well as a Residential Fellow (inaugural class) and National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). She holds a B.A. from Virginia Union University and a M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology.
 HPL2 Bauer

Patricia J. Bauer is the Asa Griggs Candler professor of psychology at Emory University. Her research focuses on the development of memory, particularly the determinants of remembering and forgetting, links between cognitive and neural developments and age-related changes in memory, and the elaboration of the semantic knowledge base through learning and productive processes. Previously, she was a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University and was on the faculty of the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Miami University. 

HPL2 Beall
Cynthia Beall (NAS) is Distinguished University Professor and the Sarah Idell Pyle professor of anthropology at Case Western Reserve University. She is a physical anthropologist whose research focuses on human adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia, particularly the different patterns of adaptation exhibited by Andean, Tibetan, and East African highlanders. Her current research deals with the genetics and physiology of adaptive traits and evidence for natural selection. She is a member of the NAS, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; she also was a Guggenheim Fellow and is a current member of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In addition to active participation in the nomination processes for NAS members and NAS governance, she has chaired and been a member of the Board on International Scientific Organizations, was a delegate to the 28th ICSU General Assembly, and was chair, vice chair, and a member of the U.S. National Committee of the International Union of Biological Sciences, was a member of DBASSE Advisory Board and is a current member of the Advisory Board for the NAS Koshland public engagement program. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Pennsylvania State University.
HPL2 Beier
Margaret E. Beier is an associate professor of psychology at Rice University. Her research interests focus on learning and intellectual development throughout the life span; she investigates the individual determinants of learning, particularly as related to age and to cognitive (intellectual abilities and working memory capacity) and noncognitive (personality, interests, motivation, and self-regulation) predictors of knowledge and skill acquisition. Her work examines the effectiveness of various educational interventions and the interaction of individual factors and these interventions on learning and noncognitive outcomes such as self-efficacy, self-concept, and interests. She has published book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed psychology journals. Her awards for teaching and research include the Rice Center for Teaching Excellence Fellowship and the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching from Rice University. She is a member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and a Division 14 fellow of the American Psychological Association (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists). She is on the editorial board of Human Performance, the Journal of Business and Psychology and Work, Aging, and Retirement. Her M.S. and Ph.D. in psychology are from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
 HPL2 Daniel

David B. Daniel is a professor of psychology at James Madison University. His work forges reciprocal links between cognitive-developmental psychology and teaching practices/pedagogy. An APS fellow, he has received the Transforming Education through Neuroscience Award and was recognized as one of the top 1% of educational researchers influencing public debate in the US. He was the founding managing editor of the journal Mind, Brain and Education, and has received many teaching awards throughout his career. His scholarship and related activities focus on translating findings from the Science of Learning, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and other relevant literatures to useable knowledge, particularly for educational practice, policy, and student learning. He received a M.A. and Ph.D. in life span developmental psychology from West Virginia University.


 HPL2 Goldstone

Robert L. Goldstone is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Cognitive Science program at Indiana University, where he has been a faculty member since 1991. He directed the Cognitive Science program during 2006-2011. His research interests include concept learning and representation, perceptual learning, educational applications of cognitive science, decision making, collective behavior, and computational modeling of human cognition. His interests in education focus on learning and transfer in mathematics and science, computational models of learning, and the design of innovative learning technologies. He was awarded two APA Young Investigator awards, the 1996 Chase Memorial Award for Outstanding Young Researcher in Cognitive Science, a 1997 James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Award, an APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology, and a 2004 Troland research award from NAS. He has been executive editor of Cognitive Science, and associate editor of Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, and associate editor of Cognitive Psychology and Topics in Cognitive Science. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Cognitive Science Society. He received a B.A. from Oberlin College in cognitive science, a M.A. in psychology from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan.


HPL2 Graesser
Arthur C. Graesser is a Distinguished University Professor of Interdisciplinary Research in the Department of Psychology and the Institute of Intelligent Systems at the University of Memphis and an honorary research fellow in the Department of Education at Oxford University. His primary research interests are in cognitive science, discourse processing, computational linguistics, and the learning sciences. He has developed automated tutoring systems with conversational agents and automated text analysis systems. He was editor of the journal Discourse Processes and Journal of Educational Psychology and president of the Society for Empirical Studies of Literature, Art, and Media; the Society for Text and Discourse; the International Society for Artificial Intelligence in Education; and the Federation of Associations in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Foundation. He has chaired or been a member of expert panels for the Programme for International Student Assessment and the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, and he consults for the Educational Testing Service. He received lifetime research achievement awards from APA, the Society for Text and Discourse, the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, as well as the first University of Memphis Presidential Award for Lifetime Achievement in Research.
 Ruth Kanfer

Ruth Kanfer is professor of psychology at the School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research, which focuses on the influence of motivation, personality, and emotion in workplace behavior, job performance, and worker well-being, has examined the impact of these people factors and situational constraints as they affect skill training, job search, teamwork, job performance, and the development of workplace competencies. Recent projects have focused on adult development and workforce gaining, job search–employment relations, motivation in and of teams, and person determinants of cross-cultural effectiveness. She is director of the Work Science Center and codirector of the Kanfer-Ackerman laboratory, which conducts longitudinal and large-scale laboratory and field collaborative projects on topics such as workforce aging, work adjustment, cognitive fatigue, skill acquisition, adult development and career trajectories, and self-regulated learning. She has served on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Learning and Education; Applied Psychology: An International Review; Human Performance; Journal of Applied Psychology; and the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. She received the 2007 Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award and the 2006 William R. Owens Scholarly Achievement Award from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Arizona State University. 

Jeffrey D. Karpicke

Jeffrey D. Karpicke is the James V. Bradley professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University. His research sits at the interface between cognitive science and education, with a specific emphasis on the importance of retrieval processes for learning. A primary goal of his research is to identify effective cognitive strategies that promote long-term learning, comprehension, and knowledge application. His research program examines learning strategies in children, metacognition and self-regulated learning, and educational technology. He received the Early Investigator Award from the Society of Experimental Psychologists in 2017, the Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science in 2015, the Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the Psychonomic Society in 2013, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2012, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2012. He earned his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis.  


Barbara M. Means


Barbara M. Means is executive director of Learning Sciences Research at Digital Promise. Previously the founder and director of the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International, she is an educational psychologist whose research focuses on ways technology can support students' learning of advanced skills and the revitalization of classrooms and schools. Her 2014 book, Learning Online: What Research Tells Us About Whether, When, and How (2014), describes the state of the art in online learning from kindergarten through higher education and adult learning and provides a critical appraisal of the research base for practices in each of these domains. Her recent work includes evaluating the implementation and impacts of newly developed adaptive learning courseware developed with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously she helped the Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education, develop a framework for describing new research approaches and forms of evidence made possible when students learn online. She has been an author or editor for eight books on topics in education, learning technology, and education reform. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.


Douglas L. Medin


Douglas L. Medin (NAS) is the Louis W. Menk professor of psychology and holds a joint appointment in Psychology and Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Dr. Medin taught at Rockefeller University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Michigan. From his earlier research on concepts and categorization, recent research has extended to cross-cultural studies of biological categorization and reasoning, cultural and cognitive dimensions of moral reasoning and decision making, and culturally based and community-based science education. The latter work involves a partnership of the American Indian Center of Chicago, the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin, and Northwestern University. He has conducted research on cognition and learning among both indigenous and majority culture populations in Guatemala, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. He received an APA Presidential Citation, the APA distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, and the APS William James lifetime achievement award and is a member of NAS, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Education. He received a James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Fellowship Award and has served as editor for The Psychology of Learning and Motivation and Cognitive Psychology. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of South Dakota.


Linda Nathan


Linda Nathan is the executive director of the Center for Artistry and Scholarship (CAS), which fosters and mobilizes creative, arts-immersed schools, where students are making and doing, teachers are asking how and why, and schools are engaged in their community. In this role, she oversees key programs including the Perrone-Sizer Institute for Creative Leadership (PSI) in partnership with the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She also works closely with the leadership of Conservatory Lab Charter School to support its development as a national model of project-based learning and arts-immersed education. Dr. Nathan was the founding Headmaster of Boston Arts Academy, Boston’s first public high school for the visual and performing arts. As an experienced leader in education, Dr. Nathan actively mentors teachers and principals, and consults nationally and internationally on issues of educational reform, leadership and teaching with a commitment to equity, and the critical role of arts and creativity in schools. Dr. Nathan also facilitates workshops and conversations about issues of race, equity, and culturally relevant pedagogy for school leaders, teachers, parents, and students across the nation. She is the author of two books: Hardest Questions Aren't on the Test (2009, Beacon Press) and When Grit Isn't Enough (2017, Beacon Press). Dr. Nathan is also an adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she has taught for 17 years. She earned master’s degrees in education administration from Antioch University and in performing arts from Emerson College and received an Ed.D. from Harvard University.


Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar


Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar is the Jean and Charles Walgreen Jr. chair of reading and literacy, Arthur F. Thurnau professor, and a teacher educator at the University of Michigan. Her primary research interest is in supporting students’ sensemaking and knowledge building especially in the context of project-based learning. A particular interest is children who struggle with challenging academic work. With her research group and in collaboration with computer scientist Elliot Soloway, she designed and studied the use of a cyber-learning environment in which students collaborate as they read texts, view video, use simulations, write, and draw, while engaging in scientific inquiry. She participated in studies investigating the value of educative supports for science teaching in the upper elementary grades and in design-based research to investigate the process and outcomes of teaching English learners the use of functional grammar analysis as an aid to interpreting and learning from narrative and informational text. She has served on expert panels and committees to prepare evidence-based reports on teacher preparation and learning, including the OERI/RAND Reading Study Group and the International Reading Association’s Literacy Research Panel. She served on the National Advisory Board to Children's Television Workshop, was co-editor of Cognition and Instruction, and is a member of the National Academy of Education. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Daniel L. Schwartz


Daniel L. Schwartz is the Nomellini & Olivier professor of educational technology and director of the AAA Laboratory at Stanford University, where he has taught since 2000. He is also the I. James Quillen Dean, of the Graduate School of Education, Stanford University. Previously he was an associate and assistant professor at Vanderbilt University. He studies student understanding and representation and the ways that technology can facilitate learning. His research—at the intersection of cognitive science, computer science, and education,—examines learning and instruction in laboratory, classroom, and informal settings. Informed by his 8 years as a middle-school teacher in Los Angeles and Alaska, a theme throughout his research is how people's facility for spatial thinking can inform and influence processes of learning, instruction, assessment, and problem solving. In particular, new media enables exploitation of spatial representations and interactivity in fundamentally new ways that complement the verbal approaches dominant in traditional educational research and practice. He has published on learning, assessment, technology, and the relation between perceptual-motor systems, physical environments, and higher order cognition. His recognitions include Stanford Graduate School Advisor of the Year, Teacher of the Year, AERA Article of the Year, Research Article of the Year (Association for Educational Computing and Technology), and Outstanding Young Teacher in Los Angeles Unified School District (Alumni of the School of Education, University of Southern California). His Ph.D. in human cognition and learning is from Columbia University.


Zewelanji N. Serpell


Zewelanji N. Serpell is an associate professor and director of graduate studies in the psychology department at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research focuses on developing and evaluating school-based programs for underperforming students. Her work harnesses advances in cognitive science to develop and test interventions that target students’ executive functioning. For example, she has a project exploring whether cognitive activities associated with playing chess enhance executive functions and whether improvements transfer to academic outcomes for African American elementary school students. She also studies ways to optimize learning experiences using computer-based programs with African American students from middle school to college. She served as a AAAS Science and Technology Congressional Fellow sponsored by the American Educational Research Association. She is also a fellow of the APA Minority Fellowship Program and was a postdoctoral research fellow of the National Science Foundation’s Quality Education from Minorities Network and of the National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (University of Virginia, Curry School of Education). Previously she held academic positions at Virginia State University and James Madison University (JMU). At JMU she was associate director of the Attention and Learning Disabilities Center and the Alvin and Nancy Baird professor in psychology. In addition to her published research, she co-edited two books on school mental health. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Howard University.


Mary Helen Immordino-Yang


Mary Helen Immordino-Yang is professor of education, psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California, at the Rossier School of Education and the Brain & Creativity Institute. She studies the psychological and neurobiological bases of social emotion, self-awareness and reflective thought across cultures, their connections to social, emotional and academic development, and implications of these connections for pedagogy and teacher professional development. Her interdisciplinary approach combines human development psychology with social neuroscience and field studies in schools. She is associate editor for Mind, Brain, Education, and AERA Open, serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General and Culture and Brain, and is currently serving as president of the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society ( She serves on advisory boards for multiple schools, school districts, and scientific research institutes and commissions in the U.S. and internationally, including as a distinguished scientist on the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development (SEAD). She has received the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Cozarrelli Prize and early career awards from the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Federation of Associations of Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS), and the Association for Psychological Science (APS), and commendations from the Army and Los Angeles County. Her Ed.M. in cognitive development and Ed.D. in human development and psychology are from Harvard University.




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