January 12, 2011 — Barbara A. Spellman, professor of psychology and professor of law at the University of Virginia, has been named a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.
Spellman was selected for "distinguished contributions to the field of cognitive psychology" for her innovative research on reasoning and memory, and "for academic service to psychological journals and societies."
Spellman joined the psychology department in U.Va.'s College of Arts & Sciences in 1997 and became a half-time professor in the School of Law in 2008. She has taught cognitive psychology and research methods and statistics and currently teaches evidence and various courses on the intersection of psychology and law.
Her research focuses on memory, reasoning and social psychology, including how people reason about the causes of events and how they use analogies. She also looks at ways such research can inform intelligence analysis and the legal system. She has just finished serving on the National Academies' Committee on Behavioral and Social Science Research to Improve Intelligence Analysis for National Security.
Spellman received her law degree from New York University in 1982. She practiced law in New York City before attending the University of California, Los Angeles and earning her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology in 1993.
Spellman has published in both psychology journals and law reviews, and last year she edited a special issue of Psychonomic Bulletin & Review on emerging trends in psychology and law research. She currently is editor-in-chief of Perspectives on Psychological Science.
This year, 503 researchers nationwide have been named AAAS fellows for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Spellman and her colleagues will be presented with a certificate and a rosette pin Feb. 19 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
The tradition of the AAAS Fellows began in 1874 and is regarded as a prestigious distinction among scientists. AAAS is one of the world's largest general scientific societies.