Department of Psychology
Benjamin Wright came to the University of Chicago as a physicist, but his interest in social science measurement prompted him to make a drastic switch, leading to a distinguished teaching and research career in psychology, psychometrics and education. The practical and objective social measurement tools and theories that he developed are now widely applied around the world.
Benjamin Drake Wright, PhD’57, professor emeritus in education and psychology at UChicago, died Oct. 25 at Warren Barr Pavilion, a Chicago nursing home. He was 89.
Daniel Casasanto, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, has been awarded the American Psychological Foundation’s Robert L. Fantz Memorial Award for Young Psychologists. According to the foundation's website, "This award encourages and supports careers of promising young investigators in psychology or related disciplines.
Being able to infer what other people might be thinking is an essential skill for successfully navigating social interactions, allowing us to explain and predict others’ behavior and helping guide our interactions with social partners. The basic beliefs people have about how others’ minds work is called “theory of mind,” and developing theory of mind skills is an important component of children’s social cognitive development.
Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard we study for a test or prepare for an interview, we find ourselves completely failing when the pressure leans on us. We blank on test answers that we were sure we knew, or we get tongue-tied when our interviewer asks what our greatest weakness is. But why? Why exactly is it that these high-stakes situations cause us to fail? Past research within my lab has provided an initial explanation for the phenomenon: cognitive resources that could be used for one task are co-opted by thoughts pertaining to personal performance.