CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY KENYON
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 3, 2002
UI psychology professor wins third award for distinguished early-career
psychology department in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and
Sciences has added yet another award for distinguished research by a young
faculty member to its list of accolades. Steven J. Luck is the recipient of
the first ever Frank J. McGuigan Young Research Investigator Prize from the
American Psychological Foundation.
It is Luck's third award for early-career distinction and raises the department's
early-career award total to more than a dozen in the last seven years. This
latest award carries a $25,000 prize to support Luck's ongoing research in
"Steve Luck epitomizes our remarkable group of outstanding young faculty,"
said Gregg Oden, psychology department chairman. "There is no psychology
department in the country that has a stronger set of scholars at this stage
of their careers. As a result, this is a very exciting time for our department."
Luck's research examines how the human brain overcomes information overload
by using attention to focus mental resources on a subset of the incoming sensory
information. Previous research on attention assumed that the brain uses the
same mechanism to manage all forms of attention. Luck has broken new ground
by demonstrating that brain function changes based on whether attention is
being used for decision-making, perception, memory, or action. In collaboration
with researchers at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Luck is now
extending this research to study impairments of attention in patients suffering
Luck joined the UI faculty in 1994 and was promoted to full professor in
July. His research has been funded by grants from the National Institutes
of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Human Frontier Science Program,
and the McDonnell-Pew Program in Cognitive Neuroscience. In 1999, he won the
American Psychological Association Award for Early Career Contribution to
Psychology in the Area of Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience. In 2001 he
won the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences, an award
that recognizes significant achievement by a young investigator.
The current prize is named for Frank Joseph McGuigan, a distinguished research
psychologist who died in 1998. He served as director of the Institute for
Stress Management at United States International University and wrote extensively
about stress and tension control and covert language behavior. He was nominated
twice for the Nobel Prize in physiology. The award was established in his
honor to "support research to explicate the concept of the human mind."
The American Psychological Foundation is a non-profit fund raising organization
affiliated with the American Psychological Association. It was established
in 1953 to promote psychology and to help extend its benefits to the public.