2020 Donald O. Hebb Distinguished Contribution Award Winner: Dr. Alan Kingstone

Alan Kingstone's research career is distinguished, sustained, and driven by the aim to unravel the complex interaction between cognition, human performance and brain processes. This has changed the fields through three key insights, to which he has contributed critical data and groundbreaking theory: (1) humans possess a preferential bias to attend and respond to biologically relevant stimuli (e.g., the eyes of others); (2) mental representations change dynamically over time and in interaction with situational contexts; (3) fundamental research assumptions require revision if science is to predict and explain naturally occurring behaviour.

Alan’s work has consistently challenged the status quo, led to the invention of new ways to study the human experience, and developed guiding hypotheses and theories. Alan's research output demonstrates that he is strongly committed to communicating and sharing his work with others. Over the past 10 years alone Alan has published more than 150 research articles in the top journals in the field: Scientific Reports, PNAS, Journal of Neuroscience, Psychological Science, Experimental Brain Research, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Behavior Research Methods, Cortex, Psychonomic, Bulletin & Review, Cognition, Vision Research, JEP:HPP, and JEP:General, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Royal Society Open Science.

To complement his research efforts and contributions, Alan is also dedicated to the training of young scientists, and committed to serving the community. Alan's Brain, Attention, and Reality Lab (BarLab) trains at least 20 students each year: about half are undergraduates, and the other half is composed of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting/international students and professors. Reflecting the collaborative nature of his lab, Alan co-authors over 97% of his research articles with his students. And of the more than 60 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have completed their training with Alan, all the PhD students have received postdoctoral fellowships at top institutions (e.g., Harvard, Caltech, Cambridge) and all the postdoctoral fellows have secured research-based faculty positions at top universities (e.g. Waterloo, Alberta, Barcelona, Hawaii). 

Alan’s research and training contributions are complemented by a commitment to the promotion of Cognitive Science; he has exerted influence through leadership as a theorist and spokesperson for the discipline. For example, he is a past president of the CSBBCS, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. At UBC Alan has served as Head of the Department of Psychology and VP Research advisor for the social sciences and humanities. At national and international levels Alan has sat on the Editorial Board for a number of top journals (e.g., Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, JEP:HPP). Alan has also served as an Associate Editor for multiple journals, including JEP:HPP and the British Journal of Psychology; and on two occasions he served as co-Editor for special issues of the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology. In addition, Alan is the founder and co-editor of the high-impact review journal Annual Review of Cognitive Neuroscience (NY Academy of Sciences). Alan has also produced two land-mark co-edited books on functional brain imaging and cognition (MIT Press) which have been instrumental in facilitating the research of graduate students and established researchers; and in 2016 he completed a comparable co-edited book on human attention (MIT Press). In addition, Alan has also co-authored three textbooks on Cognition (Oxford Press) for undergraduate students. 

In summary, given Alan's leadership in the field, his commitment to training scientists in the field, and his vast and substantive original scientific contributions, he is a most deserving recipient of the Donald O. Hebb Distinguished Contribution Award.