UCL News


Adolescent brain expert honoured by the British Psychological Society

10 August 2018

Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, deputy director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, is being awarded the Presidents' Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge by the British Psychological Society.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

The award is given by the Society each year to someone currently engaged in research of outstanding quality.

Professor Blakemore's research looks at the development of social cognition and decision-making during adolescence.

Alongside her research, the Society also recognised Professor Blakemore's deep commitment to public engagement in science, illustrated through regular public lectures and talks to schools. She chairs the Royal Society's Education and Science Policy Committee.

Speaking of her work, Professor Blakemore said: "The field of adolescent brain development is still very young and there are many questions that have yet to be answered. While quite a lot is known about average adolescent brain, much less is known about individual differences in brain development."

"This is a key question for future research: what genetic and environmental factors underlie individual differences in brain and behavioural development, and what are the consequences of this variation in development?"

Professor Blakemore was recently made a fellow of the British Academy, and her debut book, Inventing Ourselves, is currently on the shortlist for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2018. She also won the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award in 2013 and the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize in 2015.

Nicola Gale, President of the British Psychological Society, said: "One of our Society's key objectives is to recognise excellence in psychology. This award has honoured a psychologist whose career is a reminder of how advanced scientific research can have an immense impact on the growth and development of the discipline, as well as advancing public engagement and understanding."

Professor Blakemore will be invited to deliver the Presidents' Award Lecture at the Society's annual conference in May, 2019, at which she will be presented with a commemorative certificate. She also receives life membership of the Society.