2009 Recipient: Susan Carey
Susan Carey is a Harvard psychologist whose work has explored fundamental issues surrounding the nature of the human mind. Carey is the Henry A. Morss, Jr. and Elisabeth W. Morss Professor of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and is the first woman to receive the Rumelhart Prize. Additionally, Carey is the first recipient awarded the prize for her theoretical contributions to the study of human development.
The selection committee recognized Carey’s work for the clarity of insights on deep and foundational questions concerning philosophy of mind and also for her rigorous and elegant experimental methods. Her book Conceptual Change in Childhood (MIT Press, 1985) was highly influential in setting the agenda for research on concepts in both children and adults. Her current research on number concepts and her forthcoming book The Origins of Concepts (to be published by Oxford University Press) have extraordinary reach, spurring advances in cognitive neuroscience, in evolutionary psychology, and in the comparative study of human and nonhuman primates.
Carey received her B.A. from Radcliffe in 1964, and she received a Fullbright Fellowship to London University in 1965. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard in 1971. Carey is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, and the British Academy. She has been a member of the Harvard faculty since 2001, and previously taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at New York University.