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Psychology professor wins important research award

Professor Gerald Cupchik has won an APA award for distinguished research. (Photo by Ken Jones.)

by Mary Ann Gratton

Gerald Cupchik, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough, is the recipient of the coveted Rudolf Arnheim Award for distinguished contributions to research in the psychology of the arts from the American Psychological Association (APA).

The award, given by the APA’s Division 10 (Psychology and the Arts) recognizes a body of research over a number of years. Cupchik will receive the award at the annual APA convention this August in San Diego where he has been invited to deliver an address to participants.

“I’m happy about the award and thankful to receive a nomination from my peers and friends, but then I think, just calm down and get back to work,” says Cupchik. “I’ve had the good fortune to be able to both do independent work and be part of a collegial environment where I could also pursue multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary work and collaborate with people in other areas.”

“We are delighted to learn that Gerry Cupchik has received the Rudolf Arnheim Award,” says Professor John Bassili, chair of psychology at UTSC. “I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that this achievement makes all of us in our department very proud.” The award is “richly deserved, in recognition of a longstanding and distinguished contribution to the discipline,” adds Professor Malcolm Campbell, UTSC vice-principal, research.

Cupchik’s address at the APA meeting will be on “The Aesthetics of Emotion.” He also earns $1,000 for travel expenses to the conference. A professor at UTSC since 1974, he says the award “permits me to look back on my career and the things I’ve done, and the talk I’m giving will allow me the opportunity to build bridges between psychology and the arts.”

Cupchik's areas of research focus are aesthetic experience, sensory awareness and gender differences. He says he has enjoyed being part of this campus because “this is a place to flourish. The atmosphere is collegial, and many of us who work here have grown older together. The operative word is collaboration, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of working with others from different backgrounds and disciplines while still approaching the research in a disciplined and rigorous way.”

Rudolf Arnheim was a pioneering perceptual psychologist, author, art and film theorist in the Gestalt tradition. His major books examined the connection between visual art, perception and psychology.


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