Mercyhurst psychologist honored with B.F. Skinner Foundation award

Matthew T. Weaver
Matthew T. Weaver, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Mercyhurst University, has been selected by the American Psychological Association as the 2013 recipient of the B.F. Skinner Foundation’s Early Career Researcher Award for his post-doctoral research on the behavioral effects of nicotine.

Weaver joined Mercyhurst in 2012 to head the Laboratory on Addictive and Impulsive Behavior. He comes from the University of Pittsburgh to continue researching the effects of nicotine; however, unlike his previous studies that monitored the effects of the nicotine with animal models, Weaver’s research will focus on the relationship between impulsivity and addictions to various substances, like tobacco, with human volunteers. Weaver has also enlisted the help of Mercyhurst psychology majors to assist in the research.

“I was humbled to be nominated,” said Weaver, who had no knowledge of the anonymous nomination that landed him the honor. “For peers to recognize my work, it feels great. And, to receive an award from the American Psychological Association is very gratifying. Not only does it make me feel proud, but it definitely validates what Mercyhurst wants me to do here, and what I want to do here.”

Early Career Researcher Award recipients are selected by a panel of leading psychology and behavioral scholars who analyze the importance, innovation and validity of a behavioral study. The award honors — and is named after — Burrhus Frederic “B.F.” Skinner, who was a major contributor to the field of psychology, specifically in terms of medical behaviorism. Winners of this award are also required to have received their doctorate within five years of being nominated.

Weaver will accept the award at the American Psychological Association’s annual conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, July 31-Aug. 4. He will also present his findings during a feature presentation focused on how nicotine affects the brain and a person’s interaction with his/her surroundings and environment.
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