William James Book Award

The William James Award is intended to honor and publicize a recent book published within the last two years that brings together diverse subfields of psychology and related disciplines.


Sponsor: Division 1 (Society for General Psychology)


The William James Award is intended to honor and publicize a recent book published within the last two years that brings together diverse subfields of psychology and related disciplines. This work should provide a creative synthesis of theory, fact and themes that serve to unify or integrate the field. Edited books, textbooks, analytic reviews, biographies and examples of applications are not eligible for consideration. Recipients of the William James Book Award are expected to deliver an address for Div. 1 at APA's Annual Convention and are invited and strongly encouraged to provide a copy of the award presentation for inclusion in the newsletter of the Society (The General Psychologist). The author(s) will receive a certificate and a total honorarium of $1,500 to help defray travel expenses associated with attending convention.

Annual deadline : Feb. 15


Books that were published within the past two years (post-2015) are eligible for nominations. Self-nominations as well as nominations by others are welcome. Edited books, textbooks, analytic reviews, biographies and examples of applications are not eligible for consideration.

How to Apply

Nominations materials should include:

a) three copies of the book, dated within the past two years (post-2015) and available in print;
b) the vitae of the author(s); and
c) a one-page statement that explains the strengths of the submission as an integrative work and how it meets criteria established by the Society;
d) contact information for the author(s).

Note: The nomination letter should be written by a psychologist or other social science researcher (not by the publisher) and should include the credentials of the person writing.


In judging the merits of the work the following issues will be considered:

  1. The degree to which the book conforms to the guidelines above and serves to further the goals of the society. 

  2. The quality of the framework. It should be able to stand the test of rigorous logic on the one hand and psychological significance on the other. It should be rigorous: clearly presented and empirically grounded. 

  3. The degree to which it is consistent and consonant with other areas of psychology as well as areas of science more broadly considered, particularly the closely related areas of social and biological science. 

  4. The degree to which the book is consistent with the high quality of previous William James Book Award winners.

  5. The degree to which the book has the potential for having a significant impact within or beyond psychology.

For information on submission of nomination letters and supporting materials, please contact Alexandra Rutherford, PhD.

Books can be mailed to:

Alexandra Rutherford, PhD
Department of Psychology
York University
4700 Keele St.
Toronto, ON Canada M3J 1P3

Past Recipients

The Psychology of Passion: A Dualistic Model by Robert J. Vallerand, PhD. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.   


Anxious:  Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety by Joseph LeDoux, PhD. New York: Viking, 2015.   

The Developing Genome: An Introduction to Behavioral Epigenetics by David S. Moore, PhD. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.


Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom by Darcia Narvaez, PhD. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2014.


The rise of consciousness and the development of emotional life by Michael Lewis, PhD. New York: Guilford Publications, 2014.
Scarcity: Why having too little means so much by Sendhil Mullainathan, PhD and Eldar Shafir, PhD. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2013.

Recognition Award: On looking: Eleven walks with expert eyes by Alexandra Horowitz, PhD. New York: Scribner, 2013.


Born together — Reared apart: The landmark Minnesota twin study by Nancy L. Segal, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.


The agile mind by Wilma Koutstaal, New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Science as psychology: Sense-making and identity in science practice by Lisa Osbeck, Nancy Nersessian, Kareen Malone, & Wendy Newstetter, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.


How pleasure works: The new science of why we like what we like by Paul Bloom. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010.


Fooling ourselves: Self-deception in politics, religion, and terrorism by Harry C. Triandis. Westport, CN: Praeger Publishers, 2009.

Recognition Award: Beyond the box: B.F. Skinner's technology of behavior from laboratory to life, 1950s-1970s by Alexandra Rutherford. Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press, 2009.


The sexual  paradox: Men, women, and the real gender gap by Susan Pinker (2008).  New York: Scribners


The Lucifer Effect: Understanding how good people turn evil by Philip Zimbardo. New York: Random House, 2007.

Recognition Award: Mistakes were made (but not by me): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. Orlando, Fla.: Harcourt, 2007. 


The psychology of science and the origins of the scientific mind by Greogry J. Feist. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2006.


The redemptive self: Stories Americans live by by Dan P. McAdams. New York:  Oxford University Press, 2006. 

Honorable Mention: School violence in context: Culture, neighborhood, family, school, and gender by Rami Benbinashty & Ron Avi. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005


The cultural nature of human development by Barbara Rogoff. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.


The geography of thought by Richard Nisbett. New York: Free Press, 2003.


The blank slate: The modern denial of human nature by Stephen Pinker. New York: Viking Press, 2002.

The seven sins of memory: How the mind forgets and remembers by Daniel L. Schacter.  New York: Mariner Books, 2002.


The new cognitive neurosciences (2nd  ed.) by Michael Gazzaniga. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1999.


The cultural origins of human cognition by Michael TomaselloCambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.


The origins of genius: Darwinian perspectives on creativity by Dean Keith Simonton.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1999

Jeopardy in the courtroom: A scientific analysis of children's testimony by Steven Ceci & Maggie Bruck. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1995


How the mind works by Steven Pinker.  New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997.

Believing in magic: The psychology of superstition by Stuart A. Vyse. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.


Practicing feminism: Reconstructing psychotherapy by Jill G. Morawski. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1994.


Searching for memory: The brain, the mind and the past by Daniel L. Schacter. New York: Basic Books, 1996.


Will we be smart enough? by Earl Hunt. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1995.

Memory in oral traditions by David C. Rubin. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.


Images of mind by Michael Posner and Marcus E. Raichle. New York: W. H. Freeman, 1997.


The language instinct by Steven Pinker.  New York: William Morrow & Company, 1994.


The psychology of judgment and decision making by Scott Plous. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993.


The science of words by George A. Miller. New York: W. H. Freeman & Company, 1991.


Schizophrenia genesis by Irving Gottesman. New York: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc., 1990.


Rational choice in an uncertain world by Robyn Dawes. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers, 1990.


Notebooks of the mind by Vera John-Steiner.  New York: HarperCollins, 1985.


The nature of the child by Jerome Kagan. New York: Basic Books, 1984.


The mind's new science: A history of the cognitive revolution by Howard E. Gardner. New York: Basic Books, 1985.


Mind and body by George Mandler. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1984.