Michael C. Frank, Stanford University, will receive a 2020 Troland Research Award.
A groundbreaking cognitive scientist, Frank has made vital contributions to our understanding of how children use social context to acquire language. His research employs behavioral experiments, computational tools, and novel measurement methods such as eye-tracking, head-mounted cameras, and tablet experiments.
In addition, Frank gathers and makes use of large data sets through his work on large-scale collaborative studies. He founded the ManyBabies Consortium, a collaborative network for infancy research that builds theories and establishes best practices. He also helped to create and curate Wordbank, Metalab, and childes-db, online resources for developmental psychology.
Among his accomplishments are studies revealing how infants look at faces over their first year, how children of various ages fixate on the social context of hand movements, and how the skill of using transitory social cues for reference improves with age. His studies have taken him around the world, allowing him to conduct studies reflecting a wide range of cultures.
Throughout his work, Frank has synthesized previous research and taken his own in new and exciting directions, establishing new models for our understanding of human cognition.
Two Troland Research Awards of $75,000 are given annually to recognize unusual achievement by early-career researchers (preferably 45 years of age or younger) and to further empirical research within the broad spectrum of experimental psychology. The Troland Research Award was established by a trust created in 1931 by the bequest of Leonard T. Troland.