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UBC psychology professor wins international award for outstanding research

UBC psychology professor Liane Gabora

UBC psychology professor Liane Gabora

UBC psychology professor Liane Gabora has been awarded the Berlyne Award for Outstanding Research by a Junior Scholar, given by American Psychology Association (APA) Division 10.

Gabora will travel to Washington, DC, this August to attend the 2011 annual meeting of the APA, where she will formally accept the recognition and present a one-hour talk on her research, which explores the mechanisms underlying creativity, how the complexity and creativity of the human mind came about, and how ideas evolve over time as different people put their own spin on them.

"The talk will introduce my theory of creativity, referred to as the honing theory of creativity," says Gabora. "I will present converging evidence for this theory from neuroscience, experimental psychology, and a mathematical theory of concepts that models how they combine and how they shift under different contexts. The rationale for the latter is that at the heart of the creative act -- no matter what the domain -- the creative individual is merging concepts or ideas together, or viewing them from new perspectives, in ways that have not been done before."

Three of Gabora's graduate students, Apara Ranjan, Tomas Veloz and Stefan Leijnen, as well as undergraduate honours student Madeleine Henderson and directed studies student Sean Riley, have been invited to present their own papers at the annual APA convention, on the basis of extended abstracts they submitted in December.

Four of the five papers were accepted as talks, and one as a research poster presentation. As well, four of the students will give a second presentation at a special session devoted exclusively to work by students.

"This is a significant achievement for the students, and a chance to showcase to an international audience some of the extraordinary graduate and undergraduate research taking place on UBC's Okanagan campus," says Gabora.

Maryam Saberi, a Simon Fraser University student co-supervised by Gabora, also had her abstract, in which Gabora was the co-author, accepted to the APA convention.

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