Paul Quinn, a
prolific researcher who studies how infants form concepts for people,
places and things, has been appointed Trustees’ Distinguished Professor
of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Delaware.
The appointment, effective April 1, was made “in recognition of your
achievements as a scholar and educator,” according to a letter from
President Dennis Assanis and Interim Provost Robin Morgan.
Quinn, who joined the UD faculty in 2003 as a professor in what is
now the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, has published
widely and won numerous awards for his research and teaching.
he was selected as that year’s Francis Alison Professor, the
University’s highest competitive faculty honor.
Robert Simons, chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain
Sciences, called Quinn “truly amazing,” saying he excels in the three
domains of faculty accomplishment—research, teaching and service to the
department, the University and his profession.
“His research is awesome,” Simons said, noting the “very clever
indirect methods” needed to study the cognitive development of infants,
who cannot yet speak and report what they are thinking.
“Paul is a prodigious contributor to the cognitive development
literature; his work is groundbreaking and extremely influential,”
He also cited Quinn’s teaching, including frequently taking on both
large and small sections of “Introduction to Psychology,” which Simons
said has inspired many students to major in the field and to nominate
Quinn for UD teaching awards.
Quinn earned his doctorate in psychology from Brown University and
previously taught at Washington and Jefferson College, where he received
the 1995 Distinguished Professor Award.
He has held visiting positions at the Medical Research Council’s
Cognitive Development Unit in the United Kingdom, the Center for Brain
and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck College at the University of
London, and the Institute of Child Development at the University of
Quinn’s research has focused on how infants form concepts,
particularly how they extract social category information such as
gender, race and age from faces and how early perceptual biases for
certain social categories may be related to subsequent social biases.
His work has been supported by the National Institute of Child Health
and Human Development, the National Science Foundation and the National
Institute of Mental Health. It has resulted in more than 200 journal
and book chapter publications, along with two edited books, and has
received wide media attention.
Quinn is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. He is editor of Developmental Science and a member of several journal editorial boards, including Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Infant Behavior and Development, and Child Development Perspectives.
At UD, he has served in various departmental administrative roles,
including director of graduate education, acting associate chair and
About the professorship
Trustees’ Distinguished Professorships were created by the
University’s Board of Trustees to recognize deserving senior faculty
Article by Ann Manser; photo by Kathy F. Atkinson