McSweeney president of behavioral analysis assoc.

PULLMAN — Frances K. McSweeney, Washington State University regents professor of psychology and vice provost for faculty affairs has been named president of the Association for Behavioral Analysis.

McSweeney assumed her new responsibilities as the elected head of the internationally recognized organization of behavioral scientists last week at the group’s 31st annual convention in Chicago, Illinois. The event was attended by about 4,000 ABA members and associates representing some 20 nations.

A faculty member at WSU since 1974, McSweeney is known for her fundamental work on behavior and reinforcement. Her current work seeks to explain why a behavior stops. When asked, one may give a different explanation for why he/she stopped eating (e.g. subject is full), stopped running (e.g. subject is tired) or playing video games (e.g. the subject is bored). McSweeney argues, instead, that habituation is a simple, common contributor to the termination of all of these behaviors.

McSweeney’s research has been supported by grants from many agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health.

She received the highest honor WSU bestows on a faculty member in 2004, when she was named as the recipient of the university’s Eminent Faculty Award, which is given only to faculty members who have changed the thinking in their respective fields by making lasting contributions through teaching, research, creative scholarship and service.

Throughout her career, McSweeney has been recognized for her outstanding scholarship. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and American Psychological Society, two major professional groups in psychology. She was recognized by her WSU peers for her research and teaching accomplishments by being selected to give the Distinguished Faculty Address in 1995. She is a former WSU Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor of Psychology and recipient of the 2002 Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Research, Scholarship and Arts.  A past chair of the Faculty Senate, McSweeney also received the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award for 2001.

A native of Rochester, N.Y., McSweeney is a graduate of Smith College (Mass.) and earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University.

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