is a psychology professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Science.
Awards & Honors
Dr. Gelman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, selected winner of the 1995 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association (APA), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a William James Fellow of the American Psychological Society. She also serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMS).
Dr. Gelman was featured on Closer to the Truth: Science, Meaning and the Future, a PBS series created, produced, and hosted by Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn.
Dr. Gelman's research in developmental cognitive science works to uncover the ease with which young children acquire intuitive understandings of natural numbers and arithmetic, children's perceptions of separately moveable animate and inanimate objects, children's understanding that outcomes have causes, and how children learn words and conversationally appropriate ways of talking. Dr. Gelman is noteworthy for her development of a Science-into-ESL program and preschool exhibit at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia.
Rochel Gelman was born in Toronto, Canada to parents who came from very religious Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. She describes her father as brilliant, but notes that he was orphaned at 12, which limited his education and opportunities. Both her parents left as teenagers who had rejected religion and embraced socialism, all the while staying deeply committed to Jewishness and the belief that they had to live amongst their own. Her parents met in Toronto in a club with members who shared these values and the group became an extended family. They were all deeply committed to the assumption that their children would get good educations. Some of the adults were considered intellectuals.
In high school, Gelman chose to pursue the math, physics and chemistry track for education, which her guidance counselor supported. In college, at the University of Toronto, Dr. Gelman pursued a degree in the Honors Psychology program as was advised by her Dean. She participated in research in three labs, was an author on 2 papers, gave a talk at the Canadian Psychology Associate, and attended laboratory meetings. After graduating from the University of Toronto, Dr. Gelman attended the University of Los Angeles (UCLA) and took classes both in developmental and human learning.