One of Todd Heatherton’s published articles has been cited over 2,500 times by researchers around the world. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)
The work of Todd Heatherton, the Lincoln Filene Professor of Human Relations and professor of psychological and brain sciences, is often cited in journal articles and other research by everyone from budding social scientists to noted experts in their fields. The value placed on his research was recently recognized with the 2011 Carol and Ed Diener Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Contributions to Personality Psychology, given by the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology. Heatherton’s influence on the course of the field, as reflected by citations, has been far-reaching. One of his articles has accumulated over 2,500 citations.
Heatherton’s scientific contributions range widely, on topics that include self-esteem, perfectionism, eating behavior, smoking, personality change, and social-cognitive neuroscience. His award citation states in part: “Throughout his career, his work has incorporated an emphasis on the broad theme of self-control and the role that emotions play in self-control failure. He has helped to point out the precariousness of the process of self-control, and how sensitive people are to disruption by emotions when engaged in self-control efforts.”
“Everyone in academics publishes their work hoping that others read it and that it has an impact on the fields in which they work,” says Heatherton. “So it is gratifying to know that some of the research conducted in my lab has been useful to other researchers in terms of thinking about their theories or own studies.” He continues, “I developed two psychological measures that are widely used around the world and I get frequent emails from students and academics who want to use those scales. I always get a kick out of knowing that my research helps them test their ideas.”