Influential Women in Psychology From the Last 10 Years

Influential Women in Psychology From the Last 10 Years

Our list of influential women in psychology is a testament to the wide variety of career options available in the industry. From parapsychology to psychoanalysis, this list features famous women psychologists who have been highly cited and searched online over the last 10 years.

Top 10 Women in Psychology From the Last 10 Years

  1. Carol Dweck
  2. Susan Blackmore
  3. Tara Brach
  4. Barbara Fredrickson
  5. Angela Duckworth
  6. Anne Treisman
  7. Emőke Bagdy
  8. Julia Kristeva
  9. Gabriele Oettingen
  10. Susan Fiske

According to the American Psychological Association, psychology is the study of the mind and behavior, a discipline that has emerged from within the field of philosophy. Psychology is an extremely diverse and complex field of study, affording the practitioner the opportunity to specialize in numerous areas of research including experimental, cognitive, developmental, and social psychology, among others.

Psychologists can pursue careers in a wide range of fields, including school counseling, substance abuse treatment, special education, or, for those with an advanced degree, clinical practice. Those who do pursue work as clinical psychologists will see an 8% rate of growth in job opportunities between now and 2030. This amounts to the addition of roughly 13,500 jobs in the next decade. Based on current enrollment and employment figures, women may make up a significant proportion of future leaders in the field. While women account for 53% of the psychology workforce today, 74% of early career psychologists and 76% of new psychology doctorates are women.

As women advance in the field, they benefit from strong advocacy, particularly from the Association for Women in Psychology, a diverse feminist community of psychologists and allied professionals invested in the integration of personal, professional, and political power in the service of social justice. Women can also find opportunities for networking and advancement within the American Psychological Association, which is the leading scientific and professional organization for psychology in the United States.

Today, female scholars continue to make major contributions to the advancement of their field. For instance, Leda Cosmides is best known for playing an integral role in the development of evolutionary psychology. Susan Blackmore is a psychologist, researcher and current Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth, where she works on a wide variety of subjects, including memetics, consciousness, and the scientific treatment of issues in parapsychology. Carol Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, is best known for her groundbreaking work on mindset.

Did you know that a bachelor’s degree in psychology is a future-proof degree that can qualify you for an extremely wide range of jobs in a variety of high-growth industries? Find out more.

Influential Women in Psychology From the Last 10 Years

  1. #1

    Carol Dweck

    1946 - Present (76 years)
    Carol Susan Dweck is an American psychologist. She is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Dweck is known for her work on mindset. She was on the faculty at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the University of Illinois before joining the Stanford University faculty in 2004. She is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.
  2. #2

    Susan Blackmore

    1951 - Present (71 years)

    Susan Blackmore is a psychologist and researcher and currently Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. She works on a wide variety of subjects, including memetics, consciousness, and the scientific treatment of issues in parapsychology. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Physiology from the University of Oxford. She received a Master of Science degree in Environmental Psychology from the University of Surrey in 1974.

    Blackmore's book The Meme Machine brought her into the public eye. She holds the view that "memes," or cultural messages that spread from generation to generation, help explain the evolution and character of culture. The research area is known as memetics, and is based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution, but applied to the spread of cultural information. Blackmore initially held strong views of traditional cultural ideas like religion as acting in essence like a virus—spreading from person to person by missionary work rather than having any reality or benefit (and, like a virus, may even be harmful information). She later wrote in the UK's Guardian that she no longer takes this position. Interestingly, Blackmore was once sympathetic to paranormal phenomena like out of body experiences, but has since adopted a skeptical position with regard to out of body experiences and indeed all paranormal or parapsychological claims. She is an "illusionist" with regard to the problem of consciousness (conscious experience), which she sees as a kind of trick the physical brain plays, convincing us of the reality of a conscious mind "inside."

  3. #3

    Tara Brach

    1953 - Present (69 years)
    Tara Brach is an American psychologist, author, and proponent of Buddhist meditation. She is a guiding teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. . Her colleagues in the Vipassanā, or insight meditation tradition, include Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, and Joseph Goldstein. Brach also teaches about Buddhist meditation at centers for meditation and yoga in the United States and Europe, including Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California; the Kripalu Center; and the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies.
  4. #4

    Barbara Fredrickson

    1964 - Present (58 years)

    Barbara Fredrickson currently holds the title of Kenan Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is the director of the social psychology program. Additionally, she is on the faculty of the Authentic Happiness program at the University of Pennsylvania, Director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory, and President of the International Positive Psychology Association. Previously, she held positions at Duke University and the University of Michigan. Fredrickson completed her undergraduate studies at Carleton College, and earned her Ph.D. at Stanford in 1990.

    Fredrickson is known for her work in the area of positive psychology. In particular, she is recognized for her broaden-and-build theory of emotion, arguing that emotional states signal both psychological and physiological changes in individuals, with an evolutionary significance. Along these lines, Fredrickson argues, positive emotions aren't superficial, but are in fact crucial to our survival; feeling good emotionally is actually healthy in a physical sense. Fredrickson's popular book, Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3-to-1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life, provides practical application tips for living a positive life. Other works from Fredrickson include, Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection.

  5. #5

    Angela Duckworth

    1970 - Present (52 years)
    Angela Lee Duckworth is an American academic, psychologist, and popular science author. She is the Rosa Lee and Egbert Chang Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies grit and self-control. She is also the Founder and CEO of Character Lab, a not-for-profit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development.
  6. #6

    Anne Treisman

    1935 - 2018 (83 years)
    Anne Marie Treisman was an English psychologist who specialised in cognitive psychology. Treisman researched visual attention, object perception, and memory. One of her most influential ideas is the feature integration theory of attention, first published with Garry Gelade in 1980. Treisman taught at the University of Oxford, University of British Columbia, University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University. Notable postdoctoral fellows she supervised included Nancy Kanwisher and Nilli Lavie.
  7. #7

    Emőke Bagdy

    1941 - Present (81 years)
    Emőke Bagdy is a Hungarian clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, professor emerita at the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary , and former director of the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology. Her research, books, papers and talks focus on psychotherapy, health psychology and foundational problems of clinical psychology and clinical supervision.
  8. #8

    Julia Kristeva

    1941 - Present (81 years)
    Julia Kristeva is a Bulgarian-French philosopher, literary critic, semiotician, psychoanalyst, feminist, and, most recently, novelist, who has lived in France since the mid-1960s. She is now a professor emerita at the University Paris Diderot. The author of more than 30 books, including Powers of Horror, Tales of Love, Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia, Proust and the Sense of Time, and the trilogy Female Genius, she has been awarded Commander of the Legion of Honor, Commander of the Order of Merit, the Holberg International Memorial Prize, the Hannah Arendt Prize, and the Vision 97 F...
  9. #9

    Gabriele Oettingen

    1953 - Present (69 years)
    Princess Gabriele of Oettingen-Oettingen and Oettingen-Spielberg, known professionally as Gabriele Oettingen, is a German academic and psychologist. She is a professor of psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg. Her research focuses on how people think about the future, and how this impacts cognition, emotion, and behavior.
  10. #10

    Susan Fiske

    1952 - Present (70 years)

    Susan Tufts Fiske currently holds the position of Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Fiske has previously held positions at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Carnegie-Mellon University, and Harvard University. Fiske completed her undergraduate studies and Ph.D. at Harvard in 1978.

    A social psychologist, Fiske is best known for her work in the areas of social cognition, stereotypes, and prejudice. In particular, Fiske's work is notable for bringing the two fields of cognitive psychology and social psychology together. Fiske has focused on topics including sexism, gender relations, and gender differences in social situations. She also helped develop the Stereotype Content Model. In other significance, Fiske testified as an expert in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins.

    Published works by Fiske include, Envy Up, Scorn Down: How Status Divides Us, Social Cognition: From Brains to Culture with Shelley E. Taylor, and more recently the 4th edition of Social Beings: Core Motives in Social Psychology.

  11. #11

    Sue Johnson

    1947 - Present (75 years)
    Sue Johnson is a British clinical psychologist, couples therapist and author living and working in Canada. She is known for her work in the field of psychology on bonding, attachment and adult romantic relationships.
  12. #12

    Ellen Langer

    1947 - Present (75 years)
    Ellen Jane Langer is an American professor of psychology at Harvard University; in 1981, she became the first woman ever to be tenured in psychology at Harvard. Langer studies the illusion of control, decision-making, aging, and mindfulness theory. Her most influential work is Counterclockwise, published in 2009, which answers the questions of aging from her extensive research, and increased interest in the particulars of aging across the nation. You can find out more about it on her self titled web site.
  13. #13

    Lisa Feldman Barrett

    1963 - Present (59 years)

    Lisa Feldman Barrett is a Distinguished Professor in psychology at Northeastern University, as well as the director of the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory. Barrett is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Emotion Review. Previously, Barrett held positions at Boston College and Pennsylvania State University. Barrett completed her undergraduate studies at University of Toronto and her Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo.

    Barrett's work focuses on affective science, or in lay terms, the study of emotion. Barrett is interested in the psychological construction of emotion, arguing that emotions are created between physical phenomena in the body, the environment, and cultural factors. In her book, How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, Barrett further explores and shares insights from her extensive research in the science of emotion. Most recently, Barrett's Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain attempts to demystify the human brain and dispel popular myths regarding the brain.

  14. #14

    Maria Rita Kehl

    1951 - Present (71 years)
    Maria Rita Kehl, ORB is a Brazilian psychoanalyst, journalist, poet, essayist, cronista and literary critic. In 2010, she won the Jabuti Award in the Education, Psychology and Psychoanalysis category and the Human Rights Award from the Brazilian government in the Media and Human Rights category.
  15. #15

    Sherry Turkle

    1948 - Present (74 years)

    Sherry Turkle is a noted expert on the interactions between humans and technology. She earned a B.A. in Social Studies from Radcliffe College and her Ph.D in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University. Her career has been spent examining the advancement of technologies and the changes in human social behavior that have resulted.

    She has written numerous books about humans and technology, including The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit and Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. The Second Self is a highly regarded work about how technology is changing how humans think. In Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, Turkle suggests that technology is often a means of escaping reality, and as we escape reality, we drift further from genuine human interaction.

  16. #16

    Melanie Joy

    1966 - Present (56 years)
    Melanie Joy is an American social psychologist and author, primarily notable for coining and promulgating the term carnism. She is the founding president of nonprofit advocacy group Beyond Carnism, previously known as Carnism Awareness & Action Network , as well as a former professor of psychology and sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has published the books Strategic Action for Animals, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows and Beyond Beliefs.
  17. #17

    Edna B. Foa

    1937 - Present (85 years)
    Edna Foa is an Israeli professor of clinical psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she serves as the director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety. Foa is an internationally renowned authority in the field of psychopathology and treatment of anxiety. She approaches the understanding and treatment of mental disorders from a cognitive-behavioral perspective.
  18. #18

    Leda Cosmides

    1957 - Present (65 years)

    Leda Cosmides currently holds the title of Distinguished Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara. She also co-founded and co-directs the UCSB Center for Evolutionary Psychology. Cosmides completed both her undergraduate studies in biology and her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology at Harvard University by 1985.

    Best known for playing an integral role in the development of evolutionary psychology, Cosmides has often worked in collaboration with her husband John Tooby, an anthropologist. In thier book, The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture, edited along with Jerome H. Barkow, the fields of evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology, and paleoanthropology are merged in an attempt to further explore evolutionary history. Cosmides' work attempts to empirically look at and draw conclusions from how human biology and evolutions from our earliest states continue to influence our psychological, social, and cultural states today.

  19. #19

    Maria Konnikova

    1984 - Present (38 years)
    Maria Konnikova is a Russiann-Americann writer with a Ph.D in psychology from Columbia University. Konnikova has worked as a television producer, written for several magazines and online publications, and written two New York Times best-selling books. She primarily writes about psychology and its application to real life situations.
  20. #20

    Eleanor Rosch

    1938 - Present (84 years)

    Eleanor Rosch currently holds the title of Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, she also taught at Brown UniversityBrown University and Connecticut College. Rosch completed her undergraduate studies at Reed College in Philosophy. Rosch took a short break from academia to work as a social worker for several years, before eventually earning her Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University.

    Rosch has a wide array of interests within psychology and in other fields. including linguistics, philosophy, and religion. She has studied cross-cultural psychology and closely examined the relationship between religion and psychology in different regions.

    Rosch specializes in cognitive psychology, and draws on her philosophical background, particularly the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and linguistic philosophy. Much of Rosch's work is focused on conceptualization and categorization, or how we make sense of the world. Rosch is perhaps most famous for her study from field research into the language and experience of the Dani people of Papua New Guinea. In brief, Rosch showed that although the Dani people lack words for colors, they still categorize objects by what we recognize (in English) as colors, suggesting that basic objects and categorization go beyond cultural limits. Additionally, Rosch's work has focused in Eastern philosophy and psychology, particularly in Buddhism. Along with Francisco Varela , Evan Thompson , The Embodied Mind, is considered a classic work in the "embodied cognition" movement and among the first to examine the connection between science and Buddhist practices.

  21. #21

    Brenda Milner

    1918 - Present (104 years)
    Brenda Milner is a British-Canadian neuropsychologist who has contributed extensively to the research literature on various topics in the field of clinical neuropsychology. Milner is a professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University and a professor of Psychology at the Montreal Neurological Institute. , she holds more than 20 honorary degrees and continues to work in her nineties. Her current work covers many aspects of neuropsychology including her lifelong interest in the involvement of the temporal lobes in episodic memory. She is sometimes referred to as “...
  22. #22

    Lera Boroditsky

    1976 - Present (46 years)
    Lera Boroditsky is a cognitive scientist and professor in the fields of language and cognition. She is currently one of the main contributors to the theory of linguistic relativity. She is a Searle Scholar, a McDonnell Scholar, recipient of a National Science Foundation Career award, and an American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientist. She is Professor of Cognitive Science at UCSD. She previously served on the faculty at MIT and at Stanford.
  23. #23

    Laurie R. Santos

    1975 - Present (47 years)
    Laurie Renee Santos is a cognitive scientist and Professor of Psychology at Yale University. She is also Director of Yale’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory, Director of Yale’s Canine Cognition Lab, and Head of Yale’s Silliman College. She has been a featured TED speaker and has been listed in Popular Science as one of their “Brilliant Ten” young scientists in 2007 as well as in Time magazine as a “Leading Campus Celebrity” in 2013.
  24. #24

    May-Britt Moser

    1963 - Present (59 years)
    May-Britt Moser is a Norwegian psychologist and neuroscientist, who is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology . She and her then-husband, Edvard Moser, shared half of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, awarded for work concerning the grid cells in the entorhinal cortex, as well as several additional space-representing cell types in the same circuit that make up the positioning system in the brain. Together with Edvard Moser she established the Moser research environment at NTNU, which they lead. Since 2012 she has heade...
  25. #25

    Roos Vonk

    1960 - Present (62 years)
    Roosje Vonk is a Dutch professor of social psychology at the Radboud University in Nijmegen author, and motivational speaker. Life and work Vonk studied psychology at Leiden University. She received her PhD in 1990 for her dissertation The cognitive representation of persons: A multidimensional study of Implicit Personality Theory, impression formation, and person judgments. In 1999 she became professor at the Radboud University Nijmegen. In addition to her work at the university, she popularized psychology by means of books, articles, and lectures for the general public.
#Next »

Image Credits:

Top row, left to right: Patricia Hill Collins, Emmanuelle Charpentier, Malala Yousafzai, Shafi Goldwasser, Jennifer Doudna, Fabiola Gianotti, Michiko Kakutani, Lauren Underwood.

Bottom row, left to right: Fei-Fei Li, Esther Duflo, Kathy Reichs, Nancy Fraser, Brené Brown, Judith Curry, Jill Lepore, Zaha Hadid.