Dr. Brian Anderson, an associate professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Texas A&M University, has been selected to receive the 2023 Elsevier/Vision Sciences Society (VSS) Young Investigator Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of visual attention and cognition.
The annual award, first presented in 2007 and sponsored by the international journal Vision Research, honors early career vision scientists with no more than 10 years of active research since earning their terminal degree.
Anderson will be presented with the award during the 2023 VSS Awards Session, set for May 22 in conjunction with the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society in St. Pete Beach, Florida. He will speak on his research during the awards session and also write a related article for Vision Research.
“I have been an active member of the Vision Sciences Society since I was a graduate student, and I have formed so many lasting professional relationships within the context of my involvement in that society that have shaped me as a scientist and as a person,” Anderson said.
Anderson earned his Ph.D. in psychological and brain sciences from John Hopkins University in 2014, then spent two years there as a postdoctoral fellow before joining the Texas A&M faculty in 2016. His research investigates the mechanisms by which reward learning changes how we direct our future attention. Among other seminal contributions, he has discovered a method for studying how the relationship between reward and visual stimuli in one task can affect attention in others. His combined research also gives insight into the understanding of the failures of value-based cognitive control in addiction.
To date, Anderson has published more than 80 research articles and 10 review articles, earning recognition from the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science and the Psychonomic Society. He has mentored many graduate, masters and undergraduate students as well as postdoctoral and postbaccalaureate students, who themselves have first-authored many papers and received many awards.
For Anderson, his accomplishments illustrate how insights from basic vision science can impact multiple disciplines and translate to the clinic and beyond, even as they epitomize the professional and personal value of paying it forward.
“The first person I thought about when I received the phone call notifying me that I had been selected for this award was my late Ph.D. mentor Steven Yantis, who passed away about a month after I graduated,” Anderson said. “He had such a tremendous impact on my field and me as a person, and it means a lot to me to feel like I am able to carry on a piece of the legacy he left. He was my primary model for what excellence in research looks like, and it’s humbling to have my peers affirm that I am now acting as a model of that for the next generation of vision scientists. It’s a full-circle kind of thing for me.”
Founded in 2001, VSS is a nonprofit organization whose main goal is to understand the science behind how vision works by bringing experts from a broad range of disciplines related to the functional aspects of vision together and recognizing those who have made significant contributions to the field.