Alan Leslie
Alan M. Leslie was named Board of Governors Professor of Psychology.

The Rutgers University Board of Governors has named Alan M. Leslie as Board of Governors Professor of Psychology effective July 1.

Leslie, a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science in the School of Arts and Sciences, is renowned for his research into the mechanisms of the mind that give rise to thought and knowledge.

A Rutgers University–New Brunswick faculty member for three decades, Leslie is the director of the Cognitive Development Lab where researchers study the origins of knowledge through the framework of experimental cognitive neuroscience.

This work has produced fundamental contributions to developmental psychology. Leslie’s research on social cognition or intuitive “theory of mind,” for example, has had revolutionary implications for the study of autism. He is also acclaimed for his pioneering studies of infants’ comprehension of cause and effect, of object cognition and working memory, as well as early understanding of other people’s inner world of beliefs, desires and pretenses. More recent work probes the structure of preschoolers’ moral judgment.

Leslie’s stature is reflected in numerous, highly cited publications that have influenced scholars in fields ranging from evolutionary psychology to philosophy, and more recently, robotics. His research draws strong funding from agencies including the National Science Foundation and has led to speaking engagements at major universities around the world.

Among many honors, he is an elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (2008) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2008); from 2012-15, he was president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology. He has served on numerous editorial boards and on national boards relating to autism and has an excellent reputation as a mentor and teacher at every level.

Board of Governors professorships are awarded to individuals whose academic accomplishments have achieved high levels of national and global recognition, making them the most celebrated and decorated academic scholars at Rutgers.