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Peter Shizgal distinguished by his peers

Montreal, March 25, 2011 Concordia University Research Chair Peter Shizgal who investigates the roots of reward, motivation, addiction and decision-making has been recognized by his peers with the prestigious Prix Adrien Pinard.

A professor in the Department of Psychology and a member of the Centre for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Shizgal was honoured by the Socit qubcoise pour la recherche en psychologie (Quebec Society for Psychology Research) at a recent ceremony held in Quebec City.

A prolific researcher, Shizgal is the first Concordian to receive the Prix Adrien Pinard since its creation. Past winners have included Pierre Jolicoeur, Canada Research Chair in Experimental Cognitive Science at the Universit de Montral, who was distinguished in 2010. McGill University Professor Ronald Melzack, who developed the McGill Pain Questionnaire now used in pain clinics and cancer hospices the world over, received the prize in 2003. Renowned neuropsychologist Brenda Milner, of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, was the 1995 recipient.

"As a winner of the Prix Adrien Pinard, Peter Shizgal is in very good company," says Louise Dandurand, Concordia Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies. "For two decades, this prize has been awarded by the Socit qubcoise pour la recherche en psychologie to recognize leaders in their field and scientists who have propelled new findings in psychology. On behalf of all Concordians, I would like to personally congratulate Peter for this distinction and for helping foster new understanding about the human mind."

A pioneering psychologist

Among the founders of the emerging discipline of neuroeconomics, Shizgal is a behavioral neurobiologist who studies brain mechanisms of reward, motivation, judgment and decision-making. His research combines behavioural, electrophysiological and neurochemical measurements with mathematical modeling and functional brain imaging.

"I'm interested in the cognitive, emotional and neural mechanisms that are responsible for the ways that humans and animals make decisions both good and bad," says Shizgal. "I find it fascinating that we are able to behave in such highly adaptive ways much of the time, yet we also make repeated, systematic choices that undermine our wellbeing. Together with my students, collaborators and colleagues, I am trying to develop a scientific account of this paradox."

Shizgal joined Concordia in 1975 after earning a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He served as director of the Centre for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology from 1997 to 2003 and has been a member of grant-review committees at the federal and provincial levels.


Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
Concordia University

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