Stephen Ceci


Stephen Ceci

Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology
G80, Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Human Development
Phone: (607) 255-0828 Fax: 607 255-9856
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Curriculum Vitae
Biographical Statement:

Currently, with Wendy Williams, I am in the throes of a major project examining sex differences in cognitive performance, which has culminated this year in several new peer-reviewed articles (e.g., American Scientist) and chapters. We also created the Cornell Institute for Women in Science (CIWS) web page, and gave a large number of media interviews.

I continue to develop my bio-ecological theory of intelligence,and I continue to publish articles dealing with cognitive development (e.g., memory development). And Wendy Williams and I have three large-scale national analyses of academic mentorship, hiring, and authorship issues that are currently under review. My reseaarch on children and the law also continues full-throttle, with a number of new experiments on children's false confessions (with graduate student, Amelia Hritz) and children's cryptoplagiarism (with former graduate student, Zoe Klemfuss and colleague Kamala London).

I am the author of  ~ 400-450 articles, books, commentaries, reviews, and chapters—many in the premier journals of the field. According to Google Scholar, my work has been cited over 20,000 times and my h-index is 59, with 37 publicatiosn each cited in excess of 100 times. I have given hundreds of invited addresses and keynote speeches around the world (Harvard, Cambridge University, Oxford, Yale, Princeton, University of Rome, University of Oslo, Max Plank Institutes in both Munich and Berlin).  I have served on the Advisory Board of the National Science Foundation for seven years (the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences), and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Board of Behavioral and Sensory Sciences for six years. My major honors and scientific awards include:

  • In 2000 the American Academy of Forensic Psychology's Lifetime Distinguished Contribution Award,
  • In 2002, the American Psychological Association's Division of Developmental Psychology awarded me its Lifetime Award for Science and Society
  • In 2003 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award for the Application of Psychology (shared with Elizabeth F. Loftus), and
  • In 2005 I received the Association for Psychological Science's highest scientific award, the James McKeen Cattell Award at its annual meeting in L.A.
  • In 2013 The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) gave me its lifetime distinguished contribution award (Seattle, WA).  Cornell Chronicle Story 
  • I am the recipient of the American Psychological Association's E. L. Thorndike Award for lifetime contribution to empirical and theoretical psychology (see story at:


I have appeared frequently in the national and international media, including: ABC's 20/20 (twice), NBC’s Dateline (twice), ABC’s Nightline, ABC’s Good Morning America, ABC’s Primetime Live (twice), PBS’s Frontline (twice), CBS’s 48 Hours, PBS’s McNeil-Lehrer NewsHour, BBC (three times), CBC's Fifth Estate, and numerous magazines and newspapers including the Wall Street Journal (twice), The New York Times (four times), The  New Yorker (three times), The Washington Post (three times), Time Magazine (twice), Newsweek (twice), The London Times, and Reader's Digest.  I am past president of the Society for General Psychology, and I currently serve on 9 editorial boards, including Scientific American Mind; I am a senior advisor to several journals.

Teaching and Advising Statement:

 Co-developed what has become the model for University Courses, Six Pretty Good Books, an interdisciplinary course that emphasizes a number of special pedagogical features (skype by book authors, visualization similations, peer assessments). This course has become an HD requirement. We have recently received a development grant from Google, Inc. to transform this class into a MOOC. We have begun planning for the transiition which will take place over the  coming year, and we are awaiting announcement of the university panel on MOOCs to find out if our proposal will be funded further.


Advisees can arrange apponntments TBA by emailing me:

Current Professional Activities:

I serve on several national and international scientific advisory boards, and I currently sit on 9 editorial boards of journals, co-direct a NIH-funded institute at Cornell CIWS), and supervise a group of 6 graduate students and am a minor member of 3 others. I review for many journals and granting agencies


I currently serve on the following 11 editorial boards:

1. Scientific American Mind

2. Applied Cognitive Psychology

3. Applied Developmental Psychology

4. Perspectives in Child Development

5. International Journal of Intelligence

6. Archives of Sceintific Psychology

7. Developmental Review

8. Psychology, Public Policy & Law

9. Psychological Science int he Public Interest

10. JEP: Applied

11. Psychological Bulletin

Current Research Activities:

My research activities involve three lines of research, each of which generated new publications during 2013. These three lines are:  children & the law (suggestibility, competence to testify, deception, coerced confessions), women and science (sex discrimination in hiring, mentoring, stereotypes), and intellectual development (cross-cultural influences, schooling, intelligence, cognitive sex differences, and achievement gaps). In my women-in-science research with Wendy Williams, we finished two new experimental studies and one new survey during 2013 and we have a major new publication in press in the APS journal PSPI), I conducted multiple experiments on children's testimonial competence (with my lab group).  I am still co-writing a book under contract with Wiley (with Gabrielle Principe and Andrea Greenhoot on children's ecological memory) that we are epected to deliver in August, 2014. And I finished an amicus brief that is in press in Univ of Chicago Law Review.  The PSPI article that is in press and will appear in summer, 2014.  I co-wrote one large-scale integrative review with Wendy and two economists which comprises the entire issue of the journal--100 hundred pages of manuscript, and I have one experiment with a grad student, Will DeFraine under review. Finally, Wendy and I have made 2 new research videos that were recently posted on YouTube. Our first 12 videos have > 20,000 downloads so far..

Current Extension Activities:

I have two lines of extension activity -- children and the law and women in science. During 2013 I have devoted 100% of my extension to the "women in science" area, as I am funded by NIH to work on this.   In terms of women in science, I along with wendy williams have completed two more videos and accompannying curricula in our series of outreach materials (videos that can be disseminated to science instructors and lab directors to make recruiting and persistence of females more effectve) and training materials for provosts and deans to help recruit and retain women scientists. The two new videos and curricula bring to a dozen videos that we developed, and these can be used by New York teachers to promote science participation among underrepresented groups (see CIWS webpage for examples of both the videos and curricula). Although it is still too early to document the impact of these videos and curricula, they have accumulated over 20,000 downloads by the end of 2013 and some have only been posted on Youtube quite recently.

  • Ph.D 1978 - University. of Exeter, England - Developmental Psychology
  • M.A. 1975 - University of Pennsylvania - Developmental Psychol
  • B.A. 1973 - University of Delaware General Psychology

Courses Taught:
  • HD 3330, Fall, 13 (56 students)
  • HD 6780, Fall, '13 (15 students)
  • HD 4010, Fall & Spring combined  (6 students)
  • Gave guest lecture during Spring 13 in Andrea Mooney's Law School course
  • HD 7010, 2 in Spring and 1 in Fall
  • HD 7000, 5 in Fall
  • HD 9990, 1 Spring, 1 Fall

Related Websites:

Wendy Williams and I continued with the redesign of our institute's web page:

Cornell Institute for Women in Science


I also created a web page for my lab:

Child Witness and Cognition lab

Administrative Responsibilities:

 I  co-direct the NIH center: Cornell Institute for Women in Science (CIWS). I lead a large lab (chair or co-chair 6 graduate students and numerous undergraduate research assistants), and I currently serve on eleven editorial boards. I also chaired Grad Admissions during 2012-2013 and served on the executive Committee,  and I continue to serve on the Vice Provost's Commission on University Courses, plus serve on the Bronfenbrenner Conference Committee. I chaired the APA Early Career Awards Committee, 2013.


Selected Publications:

Ceci, S. J. &  Williams, W.M.  (2010). The mathematics of sex: How biology and society conspite to limit talented women and girls.  NY: Oxford University Press.

Ceci, S. J. & Williams, W.M. (2010). Sex Differences in Math-Intensive Fields. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19(5), 275-279.

Williams, W. M. & Ceci, S. J. (2012).  When women sceintits choose motherhood.  American Scientist, 100, 138-145.

Ceci, S. J. & Williams, W.M. (2011). Understanding Current Causes of Women's Underrepresentation in Science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, doi:10.1073/pnas.1103900108 . (TWIP: This Week in PNAS; cover story article)

Klemfuss, J. Z. & Ceci, S. J. (2012).  Legal and psychological on children’s competence to testify in court.  Developmental Review, 32, 268-286.

Ceci, S. J., Williams, W.M., & Barnett, S.M. (2009). Women’s underrepresentation in science:  Sociocultural and biological considerations.  Psychological Bulletin, 135, 218-261.

Ceci, S.J., Papierno, P.B., & Kulkofsky, S.C. (2007). Representational constraints on children's suggestibility.  Psychological Science, 18, 503-509.

Ceci, S.J., Fitneva, S. A., & Williams, W. M. (2010). Representational Constraints on the Development of Memory and Metacognition: A Developmental-Representational-Theory. Psychological Review, 117, 464-495.

Ceci, S. J. & Bruck, M. (2006). Children’s Suggestibility: Characteristics and Mechanisms.  Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 34, 247-281.

Kanaya, T., Ceci, S. J. Scullin, M. (2005). Age differences within secular IQ trends: An individual growth modeling approach. Intelligence, 33, 613-621.

Principe, G., Kanaya, T., Ceci, S. J., & Singh, M. (2006).  Believing is seeing: How rumors can engender false memories in Preschoolers. Psychological Science, 17, 243-248.

Ceci, S. J., Ginther, D., Kahn, S., & Williams, W. M. (in press). Women in science: exlaining the gap. Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

Ceci, S. J., Kahan, D. M. & Broman, D. (2010). The WEIRD Are Even Weirder Than You Think: Diversifying contexts is as important as diversifying samples.  Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Ceci, S.J., Williams, W. M., & Mueller-Johnson, K. (2006). Is tenure justified? An experimental
study of faculty beliefs about tenure, promotion, and academic freedom . Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 29, 1-39.

Ceci, S.J. & Papierno, P.B. (2005). The rhetoric and reality of gap-closing: When the “have-nots” gain, but the “haves” gain even more. American Psychologist, 60, 149-160.

Rindermann, H. & Ceci, S. J. (2009). Educational policy and country outcomes in international cognitive competence studies. Perspectives in Psychological Science, 4, 551-577.

Ceci, S. J., Williams, W. M., & Barnett, S. M. (2009). The underrepresentation of women in science: Sociocultural and biological considerations. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 172-210.

Neisser, U., U., Boodoo, G., Bouchard, T., Brody, N., Ceci, S. J., Halpern, D., Loehlin, J., Perloff, R., Sternberg, R. J., & Urbina, S. (1996).  Intelligence: Knowns  and unknowns.  American Psychologist, 51, 1-25.

Ceci, S. J. & Williams, W.M. (2009, Feb. 12). Commentary: Should scientists study race, gender, and IQ? Nature, 457, 788-789.

Brainerd, C. J., Reyna, V. F., & Ceci, S. J. (2008). Developmental Reversals in False Memory: A Review of Data and Theory.  Psychological Bulletin, 134, 334-375.

Brainerd, C., Reyna, V.F., Ceci, S.J., & Holliday, R.E. (2008). Developmental reversals in false memory: Reply to Ghetti (2008) and Howe (2008).  Psychological Bulletin, 134, xxx-xxx.

London, K. & Ceci, S. J. (Eds.) (2012). Special Issue: Child Witness Research. Developmental Review, Volume 32, Issue 3, 161-306.

London, K. & Ceci, S. J. (Eds.) (2012). Special Issue: Child Witness Research. Developmental Review, Volume 32, Issue 3, Pages 161-306.

Ceci, S. J. & Williams, W. M. (Eds.) (2007). Why aren't more women  in science? Top researchers  debate the evidence. Washington DC: APA Books.

Valla, J. & Ceci, S. J. (2011). Can Sex Differences in Science Be Tied to the Long Reach of Prenatal Hormones?: Brain Organization Theory, Digit Ratio (2D/4D), and Sex Differences in Preferences and Cognition.  Perspectives in Psychological Science, 6, 134-146.

Bronfenbrenner, U. & Ceci, S. J. (1994).  Nature-nurture in developmental perspective: A bioecological theory. Psychological Review, 101, 568-586.

Kanaya, T., Scullin, M. & Ceci, S. J. (2003). The Flynn Effect and U.S. Policies. The Impact of Rising IQ Scores on American Society Via Mental Retardation Diagnoses. American Psychologist, Vol. 58, No. 10, 778-790.

Valla, J., Williams, W., & Ceci, S. J. (2011). The accuracy of inferences about criminality based on facial appearance. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 5(1), 66-91.

Scullin, M. H. & Ceci, S. J. (2001). A suggestibility scale for children.  Personality & Individual Differences, 30, 843-856.

Barnett, S. M. & Ceci, S. J. (2002). When and Where do we apply what we learn?  A taxonomy for far transfer. Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 128(4), 612-637.

Williams, W.M. & Ceci, S.J. (2012). when women scientists choose motherhood. American Scientist. 100, 138-145.

Searchable Keywords:
children and the law, intelligence, life in the academy, women in science, sex differences, memory 

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.