Biographical Sketch
Dr. Bennett I. Bertenthal
Assistant Director
Social, Behavioral, And Economic Sciences
National Science Foundation


Dr. Bennett I. Bertenthal was appointed Assistant Director of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate on January 1, 1997.  This Directorate is organized into four divisions:  Behavioral and Cognitive Science (BCS), Social and Economic Science (SES), International Programs (INT), and Science Resources Studies (SRS).  The BCS and SES Divisions support research designed to advance our fundamental scientific knowledge about human social and cognitive behavior, and social and economic systems and organizations.  The INT Division supports the Foundations’ international endeavors, providing U.S. scientists and engineers access to the world’s leading centers of engineering and science.  The SRS Division oversees the collection, analysis and publication of data crucial to policy makers in NSF and throughout the nation.

Dr. Bertenthal received a B.A. in psychology from Brandeis University in 1971, an M.A. in developmental psychology  from the University of Denver in 1976, and a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Denver in 1978.  He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Brain Research Institute of UCLA Medical School from 1978 to 1979.

Prior to his appointment as Assistant Director, Dr. Bertenthal was a Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia and Director of the Developmental Psychology Training Program.  He began at the University of Virginia in 1979 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1985 and Full Professor in 1990.  From 1988 to 1990, he was an associate editor of the journal Developmental Psychology.   He was a member of  the Human Development and Aging Review Panel at NIH from 1991 to 1996, and served as chair from 1994 to 1996.  He served as Chair of  the Program Committee for the 1997 Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, and is a Member-at-Large for Division 7 of  the American Psychological Association.  Currently, he serves on a number of National Science and Technology Council sub-committees concerned with basic science and fundamental research on children.  He is also a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) steering committee on the development of infrastructure for the social and behavioral sciences.

Dr. Bertenthal is the author of over 70 publications on perceptual and cognitive development, developmental methodology, visual processing of motion information, and nonlinear modeling of posture and gait.   Recent publications include an Annual Review of Psychology chapter on the origins of perception, action, and representation, and a Handbook of Child Psychology chapter on perception and action.  During the past two years, he has lectured extensively on challenges and opportunities for the social and behavioral sciences, and was a keynote speaker last Spring at the Workshop on the Social Sciences organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  He is a fellow of  the American Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association, and he is a member of the Society for Research in Child Development, the Psychonomic Society, the International Society for Infant Studies, the International Society for the Study of Posture and Gait, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.  Dr. Bertenthal was the recipient of a Career Development Award (1985-90) from the National Institutes of Health, and received the American Psychological Association’s Boyd R. McCandless Young Scientist Award for distinguished research in 1985.  During his career, he has been awarded more than 20 grants and fellowships from federal and private agencies to support his research and teaching.