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Virginia Valian, PhD Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences


American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Area: Social and Behavioral Sciences

Speciality: Psychological Sciences

Elected: 2023 

Academy Link:


Virginia Valian is Distinguished Professor at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center, Director of the Hunter College Gender Equity Project, and Director of the Hunter College Language Acquisition Research Center.

Valian works on gender equity and on the psychology of language. In gender equity Valian performs research on the reasons behind women's slow advancement in the professions and proposes remedies for individuals and institutions. She is the author of Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women, and co-author of An Inclusive Academy: Achieving Diversity and Excellence. Valian consults with institutions and organizations to improve gender equity.

In the psychology of language Valian conducts research on young children's acquisition of syntax and on the relation between bilingualism and executive function in adults. Her aim is to develop a model of acquisition that specifies what is innate, how input is used by the child, and how the child's syntactic knowledge interacts with knowledge in other linguistic and extra-linguistic domains. She uses a variety of methods, including computer-assisted corpus analysis, comprehension experiments, elicited imitation experiments, and elicited production experiments.


About the Academy: Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work together "to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people." The Academy is both an honorary society that recognizes and celebrates the excellence of its members and an independent research center convening leaders from across disciplines, professions, and perspectives to address significant challenges.