Utah State University Department of Psychology Professor Gregory Madden is the 2020 recipient of the D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award. Madden is a professor in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Service’s Behavioral Analysis Program, and specializes in behavioral economics.
Madden's research examines decision making, specifically impulsivity and delayed gratification. These research lines have been supported by over 4.5 million dollars in grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute for Child Health and Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Madden's work has created an impact on the collective understanding of impulsivity in the real world. He and his colleagues published the first ever study demonstrating that heroin-dependent individuals discounted the value of delayed outcomes far more steeply than matched control participants. The study is the second most cited paper ever published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, and the findings have been replicated across studies and across different substances.
Over the past ten years, Madden has researched the correlation between impulsivity and substance use, and what comes first. As part of the study, he built an animal model of substance abuse, and the published paper won an award for being the most cited paper in Psychopharmacology.
More recently, Madden developed a new program that uses the principles of "gamification," or the behavior-influencing principles employed by video-game programmers, to incentivize healthy eating patterns in children. So far his team has published four peer-reviewed papers on this topic, and they continue to investigate this line of research.
Madden has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters that have been cited more than 8,000 times. From 2011 until 2015, he served as the editor-in-chief of the prestigious Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, after previously serving as associate editor for six years. In 2013, he served as editor-in-chief of the two-volume APA Handbook of Behavior Analysis, and is nearing completion of a textbook titled An Introduction to Behavior Analysis.
Madden previously received awards including the ING Excellence in Teaching Award in 2009, and USU's Faculty Researcher of the Year in 2014.
"Dr. Greg Madden is among the most important scholars in his field," said Scott Bates, head of the Department of Psychology at USU. “His scholarship is significant and impactful, he has been continuously funded and he is held in high regard by his colleagues in the field. Dr. Madden is very deserving of the D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award.”
The D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award is awarded annually to a senior researcher on the USU campus who has completed outstanding research in his or her career. The researcher is recommended by a committee of peers, many of them previous award recipients. Nominees are evaluated for the significance, impact and quality of their research, scholarly or creative achievement and recognition by national and international experts. Thorne Research Awardees have produced a significant portion of their work while at Utah State University.