Ruth Kanfer

Professor of Psychology


B.A. Miami University, Oxford OH; M.S. Ph.D., Arizona State University, Tempe AZ; Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL


Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP; 2008) 

William R. Owens Scholarly Achievement Award (with P. L. Ackerman), Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP; 2006) 

Outstanding Publication of the Year in Organizational Behavior Award (with P. L. Ackerman), Academy of Management (1989 and 2004) 

Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology (in Applied Research), American Psychological Association (APA, 1989) 

Elected Fellow:  Academy of Management, American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Sciences, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology 

Leadership Roles

Director, Georgia Institute of Technology Work Science Center (2015-) 

National Research Council Science and Practice of Learning Committee (2015-2018) 

Academy of Management, Board of Governors (2004-2007) 

Academy of Management Organizational Behavior Division Chair (1997-2001) 

Editorial Board Memberships & Advisory Boards

Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work Steering Committee (2016-); Scientific Advisory Board, Jacobs Center for Lifelong Learning, Bremen University, Germany (2009-2012); Director, Georgia Institute of Technology Work Science Center (2015-); Academy of Management, Board of Governors (2004-2007); Academy of Management Organizational Behavior Division Chair (1997-2001) 

Editorial Boards: Work, Aging, and Retirement (2016-); European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology (2013-); Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (2004-); Human Performance (1997- ); Applied Psychology:  An International ReviewJournal of Applied PsychologyJournal of ManagementOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision ProcessesBasic and Applied Social Psychology 

Research Interests

The impact of technology and automation on work motivation/self-regulation and engagement 

Motivational dynamics, work identity, and adult development 

Future time perspective, job search, and employment attitudes 


Finkelstein, L., Truxillo, D., Fraccaroli, F., & Kanfer, R. (Eds.), (2015).  Facing the Challenges of a Multi-Age Workforce.  A Use-Inspired Approach.  NY:  Psychology Press.

Kanfer, R., Chen, G., & Pritchard, R. (Eds.) (2008).  Work Motivation: Past, Present, and Future. NY: Psychology Press.

Lord, R., Klimoski, R., & Kanfer, R. (Eds) (2002).  Emotions in the Workplace: Understanding the Structure and Role of Emotions in Organizational Behavior.  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kanfer, R., Ackerman, P. L., & Cudeck, R.  (Eds.) (1989). Abilities, motivation, and methodology: The Minnesota Symposium on Learning and Individual Differences. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence

Recent Publications

Kanfer, R., Lyndgaard, S. F., & Tatel, C. E. (2020). For whom the pandemic tolls: a person-centric analysis of older workers. Work, Aging and Retirement6(4), 238-241.

Lim, L., Kanfer, R., Stroebel, R. J., & Zimring, C. M. (2020). Beyond co-location: Visual connections of staff workstations and staff communication in primary care clinics. Environment and Behavior, 0013916520950270.

Lim, L., Kanfer, R., Stroebel, R. J., & Zimring, C. M. (2020). The Representational Function of Clinic Design: Staff and Patient Perceptions of Teamwork. HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal, 1937586720957074.

Kim, S., Irizarry, J., & Kanfer, R. (2020). Multilevel Goal Model for Decision-Making in UAS Visual Inspections in Construction and Infrastructure Projects. Journal of Management in Engineering36(4), 04020036.

Kanfer, R., & Blivin, J. (2019).  Prospects and pitfalls in building the future workforce.  In F. Oswald, T. Behrend, & L. Foster (eds). Workforce Readiness and the Future of Work (pp. 251-259).  New York:  Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Kooij, D. T. A. M., & Kanfer, R. (2019).  Lifespan perspectives on work motivation.  In B. Baltes, C. Rudolph, & H. Zacher (eds), Work across the lifespan (pp. 475-493). New York: Academic Press.

Kanfer, R., & Fletcher, K. A. (2019). Work motivation and employment goals in later adulthood. In S. J. Czaja, J. Sharit, J. James, & J. Grosch (Eds.), Current and Emerging Trends in Aging and Work (pp. 219-242), Springer: New York, NY.

Beier, M. E., LoPilato, A. C., & Kanfer, R. (2018).  Successful motivational aging at work: Antecedents and retirement-related outcomes. Work, Aging, and Retirement, 4, 213-224.

Kooij, D. T. A. M., Kanfer, R., Betts, M., & Rudolph, C. (2018).  Future time perspective: A systematic review and meta-analysis.  Journal of Applied Psychology,103, 867-893.

Kanfer, R., Frese, M. F., & Johnson, R. E. (2017).  Motivation related to work:  A century of progress. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102, 338-355.

Heckhausen, J., Shane, J., & Kanfer, R. (2017).  Competence and motivation at work throughout adulthood:  Making the most of changing capacities and opportunities.  In A. Elliot, C. S. Dweck, & D. Yeager (Eds.), Handbook of Competence and Motivation: Theory and Application (2nd Edition; pp. 449-470).  NY: Guilford Press.

Ruth Kanfer

My research spans several related research areas of differential, educational, cognitive, applied experimental, and industrial and organizational psychology. Theory and empirical research I have conducted relates to the nature of adult learning, skill acquisition, student and employee selection, training, abilities, personality, and motivation. In collaboration with Professor Kanfer and our students, recent empirical research and theoretical contributions address the ability, motivation, personality, interest, and self-concept determinants of skilled performance and training success, and on the development and expression of intellectual competence in adulthood. Current research projects focus on age differences and gender differences in the breadth and depth of adult knowledge, and on the taxonomic nature of perceptual speed abilities and their role in the development of skilled performance.

American Educational Research Association (Fellow)
American Psychological Association
    Fellow, Division 1 -- General
    Fellow, Division 3 -- Experimental Psychology
    Fellow, Division 5 -- Division of Evaluation
    , Measurement, and Statistics
    Member, Division 15 -- Educational Psychology
    Fellow, Division 20 -- Adult Development and Aging
    Fellow, Division 21 -- Applied Experimental and 
    Engineering Psychology
Association for Psychological Science (formerly American Psychological Society) (Charter Fellow)
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (Fellow) 
International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP)
    Division of Psychological Assessment and Evaluation
International Society for the Study of Individual 
Differences (ISSID)
National Council on Measurement in Education
Psychonomic Society (Fellow)

Selected Publications

Ackerman, P. L.  (in press).  Intelligence and expertise.  In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.).  Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence. 2nd Edition, pp. 1159-1176.  New York: Cambridge University Press.  [Revision of Ackerman (2011)]

Ackerman, P. L. (in press).  A long ‘intellectual’ journey.  In D. Dai & R. J. Sternberg (Eds).  Scientific inquiry into human potential: Historical and contemporary perspective across disciplines.

Ackerman, P. L., & Kanfer, R. (2020). Work in the 21st century: New directions for aging and adult development. American Psychologist75(4), 486-498.

Ackerman, P. L., & Hambrick, D. Z. (2020). A primer on assessing intelligence in laboratory studies. Intelligence80, 101440.

Calderwood, C., & Ackerman, P. L. (2019).  Modeling intraindividual variation in unsafe driving in a naturalistic commuting environment. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 24(4), 423-437.

Ackerman, P. L.  (2018).  PPIK Framework for Adult Intellectual Development.  In D. P. Flanagan & E. M. McDonough (Eds.) Contemporary Intellectual Assessment:  Theories, Tests, and Issues (4th Edition), 225-241.  New York: Guilford Press.

Ackerman, P. L.  (2018).  Intelligence as potentiality and actuality.  In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The Nature of Human Intelligence, 1-14.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ackerman, P. L.  (2018).  The search for personality-intelligence relations: methodological and conceptual issues.  Journal of Intelligence, 6(2), 1-12.

Ackerman, P. L. (2017).  Adult intelligence:  The construct and the criterion problem.  Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(6), 987-998.

Jipp, M., & Ackerman, P. L. (2016).  The impact of higher levels of automation on performance and situation awareness:  A function of information-processing ability and working-memory capacity.  Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, 10 (2), 138-166.

Ackerman, P. L., & Ellingsen, V. J.  (2016) Speed and accuracy indicators of test performance under different instructional conditions: intelligence correlates. Intelligence, 56, 1-9.

Calderwood, C. C., & Ackerman, P. L. (2016).  The relative salience of daily and enduring influences on off-job reactions to work stresses.  Stress and Health, 32, 587-596.

Ackerman, P. L.  (2014).  Nonsense, common sense, and science of expert performance:  Talent and individual differences.  Intelligence, 45, 6-17.

Ackerman, P. L. (2014). Facts are stubborn things.  Intelligence, 45, 104-106.

Ackerman, P. L., & Ellingsen, V. J.  (2014).  Vocabulary overclaiming — a complete approach:  Ability, personality, self-concept correlates, and gender differences.  Intelligence, 46, 216-227.

Ackerman, P. L.  (2014).  Adolescent and adult intellectual development.  Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23, 246-251.

Calderwood, C. C., Ackerman, P. L., & Conklin, E. M. (2014). What else do students “do” while studying? An investigation of multitasking.  Computers and Education, 75, 19-29.

Ackerman, P. L., Kanfer, R., & Beier, M. E.  (2013).  Trait complex, cognitive ability, and domain knowledge predictors of baccalaureate success, STEM persistence, and gender differences.  Journal of Educational Psychology, 105, 911-927.

Ackerman, P. L., Kanfer, R., & Calderwood, C.  (2013).  High school Advanced Placement and student performance in college: STEM majors, non-STEM majors, and gender differences.  Teachers College Record, 115 (10), 1-43.

Kanfer, R., Beier, M. E., & Ackerman, P. L. (2013).  Goals and motivation related to work in later adulthood: An organizing framework.  European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 22, 253-264

von Stumm, S., & Ackerman, P. L.  (2013).  Investment and intelligence: A review and meta-analysis.  Psychological Bulletin, 139, 841-869.

Toker, Y., & Ackerman, P. L.  (2012).  Utilizing occupational complexity levels in vocational interest assessments:  Assessing interests for STEM areas.  Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80, 524-544.

Ackerman, P. L., Shapiro, S., & Beier, M. E.,  (2011).  Subjective estimates of job performance after job preview:  Determinants of anticipated learning curves.  Journal of Vocational Behavior, 78, 31-48.

Ackerman, P. L., Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Furnham, A.  (2011).  Trait complexes and academic achievement:  Old and new ways of examining personality in educational contexts.  British Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 27-40.

Calderwood, C., & Ackerman, P. L.  (2011).  The relative impact of trait and temporal determinants of subjective fatigue.  Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 441-445.

Ackerman, P. L.  (Ed.) (2011). Cognitive fatigue: Multidisciplinary perspectives on current research and future applications.  Washington, DC:  American Psychological Association.

Contact Information

Office Location: 227 Psychology Building
Phone Number: 404/894-5611
FAX: 404/894-6904