Young scientist is first Filipino winner of William James Prize
A Filipina PhD candidate at Yale University was recently awarded the prestigious William James Prize by the Society of Philosophy and Psychology (SPP) in its 47th annual meeting June 28 to July 2.
Joan Danielle Ongchoco was recognized for her work on “Figments of imagination: Scaffolded attention creates non-sensory object and event representations.”
First awarded in 1997, the William James Prize is awarded to only one graduate student per year and is chosen by an ad hoc committee appointed by the SPP president in consultation with the executive committee.
Since holding its inaugural meeting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974, the SPP conference has come to be known as the premier scientific and philosophical gathering that annually brings together leading philosophers, psychologists and other cognitive scientists from all over the world who are interested in questions at the intersection of their respective fields. The SPP conducts a highly selective review process of contributed papers and works, with an acceptance rate rivaling that of top journals.
In her work, Ongchoco introduces a new phenomenon that she calls “scaffolded attention,” and shares discoveries she has made in the last couple of years that have deep implications for understanding the inner workings of the human mind, as well as the non-sensory experiences of people–from mental images, dreams, to hallucinations.
Prior to her graduate studies, Ongchoco was part of the inaugural graduating class of 2017 at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, where she graduated summa cum laude and was the recipient of the Outstanding Capstone for Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Ongchoco proceeded to the US in the same year as a full graduate student-scholar at Yale University. She has since obtained her Master of Science in Psychology (2019) and Master of Philosophy (2021) degrees, and anticipates completion of her PhD in Cognitive Psychology within the next year or two.
Prior to studying abroad, Ongchoco was high school class salutatorian at the Immaculate Conception Academy in San Juan City, Metro Manila.