The 10th Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors
Real Life, Labs, Research #MWRHonors
Every year, OBSSR honors the research trajectory and continuing influence of Dr. Matilda White Riley in the behavioral and social sciences across and beyond the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2016, OBSSR has turned the celebration into the Real Life, Labs, Research.
The 10th Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors.
April 25, 2017
Matilda White Riley: A brief biography
Dr. White Riley (1911-2004) was a member of the National Academies of Science who built a research career reflected in her frequent quotation, “People don't grow up and grow old in laboratories. They grow up and grow old in changing societies.” At age 20, Matilda saw her first book published, Gliding and soaring: An introduction to motorless flight. She was a Harvard research assistant, established the Market Research Company of America, and held professorships at Rutgers University and Bowdoin College. With her life-and-research partner Jack, Dr. White Riley posited a communication model that demonstrates the reciprocal influences of interpersonal and mediated communication on individuals and how that facilitates social systems.
Dr. White Riley came to NIH as a strong and influential advocate for social and behavioral scientific approaches to health research issues. She was the National Institute on Aging’s Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Research. In addition, she served as a senior NIH spokeswoman on the behavioral and social sciences, encouraged coordination among NIH Institutes, oversaw the production of reports to Congress, and advised several NIH Directors. Dr. White Riley initiated NIH’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Lecture series and built the infrastructure for what became the NIH Director’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.