Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Janet T Spence

Professor EmeritusPh.D., University of Iowa

Alma Cowden Madden Centennial and Ashbel Smith Professor Emerita


Psychological Masculinity and Femininity, Gender, Personality, and Achievement Motivation


A major figure in American psychology, Janet Taylor Spence retired from UT after the Spring 1997 semester. Her distinguished research career focused on the interplay of motivational and individual differences in determining performance in both laboratory and real-life situations.

A 1949 Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, Dr. Spence's early work made seminal contributions to theories of the influence of anxiety on learning and performance, as well as the study of the effects of material incentives on intrinsic motivation. In the late 1960s, Dr. Spence turned her attention to gender research. Her major works in the area of gender include her ground-breaking book with Robert Helmreich, Masculinity and Femininity, influential articles in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Psychology of Women Quarterly, and her 1985 article in the Nebraska Symposium on Motivation which first described her theory of gender identity.

Dr. Spence's work, whether in the field or the laboratory, was characterized both by its empirical rigor and its innovative theoretical approach. Her willingness to question the accepted led her to develop assessment techniques that continue to be used widely.

Dr. Spence holds the unique position of being the only person to be elected president of both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society.

Dr. Spence retired to Cape Cod, where she managed a variety of academic and editorial responsibilities, including her role as editor of the Annual Review of Psychology. In her free time, she volunteered in public schools, and as an avid gardener and "beacher," continued these hobbies in the East Coast summer months.

Learn about the Psychology Department's Janet T. Spence Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award and the Janet T. Spence Outstanding Assistant Instructor Award.

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    The University of Texas at Austin
    SEA 4.208
    108 E. Dean Keeton Stop A8000
    Austin, TX 78712-1043