Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Dan Zakay

Tel-Aviv University
2011 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Social Sciences
In Field: Psychology

Understanding cognitive processes

Prof. Dan Zakay

Jury Statement

“For his ground-breaking studies of understanding various cognitive processes and for the research of “Psychological Time”, which founded the comprehension of cognitive processes that influence the estimation of time and decision making process.”


Was born in Tel Aviv in 1939.

He completed his studies at the Herzliya Gymnasium and at the same time was a member of the Scouts and studied at the Israeli Music Conservatory.

He received his B.A. in psychology, his M.A. in cognitive psychology (suma cum laude) and Ph.D. in cognitive psychology at the Tel Aviv University (suma cum laude). He joined the faculty of the Psychology Department of the Tel Aviv University in 1974, and among other positions was chairman of the department, chairman of Israel Association for Organizational Development and chairman of the Israel Association of Psychologists.

His research has dealt with cognitive processes, among them judgment and assessment of time, judgment and decision making processes and metacognitive processes. He focuses on the basic study and applied research that is destined to test effects of the different processes on human behavior including the solution of conflicts, driving and development of social resilience. His work in the field of time estimation has been publicized and brought him worldwide fame in the scientific community. The Attention Gate model, which he developed with Prof. Block, is accepted today as the leading model in the field. He has contributed to the understanding the time-pressure process and its’ influence on decision making and judgment and understanding the source of feeling of confidence after reaching a decision. He developed several courses for the Open University and contributed to the scientific knowledge in the field of road safety and developing processes meant to strengthen population resilience in Israel. His work contributed to improvement of the level of the management of senior managers in the public sector and in the management of institutes for troubled youth.

His research awarded him prizes, scholarships and tributes. Among other things his research won grants of study from leading foundations, among them the basic study fund of the Israeli academy and the bi-national Israel-United States fund. In honor of his accomplishments and scientific contribution he was nominated as a “Fellow” to the Association for Psychological Science. He has been elected a member of the scientific committee for a research project in the field of “Psychological Time” on behalf of the European Union.