Professor Lamberts, who is currently deputy vice-chancellor and provost of the University of Warwick, will take up the post next January. He will succeed Brian Cantor, who is returning to materials science research after 11 years as vice-chancellor.
Professor Lamberts joined Warwick from the University of Birmingham in 1998, rising to become head of the department of psychology in 2000 and chair of the Faculty of Science in 2007. After periods as pro vice-chancellor for research and pro vice-chancellor for academic resourcing, he became deputy vice-chancellor and provost in February 2012.
His own research into human perception and memory has won him prizes from the Experimental Psychology Society and the British Psychological Society.
Professor Lamberts said: “I am enormously proud to be chosen to lead this great university. In only 50 years, York has forged a reputation in the UK and internationally for its outstanding teaching and world-class research.”
University council chair Sir Chris O’Donnell described Professor Lamberts as “a talented leader with a strong commitment to excellence in learning, research and knowledge transfer”.