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This is largely because many of his writing remained inaccessible to the Western world until quite recently. It was during the s that many of his writings were translated from Russian, but his work has become enormously influential in recent decades, particularly in the fields of educational psychology and child development.

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While his premature death at age 38 put a halt to his work, he went on to become one of the most frequently cited psychologists of the 20th-century. Have you ever wondered what your personality type means? Sign up to get these answers, and more, delivered straight to your inbox. Haggbloom SJ. More in Psychology. Jean Piaget Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development had a profound influence on psychology, especially the understanding of children's intellectual growth. Sigmund Freud.

10 Most Influential Psychologists

Albert Bandura Albert Bandura's work is considered part of the cognitive revolution in psychology that began in the late s. Leon Festinger Leon Festinger developed the theories of cognitive dissonance and social comparison. William James Psychologist and philosopher William James is often referred to as the father of American psychology. Ivan Pavlov. Carl Rogers Carl Rogers placed emphasis on human potential, which had an enormous influence on both psychology and education. Erik Erikson. Lev Vygotsky Lev Vygotsky was a contemporary of some better-known psychologists including Piaget, Freud, Skinner, and Pavlov, yet his work never achieved the same eminence during his lifetime.

Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Sign Up. What are your concerns? Article Sources. Albert Bandura's Influence on the Field of Psychology. Pictures of Famous Psychologists. Sigmund Freud's Life and Contributions to Psychology. Jean Piaget's Life and Contributions to Psychology. The 7 Major Schools of Thought in Psychology. Explore the Life and Theories of Carl Rogers. Stanley Hall's Important Contributions to Psychology.

How Learning Theories in Psychology Compare. Albert Ellis' Influence on the Field of Psychology. Educational Psychology History and Perspectives. Sociocultural Theory: Examples and Applications. Verywell Mind uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Davidson was born in New York City in Davidson is famous for espousing Buddhist traditions of mindfulness and meditation as important empirical phenomena worthy of scientific investigation, as well as important techniques for achieving inner peace and spiritual growth.

Davidson is a close friend of the 14th Dalai Lama and himself meditates regularly. Davidson has published many peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. He is also the author, co-author, or editor of more than a dozen books. Diener was born in Glendale, California, in All other life circumstances education, marital status, financial status, etc. However, Diener found that, all other factors being equal, extraverts still tend to be happier than introverts, leading to the hypothesis that the extraverted personality type is inherently more rewarding, fostering happiness that leads to gregarious behavior, not the other way around.


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In short, people find happy people attractive. In other work, Diener has found that subjective well-being has measurable positive effects on health and longevity. On the contrary, Diener has found that many people do not bounce back from devastating life events, and never return to their previous level of subjective well-being. The good news is that since the so-called set-point for subjective well-being appears not to be immutable, therapeutic intervention may potentially be beneficial.

Finally, in recent years Diener has begun to explore some of the implications of his findings for politics and public policy, notably in a widely read paper he co-wrote with Martin Seligman see below , Beyond Money: Toward an Economy of Well-Being. Diener, who has a very high citation h-index score of , has published more than peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

He is also the author, co-author, or editor of some dozen books. Ekman was born in Washington, DC, in Following a one-year internship at the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, a teaching hospital which is part of the Department of Psychiatry of the University of California, San Francisco, Ekman obtained his PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University in He has developed a highly detailed atlas of emotions linked to more than 10, distinguishable facial expressions.

His work has been widely influential, but also controversial. This claim flies in the face of the deeply entrenched relativism within the field of cultural anthropology. In another example, Ekman has done extensive work on the differences between spontaneous genuine and simulated deceptive emotions which may be detected in facial expressions.

This work has given rise to various screening techniques some of which have been adopted by the Transportation Security Administration which Ekman claims provide us with the best lie detection technology available today. However, the studies Ekman has carried out to back up these claims have come under sustained criticism. Ekman has published some peer-reviewed journal articles or book chapters, and is the author, co-author, or editor of some 15 books.

Fahrenberg was born in Berlin in Following undergraduate and graduate studies in psychology, sociology and philosophy in Freiburg, London, and Hamburg, Fahrenberg did his doctoral and post-doctoral work at the University of Freiburg, completing his Habilitationsschrift on the psychophysiological roots of personality there in Fahrenberg co-founded the Psychophysiology Research Group PRG at the University of Freiburg in , and in he became Chair of the Psychology Department, a position he held until his retirement in From this academic perch, Fahrenberg exerted a major influence on psychology throughout the German-speaking world and beyond.

At the PRG, he conducted pioneering research in a number of fields, including the neural correlates of personality, the link between personality and illness, cardiovascular rehabilitation, and life satisfaction. The PRG also developed innovative forms of physiological monitoring of subjects, known as ambulatory monitoring or ambulatory assessment, to assist in research on behavior in everyday situations.

In addition, the PRG also developed a number of important tests and personality scales, notably, the Freiburg Personality Inventory FPI , which is comparable to the American 16PF Questionnaire and is the most frequently used such assessment tool in German-speaking countries. Fahrenberg has co-authored some journal articles with other members of the PRG, as well as editing a number of textbooks. In his later years, Fahrenberg also published a number of articles on the history of psychology as a scientific discipline, the philosophy of science, and the conceptual interactions between psychology and philosophy.

Gardner was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in After a stint at the London School of Economics, he returned to Harvard, where he obtained his PhD in developmental psychology in , working under the supervision of famed developmental psychologist Jerome Bruner and philosopher Nelson Goodman. He is currently the John H. Gardner is a developmental psychologist who has primarily focused on child development and the psychology of education.

He is without a doubt best known for his theory of multiple intelligences —-the highly influential idea that the sort of intelligence measured by standardized IQ tests is only one among a variety of types of intelligence deployed by human beings in their interactions with the world around them especially the social world. A number of observers have pointed out that there is very little empirical support for the theory. It must be said, too, that while many educators pay lip service to the theory, they have been slow putting it into practice in an everyday classroom setting.

In later years, Gardner began exploring the implications of the theory of multiple intelligences for other areas, such as business school training. Gardner has close to peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters to his credit, not to mention several hundred op-ed pieces, essays, blog posts, and other articles aimed at a popular audience. He is also the author-, co-author, or editor of some 50 books. Among the most widely known and celebrated of living psychologists, he has won far too many awards, prizes, grants, fellowships, and honorary degrees to mention here.

Gergen was born in Rochester, New York, in The idea behind social constructivism is that for human beings reality is neither given by the physical world nor conjured up by the individual mind, but rather constructed collectively by a given society or culture. Moreover, he rejects the ideal of rationality usually associated with the social sciences, pointing out that such ideals themselves derive from particular historically and culturally bound structures.

Gergen has published more than peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, as well as popular articles, op-eds pieces, and the like. He is also the author, co-author, or editor of almost 40 books. He has received numerous honorary degrees and has occupied visiting professorships at a multitude of universities all around the world.

Gilbert was born in Gilbert works at the intersection of social psychology and cognitive psychology, with a focus on the way in which cognitive biases regarding the projected impact of individual choices on happiness affective forecasting may have wide-ranging societal and political implications. Simply put, affective forecasting is the calculation we all make all the time, consciously or subconsciously, when faced with any decision—-generally speaking, we choose the option or the course of action that we believe will lead to the greatest increase in our overall happiness.

The problem is that we are not very good at affective forecasting, which is beset by the kind of cognitive fallacies and illusions studied by several other psychologists on this list Dan Ariely, Daniel Kahneman. For example, most subjects exaggerate the satisfaction they believe they will derive from possessing objects in comparison with having experiences vacations, entertainment and cultivating social ties with family and friends.

He therefore urges us to redirect our energies towards ordinary, everyday experiences with family and friends, if we would be happy. It was there that she worked closely with developmental psychologists Erik Erikson and Lawrence Kohlberg. Gilligan felt that girls and women attain moral maturity by a different path; more importantly, she argued that moral decision-making by women in general takes place in a different voice than that by men. In developing her ideas, she came to characterize male morality as primarily rule-based and focused on the individual as the primary bearer of rights and duties and as the locus of judgments of moral desert; whereas women, she held, reason morally from a care perspective that is primarily concerned with empathy and compassion, and focused on needs, relationships, and group interests.

From her right flank, as it were, some critics have claimed that her work lacks sufficient empirical support; while from her left flank, she has been charged with essentialism and giving aid and comfort to the patriarchy. Gilligan is the author or co-author or some peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and is the author, co-author, or editor of nine academic books, as well as a novel.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, prizes, and honorary degrees. Goleman was born in Stockton, California, in Later, Goleman worked primarily as a literary journalist and freelance writer. During the early part of his academic career, Goleman arranged for several extended stays in India and Sri Lanka, in pursuit of his interest in Asian traditions of meditation. The result was his first book, originally published in , on the different types of meditative techniques that he found there.

It was to the confluence of these dual streams of ancient meditative practice and modern neuroscience that he owed the breakthrough work that was soon to come. In this book, Goleman studies the emotions from biological, evolutionary, psychological, philosophical, and commonsense perspectives, showing the central role they play, not just in our affective life per se , but in all aspects of human cognition and action.

Gopnik was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in She is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, with an affiliate appointment in the Philosophy Department. Gopnik has worked at the intersection of developmental psychology and cognitive science. In particular, she noted early in her career that the mathematical models she was attempting to develop to represent the way infants learn to interact successfully with the world around them were formally similar to Bayesian networks, an application of graph theory to the theory of probability that had been independently developed by philosophers of science to try to understand the way science works, especially in the form of non-deductive logical inference induction and inference to the best explanation.

This was a highly significant observation for at least two reasons: first, it provided a kind of empirical confirmation that Bayesian networks really do capture something important about scientific reasoning; and, second, it powerfully demonstrated that babies are already capable of employing far more sophisticated methods of discovery than one might have imagined absent such evidence.

The wide-ranging book in which Gopnik reported these and many other findings to a popular audience, The Philosophical Baby , was a runaway bestseller. Gopnik is the author or co-author of more than peer-reviewed journal articles or book chapters, as well as the author, co-author, or editor of six books. The recipient of numerous awards, grants, fellowships, lectureships, and honorary degrees, in Gopnik was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Haidt was born in New York City in One of his papers, The Emotional Dog and Its Rational Tail [4] —which argues that we mostly make moral judgments on an intuitive basis, reserving moral reasoning for the ex post facto justification of decisions already made—-has been cited more than times.

Haidt first became widely known for his work in the field of positive psychology happiness research , especially for his book, The Happiness Hypothesis. In this book, he draws heavily on work in cultural anthropology which shows that certain character traits are recognized as embodying wisdom the world over.

Next, Haidt turned his attention to developing an empirically based typology of the moral emotions moral foundations theory. His five categories are: caring; fairness; group loyalty; respect for authority; and purity sanctity.

A Look at Eminent Thinkers in Psychology

In his most recent book, The Righteous Mind , Haidt argues that those on the political left tend to honor only the first two of these moral principles, while those on the political right honor all five of them. He further argues that the only way to narrow the divide between left and right is for those on both sides to be more conscious of the moral categories the other side is operating with. Very recently, Haidt has taken a lot of heat from the cultural left by suggesting that there needs to be a greater diversity of opinion in American academia. Among other things, he has co-founded the Heterodox Academy to further that end.

Haidt is the author or co-author of more than peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Kagan was born in Newark, New Jersey, in Kagan began his career working on longitudinal studies designed to reveal whether early childhood experiences have lasting effects on the development of personality. He found that character traits are relatively buffered from any lasting effects of early traumatic experiences, and indeed are quite stable across the entire life cycle.

Next, Kagan turned his attention to temperament—-relatively stable personality types. He defined two such basic temperaments: inhibited shy, timid, socially withdrawn and uninhibited bold and socially outgoing. These analyses have been widely influential, both within the profession and among laymen; however, Kagan stressed that such knowledge is of only limited therapeutic usefulness, given that temperament arises out of a complex interaction between genes and environment, both of which are beyond our effective control.

A Study Guide for Psychologists and Their Theories for Students: LAWRENCE KOHLBERG

In recent years, Kagan has turned his attention to a series of problems he finds with the psychological profession itself, including: disregarding the difference in settings in which experimental studies are conducted; basing theories and practices on single measures, rather than complex, multi-dimensional measurements; defining mental illnesses on the basis of symptoms without regard for etiology; and treating disorders with drugs that are non-specific for the disorder.

In his most recent work, Kagan has written several books for a popular audience with the aim of pushing back against the tidal wave of materialist reductionism the idea that the mind is nothing but the brain in psychology and the wider culture. Kagan is the author or co-author of some peer-reviewed journal articles and books chapters, as well as the author, co-author, or editor of more than 30 books.

However, he was raised in Paris, where his parents had emigrated from Lithuania.

After spending the war years in hiding in Nazi-occupied France, the family emigrated to Israel permanently in Kahneman is chiefly known for founding together with his long-time collaborator, Amos Tversky, who died in the academic discipline now known as behavioral economics. Traditional economic theory had always assumed that human beings are rational actors, which means they can generally be relied upon to act in ways they perceive as furthering their own best interests. This idea was called rational choice theory or expected utility theory.

Kahneman and Tversky felt that rational choice theory was unrealistic, and they set out to develop more empirically adequate models by making the more realistic assumption of bounded rationality. Bounded rationality is the idea that, not only are human actors constrained by emotional factors such as irrational aversions and prejudices, they are simply not very good at reasoning correctly about certain kinds of situations especially ones involving probabilities.

Kahneman and Tversky made a special study of the irrational bias they called loss aversion —-the common feeling that it is better to avoid losing something than it is to gain the same thing. According to this theory, the fast system has been hard-wired in us by evolution to enable us to react quickly to stressful situations based on rough-and-ready, heuristic behavioral propensities.

The slow system, on the other hand, allows us to reflect upon our experience in a more relaxed and thoughtful way. Kahneman has authored or co-authored some peer-reviewed journal article and book chapters, and is the author, co-author, or editor of seven books. Kurzban was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in He is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

As a student of Cosmides, Kurzban belongs to the second generation of evolutionary psychologists on evolutionary psychology, see the entry for David M. In a nutshell, he attempts to identify the selective advantage of particular human social behavioral traits in the context of our environment of evolutionary adaptedness EEA. To cite one well-known example from his work, Kurzban has argued that human beings undoubtedly possess an innate tendency to notice facial and other morphological features of people different from themselves, due to the social context of small-scale hunter-gatherer bands within which hominization occurred.

However, while to our modern eyes this history may appear unfortunate, giving rise to racism, the tendency itself is not really linked to race as such which is in any case a modern social construct. Kurzban has applied similar reasoning to other phenomena such as cooperation, morality, and mate choice drawing out implications for modern speed dating! Most recently, he has been a key player in the debate over the modularity of brain functions, a crucial assumption underlying evolutionary psychology.

He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Evolution and Human Behavior , and is the author or co-author of around peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, as well as the author, co-author, or editor of seven books. Lewis was born in France in He is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex. The focus of his doctoral work was on the treatment of phobias and general anxiety states. Lewis originally intended to become a doctor, but never received his medical degree. During his time in medical school, he earned his living by his pen he published his first novel at the age of 16!

After leaving medical school, Lewis worked full-time for the next 10 years as a freelance journalist, photographer, and writer. During this period, he also worked in broadcast journalism, mainly as a presenter for the BBC on the radio and television. It was only after these experiences that he decided to pursue his higher education in psychology, as already outlined above. After graduation, Lewis taught for a while, before qualifying as a Chartered Psychologist and setting up in private practice, where, building upon his graduate school studies, he specialized in treating phobias and anxiety.

During this time, he pioneered a new type of therapy called neurofeedback, whereby patients monitor their own brain states in real time in response to various positive and negative stimuli, eventually learning to improve control over their emotions. Lewis also conducted research into the interaction between breathing and emotion, which resulted in a new form of breath-control therapy Bo-tau for controlling anxiety, phobic responses, and panic attacks.

What is psychology and what does it involve?

Moreover, he has used his insights into the way the mind and body work together to develop training programs in other fields of endeavor, such as sports and business. In addition, he is considered to be the father of neuromarketing, a discipline which uses fMRI and other technology to study how prospective consumers respond to advertisements and other marketing stimuli. The author or co-author of more than 30 books, many of them bestsellers, Lewis is in high demand as a public speaker. He is also Director of Research at Mindlab International , an internationally recognized neuromarketing firm.

Linehan was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in Patients suffering from BPD present with extremely volatile emotions and disturbed thinking, without crossing the line into full-blown schizophrenia—-hence the notion that they occupy a borderline between neurosis and psychosis. Co-morbidities of BPD include clinical depression, bipolar disorder, self-harm, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation. Linehan has revealed that she herself was extremely troubled as an adolescent in retrospect, she believes she suffered from BPD and spent two years in a mental hospital, submitting to the relatively crude treatments then available.

This experience lay at the root of her determination to study her own condition scientifically. As she put it many years later:. Linehan was initially drawn to cognitive-behavioral therapy CBT , with its emphasis on helping patients to re-frame their conflicts in a more realistic way to enable them to gain sufficient detachment to bring their emotions under better voluntary control on CBT, see the entry for Aaron T.

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Beck, above. Soon, however, she felt that another component was needed—-religious faith. Linehan has written that her Catholic faith played an important role in her own eventual recovery. As an evidence-based therapy, DBT is considered by many experts to be the most effective treatment available for BPD and allied illnesses. Linehan is the author or co-author of around peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and is the author or co-author of seven books and manuals, several of which have been translated into many foreign languages.

Beginning in the s, she conducted a series of experiments designed to reveal the stability of memory of recent events in the light of contradictory information given to the subject after the fact. Her conclusions showed that it is easy to convince people that their memories are incorrect, and even to cause them to change what they claim to remember—-a phenomenon she dubbed the misinformation effect. Generalizing from such laboratory studies, Loftus concluded that human memories are constantly being reconstructed, and hence are far more malleable and open to suggestion than previously thought.

Loftus and her work rocketed to fame in the early s when she gave expert testimony in a series of court cases involving the phenomenon of so-called repressed memory. At that time, the idea that the memory of traumatic events might be repressed and only recalled years or even decades later under questioning by experts had taken hold of the public imagination.

Prominent cases involved purported mass child molestation and Satanic rituals. Loftus is the author or co-author of close to peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, as well as the author, co-author, or editor more than 20 books. Meltzoff was born in Meltzoff began his career by studying the ability of very young infants to imitate adult facial expressions and manual gestures, culminating in a landmark paper published in , [6] in which Meltzoff and co-author M.

Keith Moore established conclusively that infants as young as two weeks old are capable of reliably imitating adult expressions and gestures—-one of the first results to demonstrate that neonates possess far more sophisticated cognitive abilities than anyone had hitherto suspected. Subsequent studies demonstrated similar abilities in newborns within the first hour after birth.

These findings were revolutionary in several respects, not least in light of their cross-modal character vision and proprioception , which implied the existence of a highly developed innate cognitive faculty in newborns. As a result of his decades of research on infants, Meltzoff stresses the importance of infant imitation for laying the proper foundations for the normal development of our very humanity:. Meltzoff is the author or co-author of more than peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and has co-authored or edited four books, including three in collaboration with Alison Gopnik see above.

The recipient of many awards, grants, and honorary degrees, Meltzoff sits on the editorial board of eight academic journals and the advisory board or board of trustees of four foundations. Miller was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in His dissertation, written under the supervision of Roger N. Miller has done research in a number of different areas of psychology, above all, in evolutionary psychology, and especially in two sub-fields within that discipline: human sexual selection and the new field of evolutionary consumer psychology.

On evolutionary psychology in general, see the discussion under the entry for David M. Sexual selection, in a nutshell, is the idea that the sexes may sometimes evolve independently of each other through adaptations geared specifically to the mating preferences of the opposite sex. Miller is especially known for his work on updating famed statistician Ronald A. The extravagant antlers of the extinct Irish elk are often cited as a case in point.

Miller has argued that the human brain, whose rapid size increase he believes was due to intense sexual selection pressure, is a Fisherian runaway, and that therefore we should be very careful about the effects of our intelligence on our long-term survival. Miller has also been at the forefront of developing the new field of evolutionary consumer psychology, which basically uses the logic of sexual selection to explain many features of modern consumer society, by linking them with high social status in males as a marker of reproductive success.

All of this work is highly controversial, both inside the academy and out. Note : Walter Mischel passed on September 12, Mischel was born in Vienna, Austria, in His family fled to the US after the Anschluss in , settling in Brooklyn. Mischel is most closely associated with the claim, originally made in his book Personality and Assessment , that personality traits are highly context-dependent, and that the notion there is a stable personality which manifests uniformly over time and across varied social contexts, as previously believed, is a myth.

He did not deny the reality of a fundamental underlying personality altogether, but claimed that its expression is highly complex, and best characterized in terms of contextualized, conditional if-then patterns of behavior. Mischel devised a simple experimental situation in which a child was offered the choice between one immediate treat or two treats after a relatively brief lapse of time.

This became known as the marshmallow test after a favorite treat used by investigators. The experiment was run on large numbers of children who were then followed longitudinally, so that it became possible to correlate test results with various academic and life outcomes over time. Mischel found that many years later children who were able to delay gratification had superior academic achievement, greater family and job stability, and even higher earnings.

Mischel is the author or co-author of some peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, as well as the author or co-author of four books. He is the recipient of far too many grants, awards, prizes, honorary degrees, consultancies, and editorships to mention here. Nadel was born in New York City in Throughout his career, Nadel has worked on the neural underpinnings of memory, though he has also branched out into other fields, such as the neurobiology and treatment of Down Syndrome.

The hippocampus is a structure within the limbic system of the brain, between the cerebrum and the cerebellum. In later work, Nadel put forward what became known as the multiple trace theory of memory, according to which the hippocampus remains the principal neural structure involved in storage and retrieval of episodic memory recall of events we have experienced , while semantic memory recall of linguistically mediated facts, such as, for Americans, the significance of the year is based in the neocortex.

Nadel has also been involved in following up on some of the implications of his early studies on the hippocampus, notably in such areas as the relationship between stress and memory and sleep and memory, as well as memory re-consolidation and the memory deficits associated with Down syndrome. Nadel has authored or co-authored more than peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and is the author, co-author, or editor of some dozen books.

Pargament was born in Washington, DC, in He has focused on developing a systematic theoretical framework, both for conducting empirical research on religion and psychology and for developing assessments and interventions of practical relevance to helping professionals. For example, Pargament developed the RCOPE Questionnaire designed to measure religious coping strategies, which he believes may be usefully grouped into three broad categories. Correlatively, Pargament has identified four attitudes toward religion on the part of psychotherapists: rejectionists, who disdain religion and refuse to recognize any therapeutic value in it; exclusivists, who regard religion as an essential component of therapy for everyone regardless of belief; constructionists, who are willing to incorporate religion into therapy, but who deny the objective existence of transcendent or any other reality; and pluralists, who recognize the reality of the transcendent, but also acknowledge the validity of different approaches to it.

Pargament has courted controversy by questioning the overwhelmingly rejectionist status quo of the psychology profession, and by maintaining that religious training, preferably along pluralistic lines, ought to be a mandatory component of the education of psychotherapists. Pargament is the author or co-author of around peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, as well as the author or editor of five books.

Pinker was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in Pinker began his career with a focus on the computational theory of mind the idea that the brain is a computer and thinking a program , particularly in relation to language. In line with the well-known work of Noam Chomsky, Pinker further argued that the capacity for language is instinctive with respect to deep grammatical structure universal grammar , and that experience merely shapes this instinctive behavior into the specific forms surface grammar and lexicon of a particular language. Pinker was also involved during the s in a significant, if highly technical, dispute over connectionist models of mind and speech.

Connectionism, as it relates to cognitive psychology, is the idea that the form of computation employed by the mind is massively parallel, distributed processing—-as opposed to the serial processing used by an ordinary laptop. While this early psycholinguistics research won Pinker a solid reputation among his peers, it was his writings for a popular audience that made him a household name among the wider educated public.

His first book for a mass readership, The Language Instinct , drove home in elegant prose the inarguable importance of the innate language faculty for our humanity. Most recently, he maintained in The Better Angels of Our Nature that an objective analysis of human history gives reason for optimism, despite the fashionable pessimism of our cultural moment. Nor has it hurt that he is a well-known atheist activist, or that many of his books contain a subtext of secularist evangelism, weaving themes from evolutionary psychology throughout see the entry for David M. In addition to his many essays, book reviews, and op-ed pieces for the popular press, Pinker has published around peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and is the author, co-author, or editor of some 14 books.

He is the recipient of many grants, fellowships, awards, lectureships, editorships, and honorary degrees. Posner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in He obtained his PhD in psychology in from the University of Michigan. In the course of his research, he has developed several important new experimental techniques and protocols. For example, he has used electrooculography EOG technology, which precisely tracks eye movements using a set of electrodes surrounding the eyes, to create a new research protocol that bears his name. The Posner cueing task enables very precise measurement of reaction times using a special visual field chart he developed that interacts with the EOG device.

This information, in turn, can be used in a wide variety of ways, in both clinical and experimental settings. For example, in a clinical setting the Posner cueing task may be employed to assess attention deficits in a subject following brain injury. On a more theoretical plane, the protocol may facilitate various inferences about the nature of the neural computations underlying attention. Another protocol that Posner has played a crucial role in popularizing within the cognitive psychology community is the so-called subtractive method, which basically attempts to decompose a complex cognitive task into a sequence of simpler operations by comparing the effects of the presence and the absence of a given operation.

The functional roles of the simpler operations can then be more easily studied individually using the techniques already mentioned. Posner is the author or co-author of more than peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and the author, co-author, or editor of books. He is the recipient of far too many grants, fellowships, awards, prizes, honorary degrees, lectureships, editorships, and visiting professorships to mention, and has served on the boards of a great many academic bodies, research foundations, and government committees.

Rosch was born in New York City in Early in her career, she published under the name Eleanor Rosch Heider. Rosch works in the area of cognitive science which investigates the way the brain organizes and structures information about the world, also known as categorization. In human beings, mental categorization has both innate biological and acquired learned aspects.

The problem consists both in teasing these contributions apart, and also in giving them a more specific theoretical characterization. Rosch is especially known for several empirically based contributions, such as our reliance on prototypes to characterize categories. Finally, Rosch also did highly influential theoretical work that sought to clarify the very idea of categorization at a philosophical level. Here, she began by postulating two basic principles: first, the task of category systems is to provide maximum information with the least cognitive effort; second, the perceived world comes as structured information rather than as arbitrary or unpredictable attributes.

Note the studied equivocation in this formulation regarding the ontological status of the perceived world structure one might well wonder what the point of such a close mapping might be, if perceived world structure did not in turn map closely onto real world structure. In some cases, it even inspired whole new intellectual movements, such as object-oriented ontology now much employed in the design of computer databases. Rosch is the author or co-author of many peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and the co-author or co-editor of two books. Rutter was born in Lebanon, where his English father worked as a doctor, in