2012 Howard Crosby Warren Medal

Robert M. Nosofsky, Indiana University

Citation: “for his singular achievement in developing and testing exemplar models of cognition, with particular focus on the critical importance of psychological similarity and attention.”

Robert Nosofsky has provided penetrating analyses of classification, concept formation, and category learning. His Generalized Context Model has led the field for many years and has been elaborated in newer models applied to a variety of different issues in cognitive psychology such as memory scanning. Nosofsky’s research began with applying predictions of his model to basic perceptual stimuli, such as colors or slants of lines.

Over the years he ambitiously applied the model to more complex items, including faces, and even to more abstract stimuli such as linguistic or semantic stimuli. His model was developed on the basis of, and tested by, a host of superbly crafted empirical studies. One hallmark of his theoretical and empirical contributions is that the model makes predictions for a variety of measures, including in some cases predictions of detailed reaction time distributions at the level of individual stimuli within concept structures.

He recently developed the Generalized Context Model into an exemplar-based random walk model and applied it to the classic Sternberg item-recognition (memory scanning) paradigm. Predictions of the model were remarkably congruent at the level of individual response-time distributions across a wide range of short-term item-recognition tasks. Nosofsky has also applied his models to issues of explicit and implicit classification, calling into question the need for the distinction. Nosofky’s program of research exemplifies the best applications of mathematical models to thorny empirical problems with successful resolution.

Tonight, for his significant theoretical and empirical contributions to our science, the Society of Experimental Psychologists awards the Howard Crosby Warren Medal to Robert M. Nosofsky.

2012 Norman Anderson Lifetime Achievement Award

Robert A. Bjork, University of California, Los Angeles

Citation: “for his programmatic and innovative investigations of adaptive aspects of learning, memory, and forgetting.”

Bob Bjork has made major contributions to numerous aspects of our understanding of learning, memory, and forgetting spanning 5 decades. The scope and extent of Bjork’s work is both sweeping and highly programmatic: He has been a pioneer in research on directed forgetting, retrieval-induced forgetting, the role of desirable difficulties and testing effects in learning, metacognition and learning, and applications of laboratory research to educational practice. These seemingly diverse topics are linked conceptually in Bjork’s work by a theoretical and empirical emphasis on the adaptive functions of memory. Some of Bjork’s most impactful work on this theme is reflected by his pursuit of theoretical ideas such as the initially counterintuitive but now widely accepted notion that forgetting serves adaptive functions. Bjork’s scientific impact on the field is well-reflected in the chapters and testimonials collected together in the 2011 festschrift volume that honors his life and work, Successful remembering and successful forgetting: A festschrift in honor of Robert A. Bjork.

In addition to his major scientific contributions to cognitive psychology, Bjork also has made an impact through his exemplary service to the field. He served as Editor of Memory & Cognition from 1981 to 1985 and later as Editor of Psychological Review from 1995-2000. Bob was also one of the founders of a major new journal, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, and served as its Co-editor from 1998- 2004, and chaired the influential National Research Council Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance from 1988-1994. Reflecting his leadership skills and general wisdom, Bjork is a Past-President of the Association for Psychological Science and Western Psychological Association, and served as Chair of the Psychonomic Society, the Council of Editors of the American Psychological Association, the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology and, appropriately enough, SEP.

Tonight, the Society of Experimental Psychologists honors his scientific achievements by presenting the 2012 Norman Anderson Lifetime Achievement Award to Robert A. Bjork.