2011 William James Fellow Award
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
John Jonides has substantially altered the field of cognitive neuroscience in ways that have important continuing impact. He has shown that neuroimaging data can be used to enhance what is known from behavioral data and contribute to the development of cognitive models that include an understanding of brain function.
For example, Jonides has demonstrated that the differentiation between working memory for maintenance of mental representations and manipulation of information, as well as the distinction between verbal and spatial representations theorized from behavioral studies, is verified by brain activity, and that the differences in function are greater than previously hypothesized. Similarly, his use of imaging methods to study executive function in healthy participants as well as brain-injured, aging, and mentally ill participants has provided seminal data and theories.
Jonides has been a leader in developing better parametric analytic methods for the use of neuroimaging in cognitive psychology, to establish dissociations between different cognitive mechanisms. He has developed an intensive summer course that introduces researchers from across the country to these innovative imaging and analytical tools. This course is just one representation of his history as a superb and innovative teacher and mentor. And his University Undergraduate Opportunity Program is regarded as the gold standard for hands-on training of women and minority students, increasing their retention in science, technology, engineering, and mathematical fields. Jonides has been an energetic mentor to students and faculty.