William James Fellow Award: David E. Meyer

David E. Meyer

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Meyer_DavidDavid E. Meyer has been one of the world’s leading cognitive and mathematical psychologists during the last four decades. His empirical and theoretical research has focused on several fundamental questions in the areas of semantic information organization and retrieval; executive mental processes in relation to working memory and multitasking; and the production of goal-directed action from perceptual, attentional, and motor processes. Meyer has drawn upon a diverse set of experimental methodologies and analytical techniques, and numerous important findings that extend across many topic areas of cognitive psychology have emerged from his research.

To understand the representation and retrieval of semantic information in long-term memory, Meyer (with his collaborator, Roger Schvaneveldt) developed a powerful paradigm for investigating the nature of word recognition based on “semantic priming.” This paradigm paved the way to many influential lines of research and to new theoretical models about the mechanisms of conscious and subconscious memory activation. Complementing these advances, Meyer’s research on the speed, timing, and coordination of component mental operations has greatly enhanced our understanding of human information processing. His efforts have also extended theoretical models of reaction time to account for individual differences in impulsivity. More recently, Meyer (with collaborator David Kieras) has developed a unified theory of cognition, Executive-Process Interactive Control (EPIC), which not only predicts the speed and accuracy of human performance during complex multitasking but also helps elucidate many other long-standing phenomena in the attention and performance literature.

Meyer also has a phenomenal track record of mentoring young scientists. His commitment to rigorous graduate training and his personal devotion to the well-being of his students have made his influence on their research and careers truly transformative, with long-lasting benefits of excellent technical skills, a broad base of substantive knowledge, and a unified creative research agenda.

See Meyer’s award address presented at the 2008 APS Annual Convention in Chigao, IL, USA.