New Psychological Science Associate Editor Peter C. Gordon

Peter C. Gordon, director of the graduate program in cognitive psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been named Associate Editor of Psychological Science.

Gordon plans to continue the PS tradition of publishing commendable, timely research on a diverse array of topics. “PS is a great journal,” he said. “It publishes very high quality papers that are of general interest and that are fairly short. Those characteristics make being an Associate Editor very rewarding. The particular mission of PS makes balancing scientific rigor with novelty and breadth of interest the primary goal.”

Gordon brings to his role expertise in memory and language comprehension. He has recently been involved in a National Science Foundation grant-funded project studying the function of human memory during language comprehension. The research focus is on working memory, which keeps track of information during complex tasks such as identifying and interpreting parts of sentences. Gordon is interested in how language processing is affected by the proximity of similar expressions.

He has also been involved in an NSF program on interactive and intermedia technology, studying the convertibility of text between written and spoken forms. The goal of this program is to understand the differences in representation and the comprehension strategies for both modalities. These differences include the hierarchical organization in written language, such as paragraphs and headings, in contrast to the prosodic features, such as rate, intonation, and stress, that permeate speech. This information facilitates the use of convertible text in language-based user interfaces.

Gordon recalled some advice from PS editor James Cutting: ‘You cannot publish papers that have not been submitted to the journal.’ “That statement reminded me,” Gordon said, “that the real contribution of an editor is to the journal’s readers and authors, all of whom are best served if the editor gets strong reviews and exercises good judgment in an expeditious manner.” Gordon, who earned his PhD from the University of Michigan, also serves as a consulting editor for the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, and as an editorial board member and action editor at Cognitive Psychology. He has been a reviewer for over 20 different journals in the fields of cognitive psychology, cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, and cognitive neuroscience and language.

But Gordon may see little time to freelance his skills in the future. “Becoming an associate editor at PS meant getting an almost instantaneous workload,” he said. “Handling it has been challenging but fun.”

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Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of profiles on the Psychological Science associate editors.

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