Roger N. Shepard

Stanford University


Primary Section: 52, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
Membership Type:
Member (elected 1977)

Research Interests

Some of my scientific interests are: (1) development of the methods of "nonmetric multidimensional scaling" widely used to extract quantitative information from qualitative data in the behavioral sciences (see Science, 1980); (2) computer synthesis of repeating tones heard as forever rising in musical pitch (J. Acoust. Soc. Amer., 1964); (3) demonstrations, with students, that people determine whether an object is the same shape as a differently oriented comparison object by mentally representing successive intermediate positions of the object at a measurable rate over the kinematically simplest transformational path (Mental Images and Their Transformations, MIT Press); (4) establishment of an exponential law of generalization for human and animal learning (Science, 1987); and (5) creation of instructive new visual illusions (Mind Sights, W. H. Freeman, 1990). The goal of my research is the formulation of universal mental laws that have evolved as reflections of universal regularities of the world. I am currently investigating how our implicit knowledge is converted into explicit physical laws through thought experiments.

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