Dosher, Barbara 2018 Atkinson Prize

Dosher, Barbara 2018 Atkinson Prize

Barbara Dosher, University of California, Irvine, received the 2018 Atkinson Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences.

Since the 1980s, Dosher has conducted groundbreaking and paradigm-shifting research into the behavior and neurology of human memory, attention processes, and learning using a combination of novel psychological techniques and elegant computational models. Her models describe, in explicit mathematical detail, how the brain represents information, makes decisions, and learns over time.

Dosher’s earliest analyses addressed speed/accuracy relationships, which detail the speed by which a cognitive or perceptual task can be performed and how many mistakes are made in performing that task. Later she turned to a fundamental cognitive question: “What is attention?” She studied the mechanisms of attention by investigating its possible influences: boosting the neural signal, reducing the neural noise, or increasing selectivity. More recently, her work has addressed models of perceptual learning, bringing updated methodologies and theoretical rigor to that entire field of study.

Much of Dosher’s work was so innovative upon first publication that it took several years for the mathematical and computational tools necessary to validate the research to emerge. Decades later, her work has consistently been proven to be substantially correct.

The Atkinson Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences is presented to honor significant advances in the psychological and cognitive sciences with important implications for formal and systematic theory in these fields.  Two prizes of $100,000 are presented biennially.  


Watch Dosher's Acceptance Speech »

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