Barbara Tversky, PhD


Barbara Tversky, PhD

In Honor Of… Barbara Tversky

Honoring scientists who have made important and lasting contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior.

Barbara Tversky, PhD
Professor of Psychology and Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
Professor Emeritus
Stanford University


Barbara Tversky has made groundbreaking contributions to at least four areas in cognitive psychology. In the field of memory, some of her early work helped establish the roles of pictorial and verbal codes in long-term memory. In categorization, her research showed how the parts of a thing relate to its function and thus shape categories. In spatial cognition, one of her many contributions has been to characterize the spatial framework in which people locate objects near their bodies. In event perception, she has shown how perceivers segment ongoing activity into meaningful events and how this relates to learning and task performance. One characteristic that unifies these bodies of work is the high degree of creativity evident in each. Another is that, in each area, Tversky has opened up new topics of inquiry into which other researchers have enthusiastically followed. A characteristic of Tversky’s research is a persistent interest in the relations between people’s cognitive systems and the technologies they use to augment and reconstitute those cognitive systems—from cave paintings to scientific diagrams to cartoons to computerized visualization. As a result of making these connections, her work is cited widely by computer scientists, educators, architects, and geographers as well as by her fellow psychologists.

In addition to her scientific work, Tversky has been tireless in her efforts on behalf of the behavioral and brain sciences in the USA and worldwide, serving on executive committees and governing boards for the Cognitive Science Society and the International Union of Psychological Sciences, and serving on innumerable program committees and organizing committees.

Barbara Tversky is Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. She received her B.A., M.A., and PhD degrees all from the University of Michigan, the latest in 1969. After positions at Hebrew University, the University of Oregon, and the University of Michigan, she settled at Stanford University, where she taught and researched from 1977 through 2006, when she moved to Teacher College at Columbia University. Tversky has received awards and fellowships from the American Psychological Society, the Cognitive Science Society, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Society for Experimental Psychology, and Phi Beta Kappa. 


Individuals Honoring Barbara Tversky:

Lera Boroditsky, Stanford University
Gordon Bower, Stanford University
James E. Corter, Teachers College, Columbia University
Elizabeth M. Dorland, Washington University, St. Louis
Karen D. Emmorey, San Diego State University
Nancy Franklin, Stony Brook University
Morton Ann Gernsbacher, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Richard D. Gonzalez, University of Michigan
Norma V. Graham, Columbia University
Eric Johnson, Columbia University
Angela M. Kessell, NASA
Paul U. Lee
Ellen Levy, LinkedIn
Walter Mischel, Columbia University
Julie B. Morrison, Glendale Community College, AZ
Morris Moschovitch, University of Toronto
Laura R. Novick, Vanderbilt University
James R. Pomerantz, Rice University
Mireille Rodet, University of Geneva
Eldar Shafir, Princeton University
* Elke U. Weber, Columbia University
Deanna Wilkes-Gibbs 
Leslie Zacks, The Elsevier Foundation
* Jeffrey Zacks, Washington University, St. Louis

 * The FABBS Foundation would like to thank Dr. Elke U. Weber and Dr. Jeffrey Zacks for nominating Dr. Tversky for this honor and for leading the effort to spread the word about her nomination.



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