Joel S. Warm, PhD

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Joel S. Warm, PhD

In Memory Of… Joel S. Warm

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

Joel S. Warm, PhD (1933-2017)
Air Force Research Laboratory, WPAFB
Professor Emeritus of Psychology
University of Cincinnati


Professor Warm joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati shortly after receiving his doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of Alabama in 1966 and completing post-doctoral training in human factors under the direction of Earl Alluisi at the University of Louisville. Currently, he was Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Cincinnati, Senior Scientist at the Warfighter Interface Division, Human Effectiveness Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and Distinguished Researcher in the Human Factors Group of the University of Dayton Research Institute.

Professor Warm was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. He had served on two National Research Council committees, was an Associate Editor of Human Factors and a member of the editorial board of Theoretical Issues in Ergonomic Science. Professor Warm was honored by the UC Graduate School for his outstanding contribution to the training of graduate students. He received the Paul M. Fitts Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Education and Training of Human Factors Specialists by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the Franklin V. Taylor Award from Division 21 of the American Psychological Association for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Applied and Engineering Psychology, and the Science Mentoring Award from the Human Effectiveness Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, WPAFB.

Professor Warm had coauthored or edited four books and dozens of book chapters. He had presented well over two hundred papers at professional meetings and had authored or coauthored more than one hundred articles in refereed journals, including the most prestigious experimental psychology journals: Psychological Bulletin, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Contemporary Psychology, the British Journal of Psychology, the American Journal of Psychology, Psychonomic Science, Perception & Psychophysics, the Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, Motivation and Emotion, and the Journal of General Psychology. He had also published in major journals in human factors, such as Human Factors, Ergonomics, Theoretical Issues in Ergonomic Science, and the International Journal of Aviation Psychology and in neuropsychology including Psychophysiology, the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, Neuropsychologica, Brain and Cognition, and NeuroImage.

In his forty-two years as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cincinnati, Professor Warm taught dozens of people how to conduct research. Joel always held that a four-hour exam during which students lose several quarts of blood was a pop quiz. He founded the psychology department’s graduate program in human factors, chaired forty-six dissertations and fifty-six master’s theses and served as a committee member on numerous others. Many of his students have gone on to serve with distinction as teachers and researchers at universities; many have taken influential positions in government and the private sector, conducting applications of experimental psychology.

Professor Warm had been a major force in perception research for nearly four decades. He had accomplished far more than cumulative science: His contribution to the field had laid the theoretical and methodological foundation for expanding the horizons of research and its applications. He continued to break new ground and open new avenues for better understanding human perception by establishing linkages among attention, human performance, and the cognitive and physiological processes that underlie them. His contributions to the field of perception were literally multimodal, including the visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and time perception temporal modes, and relations between modalities. His recent work had entered the realm of psychophysiology, pioneering the study of the relations between performance in sustained attention tasks and cerebral blood flow velocity. This ongoing programmatic work would shape further developments in the current cognitive resource theory of attention and vigilance by articulating more precisely how energetic resources were manifested. His major substantive contributions include:

  • Establishing a link between performance in sustained attention and the workload associated with such tasks.
  • Contributing to the theoretical understanding of sustained attention through both his empirical research and his synergistic efforts.
  • Publishing important research on basic perceptual processes associated with cross-modality perception and perceptual illusions.
  • Conducting important research on the practical application of tactile perception to detection.
  • Performing seminal research on the influence of olfactory stimulation on sustained attention.


Individuals Honoring Joel S. Warm:  

Ami Becker
Raymond Fowler
Sandra Fowler
Traci L. Galinsky
Diane Halpern, Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute
Peter Hancock, University of Central Florida
Ted Hitchcock, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Cindy Laurie-Rose, Otterbein University
Libby Moore
Raja Parasuraman, George Mason University
Wendy Rogers, Georgia Institute of Technology
Ben D, Sawyer, University of Central Florida
Mark Scerbo, Old Dominion University
Tyler Shaw, George Mason University
Jeremy Wolfe, Harvard Medical School 

 * The FABBS Foundation would like to thank Dr. Diane Halpern for nominating Dr. Warm for this honor and for leading the effort to spread the word about his nomination.


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