Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Anderson, John R.
Location Carnegie Mellon University
Primary Field Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
 Election Citation
Anderson is a world leader in cognition and cognitive science. His computer simulation theory, ACT, tested in empirical studies, explicated perception, memory, learning, language, problem solving, and skill development (and was used to develop mathematics computer tutors). He developed the "adaptive" approach, in which cognition adjusts to environmental constraints.
 Research Interests
The goal of my research is to understand how human cognition is integrated to produce intelligent behavior. We have developed a theory called ACT that attempts to simulate human cognition at a temporal grain size of tens of milliseconds. In outline, this theory predicts that human cognition involves a three step cycle: (1) In response to the current state of mental activity an action is selected; (2) This action can result in new information being retrieved from the environment and memory; (3) This information updates the current state and the cycle begins again. This theory has had two major applications. First, it has been used by various researchers to model detailed results from psychology laboratories in various tasks involving domains such as attention, memory, problem solving, and language. Second, it has been used as the basis for developing training programs in academic domains like high school mathematics and dynamic tasks like air traffic control. As a new, third direction, we are currently working on mapping the theory into results from neural imaging.

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