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Anne Treisman is Winner of the 2009 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology

Treisman has worked to help explain how our brains build meaningful images from the bits of information we see.

  
Anne Treisman is Winner of the 2009 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology

Each year, the Grawemeyer Foundation at the University of Louisville awards up to $1 million ($200,000 each) to leaders in five categories: music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology, education, and religion. Nominations in the category of Psychology are judged on the basis of originality, creativity, scientific merit, and breadth of impact on the field.

Earlier this month, Anne Treisman, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at Princeton University, was announced as the 2009 prize winner. Selected from among 28 nominations, Treisman has worked to help explain how our brains build meaningful images from the bits of information we see. In 1980 she proposed that attention consists of the brain quickly scanning features such as size, shape, color, and motion and relating them as a whole. Consequently, a wide array of study was prompted by and continues from this initial theory of feature integration.

Today, scientists use this concept to address a broad range of real-world applications such as improving weapons detection at security checkpoints, aiding in the design of stimulating classrooms for children, and even improving our ability to tell pills apart. In addition, work by Treisman and her colleagues has had a positive impact on our understanding of certain medical conditions such as Balints’ Syndrome, which renders people unable to distinguish more than one object at a time.

Treisman has received many awards in the past, among them the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution in 1990. She has also served on the editorial boards for several journals including the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.

Currently, her research interests include visual perception of objects and the role of attention, integration of information in perception of moving and changing objects, perceptual learning, visual memory for objects and events, and the coding of shape and motion.

Click here for more information about the Grawemeyer Awards, including recipient bios, past recipients, and information regarding the nomination process.