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Michael Posner Awarded National Medal of Science

This leader in cognitive neuroscience will receive the U.S. government's highest scientific honor.

On September 17, psychologist Michael Posner was named as one of nine individuals selected for the 2009 National Medal of Science. Posner will join the other recipients at a White House ceremony on October 7 for the official presentation.

Posner is professor emeritus at the University of Oregon, where he has served on the faculty since 1965. He earned his PhD in psychology at the University of Michigan in 1962. Posner is considered one of the leading figures in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. His research has been primarily concerned with the mechanisms of attention, including recent work with Oregon colleague Mary K. Rothbart and others on the development of brain networks underlying attention. His work has also addressed skill acquisition, word recognition, and methods for analyzing the time course of cognitive processes. Posner has received many awards over the years, including the APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award in 1980, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1981.

The National Medal of Science was established by Congress in 1959 and is bestowed by the President of the United States; it is considered the highest honor in science given by the United States government. In 1980, APA convinced Congress to expand eligibility for the award to include the discipline of psychology. Until that time, psychologists received the award in other disciplinary categories. Previous Medal recipients who are psychologists include Neal Miller (1964) Harry Harlow (1967), B. F. Skinner (1968), Herbert Simon (1986), Anne Anastasi (1987), Roger Sperry (1989), Patrick Suppes (1990), George Miller (1991), Eleanor Gibson (1992), Allen Newell (1992), Roger Shepard (1995), William Estes (1997), R. Duncan Luce (2003), and Gordon Bower (2005).