Anne Treisman [2.19.13]


President Barack Obama awards the National Medal of Science to psychologist Anne Treisman in a ceremony at the White House on February 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. 


COMMENTS: Steven Pinker, Michael Gazzaniga, Michael Goldberg & Eric Kandel


"Psychologist Anne Treisman, 2011 National Medical of Science Laureate proposed revolutionary ideas that had an enormous impact inside and outside of psychology, including the Feature Integration Theory of attention, which inspired thousands of experiments in cognitive psychology, vision sciences, cognitive science, neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience."


What Are You Most Proud Of In Your Career?
I suppose I'm best known for trying to understand how attention shapes the world of perception: what we see, what we become consciously aware of, and what things we don't become aware of but still the brain registers. I'm interested in how consciousness is created from the sensory data that reach our eyes and ears.

What Has Encourages You The Most In Your Field?
The thing that was most fun was that I came up before the neuroscientists discovered the fact that the brain seems to be fairly specialized for different processes in different areas. I came up with that notion separately and asked the question how we put those different aspects together again to form the kind of integrated world that we experience. How do we see that the skirt is red and the blouse is blue, for example, rather than other way around?

What Advice Would You Give To The Next Generation Of Scientists?
For me what has always been fun is the excitement of the new ideas, so let your imagination go and shake it out if you can. Think of ways of bringing it down to earth so that you can actually test it and that’s what my students have been doing and in fact succeeding at mainly.

ANNE TREISMAN, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at Princeton University, where she has taught since 1993, is one of the most influential cognitive psychologists in the world today. For over 40 years she has been defining fundamental issues of how information is selected and integrated to form meaningful objects and memories that guide human thought and action. Dr. Treisman lives in New York City and is married to psychologist Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics. 

Ann Treisman's Edge Bio Page