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Richard M. Shiffrin

Luther Dana Waterman Professor Psychological and Brain Sciences
Distinguished Professor Psychological and Brain Sciences
Distinguished Professor Statistics
Phone: (812) 855-4972

See also: Professor Shiffrin's homepage

See also: lab homepage and curriculum vitae


  • Ph.D., Stanford University, 1968


  • James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Fellowship, 1994-95
  • Elected to the National Academy of Science, 1995
  • Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1996
  • Howard Crosby Warren Medal (Society of Experimental Psychologists), 1999
  • The David E. Rumelhart Prize for Contributions to the Formal Analysis of Human Cognition

Professional Experience

  • Guggenheim Fellow, 1975-76
  • Waterman Research Professor, Indiana University, 1980-present
  • Chair, Governing Board, Psychonomic Society, 1987
  • Chair, Society for Mathematical Psychology, 1985
  • Chair, Society of Experimental Psychologists, 1981
  • Editor, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 1981-84

Research Interests

Models of memory

I am interested in mathematical and computer simulation models of memory, learning, retrieval, attention, limited capacity, automatism, and perception, and empirical research to test and develop these models.

In recent years I have paid particular interest to memory retrieval, and have contrasted traditional models with parallel, distributed, composite models, and a new model based on Bayesian optimal retrieval. The new model is aimed to explain storage and retrieval not only of recent events, but of general knowledge and the relation between the two. The empirical research explores different ways in which memory is accessed, such as recall, recognition, or implicit tests.

Another major line of work involves limited capacity in human information processing (both in memory and perception) and ways in which the development of automatic processes allow such attentional limitations to be overcome. This work is carried out largely in the domains of visual and memory search tasks.

Other current research involves the learning of word and letter units, perception and recognition, and the modeling of processes underlying response times in attention and memory tasks.

Dissertation Committee Service

Bold student names indicate a cognitive science standalone student.

Author Dissertation Title Committee
Criss, A.H.The Representation of Single Items and Associations in Episodic memory (July 2004)Shiffrin, R. M. (Co-Chair), Nosofsky, R. M., Estes, W. K., Steinmetz, J. E. (Co-Chair)
Ray, S. D. Web Guidelines & usability (December 2002) Dillon, A. P. (Chair), Shiffrin, R.M., Craig, J. C., Priss, U.
Huber, D. E. Perception And Preference in Short-Term Word Priming (January 2000)Shiffrin, R. M. (Co-Chair), Townsend, J. T. (Co-Chair), Carraghty, P. E., Busey, T.
Samuelson, L. K. Statistical Regularities in Vocabulary Guide Language Acquisition In 15-20-Month-Olds And Connectionist Models (June 2000)Smith, L. B. (Co-Chair), Jones, S., Gasser, M., Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair)
Diller, D. E. The Effects of Attentional Focus on Visual Information Processing (October 1999)Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair), Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Busey, T. A., Leake, D. B.
Erickson, M. A. Rules and Exemplar Representation in Category Learning (June 1999)Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair), Gasser, M., Port, R. F., Nosofsky, R. N.
Nobel, P. A.Response Times in Recognition and Recall (April 1996)Shiffrin, R. (Chair), Kruschke, J. K., Nosofsky, R. M., Port, R. F.
Shoup, R. E. Cross-Dimensional Interference in a Focused Attention Task (October 1996) Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair), Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Busey, T., Bradley, A., Cohen, A.
Johns, BrendanLanguage in Memory: Modeling the Influence of Linguistic Structure on Processing (August 2012)Jones, M. (Chair), Todd, P., Shiffrin, R., Yu, C.
Kachergis, George EarleMechanisms for Cross-Situational Learning of Word-Referent Mappings: Empirical and Modeling Evidence (December 2012)Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair), Yu, C. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Jones, M., Kruschke, J.
Yurovsky, DanielMechanisms of Statistical Word Learning (September 2012) Yu, C. (Co-Chair), Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Shiffrin, R., Jones, S., Busemeyer, J.,
Klein, KrystalVocabulary Acquisition via Cross-Situational Learning (December 2009) Yu, C. (Chair), Shiffrin, R., James, K., Smith, L.
Nelson, AngelaExamining the Co-Evolution of Knowledge and Event Memory (August 2009)Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Busey, T., James, K.
Fific, MarioEmerging holistic properties at face value: assessing Characteristics of face perception (January 2006)Townsend, J. (Chair), Busemeyer, J., Maki, D., Shiffrin, R.
Weidemann, ChristopheIdentifying brief stimuli: Perceptual, preferential, and decisional aspects (August 2006)Shiffrin, R. (Chair), Gold, J., Goldstone, R., Todd, P.
Hotaling, JaredDecision field theory-planning: A cognitive model of planning and dynamic (November 2013)Busemeyer, J. (Chair), Shiffrin, R., Todd, P., Nosofsky, R.
Trueblood, JenniferAn Investigation of Context Effects in Multi-Alternative Choice Behavior Through Experimentation and Cognitive Modeling (June 2012)Busemeyer, J. (Chair), Kruschke, J., Shiffrin, R., Townsend, J.