George A. Miller (1920–2012)

Article English OPEN
Pinker, Steven (2013)
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1037/a0032874
  • Subject: George A. Miller | psychologists | cognitive psychology | psycholinguistics

Presents an obituary for George A. Miller (1920—2012). Miller ranks among the most important psychologists of the 20th century. In addition to writing one of the best known papers in the history of psychology (“The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information,” published in Psychological Review in 1956), Miller also fomented the cognitive revolution, invented psycholinguistics and cognitive psychology, imported powerful ideas from the theories of information, communication, grammar, semantics, and artificial intelligence, and left us a sparkling oeuvre that proves that a rigorous scientist needn’t write in soggy prose. Honors rained down on Miller. APA gave him the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions (1963), the American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in Psychological Science (1990), the William James Book Award (1992, for The Science of Words), and the Award for Lifetime Contributions to Psychology (2003), and named a prize after him, as did the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. Miller was also honored by the Association for Psychological Science and the American Speech and Hearing Association. In 2000, he won the John P. McGovern Award in the Behavioral Sciences from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 1991, the National Medal of Science, the country’s highest scientific honor.
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