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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board On Behavioral Cognitive and Sensory Sciences
Board On Behavioral Cognitive and Sensory Sciences
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

BBCSS Member Spotlight
From the Fall 2013 BBCSS Newsletter
Michael Posner
Michael I. Posner, Ph.D., NAS, IOM
Professor Emeritus
Department of Psychology
University of Oregon
In this issue we interview Michael Posner, a member of the BBCSS board since 2010.
What is your current position and area of research?
I am a Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon where I have worked since 1965. My main current area of research is the development of attentional networks using behavioral, questionnaire, imaging and training methods.

What led you to this field/area of research?
I have been interested in attention since the early 1960s, primarily because of reading Donald Broadbent’s book Perception and Communication which concerned limits in human information processing, as well as in my work with Paul Fitts who used information theory to measure those limits.

What in your opinion has been the greatest achievement in the field of behavioral, cognitive and sensory sciences?
I believe the discovery and measurement of brain network underlying human activity has provided a strong method for exploring the origin and development of human abilities and studying differences between people in these abilities.

Where do you see this field progressing over the next 10 years?
We should be able to test our analytic methods by using them to improve training needed to reduce or prevent some mental disorders and also to synthesize human like agents (robots) who embody human skills. 

What is the best part of being on the BBCSS board?
Meeting researchers in a variety of areas, who represent excellence in their respective fields. 

If you could meet anyone from History who would it be and why?
James Madison, to better understand the original intent with regard to the US constitution and the Bill of Rights.

What was the last great book you read?
Farid ud-Din Attar’s classic book length poem Conference of the Birds. I also recently read the Lawrence in Arabia, which helped me to understand the background to the currently middle eastern controversies.



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