Photo of Anne Treisman

Anne Treisman

  • National Medal of Science
  • Behavioral And Social Science

For a 50-year career of penetrating originality and depth that has led to the understanding of fundamental attentional limits in the human mind and brain.

Anne Treisman on what she hopes to impart on the next generation of psychologists

Over her storied career, Anne Treisman’s research into the workings of the human brain has been revolutionary. A psychologist, Treisman’s work has delved into memory, visual attention and object perception.

Psychology, she told The British Psychological Society’s publication, The Psychologist, provides “ways to link the mind and the brain, not just by finding out where things happen but by illuminating how. This is a quest that is still just beginning.”

Treisman is best known for developing, along with Garry Gelade, feature integration theory in 1980 to explain visual attention. The theory holds that, in essence, an individual combines pieces of information that are then assembled to form a complete perception of an object. Things like color and shapes are used to distinguish one object from another.

Treisman, born in England, is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished professor at Princeton University, where she has taught psychology since 1993. She earned a doctorate from Oxford University in 1962.

In addition to Princeton, she has taught at Oxford, the University of British Columbia and the University of California-Berkeley. She is a member of the American Psychological Society and the National Academy of Sciences.

By Sydni Dunn