James McClelland (psychologist)

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James Lloyd McClelland
James McClelland (14039773375).jpg
Born (1948-12-01) December 1, 1948 (age 74)
Alma materColumbia University
University of Pennsylvania
AwardsGrawemeyer Award in Psychology (2002)
Rumelhart Prize (2010)
Scientific career

James Lloyd "Jay" McClelland, FBA (born December 1, 1948) is the Lucie Stern Professor at Stanford University, where he was formerly the chair of the Psychology Department.[1] He is best known for his work on statistical learning and Parallel Distributed Processing, applying connectionist models (or neural networks) to explain cognitive phenomena such as spoken word recognition and visual word recognition. McClelland is to a large extent responsible for the large increase in scientific interest in connectionism in the 1980s.

Early life and education[edit]

McClelland was born on December 1, 1948 to Walter Moore and Frances (Shaffer) McClelland. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University in 1970, and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975. He married Heidi Marsha Feldman on May 6, 1978, and has two daughters.[2]


In 1986 McClelland published Parallel Distributed Processing: Explorations in the Microstructure of Cognition[3] with David Rumelhart, which some still regard as a bible for cognitive scientists. His present work focuses on learning, memory processes, and psycholinguistics, still within the framework of connectionist models. He is a former chair of the Rumelhart Prize committee, having collaborated with Rumelhart for many years, and himself received the award in 2010 at the Cognitive Science Society Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon.

McClelland and David Rumelhart are known for their debate with Steven Pinker and Alan Prince regarding the necessity of a language-specific learning module.

In fall 2006 McClelland moved to Stanford University from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a professor of psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. He also holds a part-time appointment as Consulting Professor at the Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit (NARU) within the School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester.


In July 2017, McClelland was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "James L. McClelland VITA" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 1 Oct 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Profile details: James Lloyd McClelland". Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  3. ^ David E. Rumelhart, James L. McClelland and PDP Research Group (1987). Parallel Distributed Processing: Explorations in the Microstructure of Cognition. ISBN 9780262680530.
  4. ^ MIND & BRAIN PRIZE - Center for Cognitive Science
  5. ^ "Recipients". Archived from the original on 2016-03-13. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  6. ^ "Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Cognitive Science".
  7. ^ "Elections to the British Academy celebrate the diversity of UK research". British Academy. 2 July 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017.

External links[edit]