Michael Corballis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Michael Charles Corballis ONZM (born 10 September 1936) is a New Zealand psychologist and author. He is emeritus professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Auckland. His fields of research are cognitive neuroscience, including visual perception, visual imagery, attention, memory and the evolution of language.

Early life and family[edit]

Corballis was born in Marton, New Zealand, in 1936, the son of Philip Patrick Joseph Corballis and Alice Elizabeth Harris. In 1962, he married Barbara Elizabeth Wheeler, and they went on to have two sons. Barbara Corballis died in 2020.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Corballis was educated at Wanganui Collegiate School and earned a Master's degree in Mathematics at the University of New Zealand in 1959 and attained a Master of Arts in psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 1962. He then moved to McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where he gained a PhD in psychology in 1965, and taught in the Department of Psychology from 1968 to 1978.[2] During his years as a professor at McGill, the main focus of his research was in cognitive neuroscience, analyzing complex cognitive systems such as perception, attention and memory, and initiating a research program on cerebral asymmetry.[citation needed] He was appointed professor of psychology at the University of Auckland in 1978.[2] In recent years, the interests of Corballis have turned to evolutionary biology, contributing significantly to complex cognitive processes.[citation needed] Of great international importance was his hypothesis that human language evolved from gestures, expressed in the book "From hand to mouth".[citation needed] His work is widely quoted.[3]

Honours and awards[edit]

In 1999, Corballlis was awarded the Shorland Medal by the New Zealand Association of Scientists.[4] In the 2002 Queen's Birthday and Golden Jubilee Honours, he was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to psychological science.[5] In 2016, he received the Royal Society of New Zealand's Rutherford Medal.[6]



  • Psychology of Left and Right with Ivan L. Beale, John Wiley & Sons (1976)
  • The Ambivalent Mind: The Neuropsychology of Left and Right with Ivan L. Beale. Chicago: Nelson-Hall (1983)
  • Human Laterality, Academic Press (1984)
  • The Lopsided Ape: Evolution of the Generative Mind, Oxford University Press, USA (1991)
  • From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language, University Press Group (2003)
  • The Recursive Mind, Princeton University Press (2011)
  • A Very Short Tour of the Mind, The Overlook Press, USA (2013)
  • The Wandering Mind: What the Brain Does When You're Not Looking, Auckland University Press (2014)
  • The Truth about Language: What It Is and Where It Came From, University of Chicago Press (2017)

Selected journal papers[edit]


  1. ^ "Barbara Corballis death notice". New Zealand Herald. 28 November 2020. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Curriculum vitae" (PDF). michaelcorballis.com. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Michael Corballis - Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.com.
  4. ^ "New Zealand Association of Scientists - Shorland Medal". scientists.org.nz. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Queen's Birthday and Golden Jubilee honours list 2002". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 3 June 2002. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  6. ^ "2016 Rutherford Medal: Understanding the Human Mind". Royal Society Te Apārangi. Retrieved 2 May 2020.

External links[edit]