Nelson Cowan

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Nelson Cowan
Born (1951-03-07) March 7, 1951 (age 68)
EducationUniversity of Michigan
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Known forWorking memory
ChildrenOne child, two stepchildren
AwardsFellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012)
Scientific career
FieldsExperimental psychology
InstitutionsUniversity of Missouri
ThesisToward an understanding of morphological segmentation in unfamiliar languages (1980)
Doctoral advisorPhilip A. Morse

Nelson Cowan (born March 7, 1951) is the Curators' Professor of Psychology at the University of Missouri. He specializes in working memory, and posits an integrated model of working memory in which representations held in working memory are an activated subset of the representations held in long-term memory. Cowan received a B.A. from the University of Michigan in neuroscience in 1973 and an M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin in 1977 and 1980, respectively, after which he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University. He subsequently was hired as a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1982, and in 1985, he joined the faculty of the University of Missouri, where he has remained since. Additionally, Cowan has served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Helsinki, the University of Leipzig, the University of Western Australia, the University of Bristol, and the University of Edinburgh, where he also currently serves as a professorial fellow. Since 2017, he has been the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.[1]


  1. ^ "Nelson Cowan CV" (PDF). University of Missouri. Retrieved 2018-10-25.

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