Roger Newland Shepard (born January 30, 1929 in Palo Alto, California) is a cognitive scientist and author of the Universal Law of Generalization (1987). He is considered a father of research on spatial relations. He studied mental rotation, and was an inventor of multidimensional scaling, a method for representing certain kinds of statistical data in the plane or in space with minimal distortion, so that it can be apprehended by humans. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Shepard as the 55th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.
Shepard obtained his Ph.D. in psychology at Yale University in 1955 under Carl Hovland, and completed post-doctoral training with George Armitage Miller at Harvard. Subsequent to this, Shepard was at Bell Labs and then a professor at Harvard before joining the faculty at Stanford University. In 1995, Shepard received the National Medal of Science for his contributions in the field of cognitive science. In 2006, he also won the Rumelhart Prize. Shepard is Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor Emeritus of Social Science at Stanford University.
His students include Lynn Cooper, Leda Cosmides, Rob Fish, Jennifer Freyd, George Furnas, Carol L. Krumhansl, Daniel Levitin, Michael McBeath and Geoffrey Miller.
Shepard is one of the founders of the Kira Institute.