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Indiana University Bloomington
James T. Townsend Lab
Department of Psychology

Professor Townsend has worked for many years within the broad information processing approach. Within that domain, he has carried out theoretical and experimental research on the parallel vs serial processing issue and on letter and elementary pattern perception.

The pattern recognition work established a firm empirical foundation for certain models that now form a basis for work in identification and categorization. It also has aided understanding of how feature perception occurs. Later investigations include development of the general recognition theory in collaboration with F. Gregory Ashby. Recent efforts have centered on developing a rigorous framework for the investigation of perceptual dependencies.

His earlier work on parallel and serial processing indicated broad areas where model mimicking occurred. Later efforts have discovered a number of promising experimental strategies, backed up by mathematical results, that can be used to experimentally distinguish the two modes of processing. Similar projects have involved related topics such as self-terminating vs exhaustive processing and limited vs unlimited capacity.

This branch of work has also led into collaborative efforts with Richard Schweickert on his theory of more complex mental networks. They have worked on experimental techniques that can experimentally isolate canonical subclasses within quite complex sets of architectures. Another line of research has involved collaboration with Jerome Busemeyer on a theory of dynamic decision making. This theory attempts to provide a quantitative setting for explanation and prediction that, in contrast to traditional approaches based on utility theory, is inherently psychological and motivational, dynamic, and stochastic.

Professor Townsend has also published a number of papers on general theoretical methodologies, measurement, history of mathematical psychology and recently, on dynamics and chaos theory. He is currently building up a laboratory for the study of face perception, employing state-of-the art computer facilities. He hopes to enrich theoretical advances in this area with the aid of constructs from differential and algebraic topology, as well as more standard mathematical psychology tools such as stochastic processes.

Along with Stephen W. Link, Jim Townsend is editor of the Scientific Psychology Series of books, published by Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, Inc.

Dr. James T. Townsend
Rudy Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology
Indiana University Bloomington
Bloomington, IN 47405
(812) 855-9598

James T. Townsend Mathematical Psychology Lab
Department of Psychology
Indiana University Bloomington
Psychology A312
(812) 855-1554