October 3, 2013
Charles Randy Gallistel is professor of psychology and former co-director of the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science at Rutgers. He was born in Indianapolis in 1941 and raised on a large lake west of Minneapolis. He got his bachelor’s from Stanford in 1963 and his doctorate in psychology from Yale University in 1966. He is married to Rochel Gelman (another distinguished visitor), and they both taught at the University of Pennsylvania for more than 20 years before moving to UCLA in 1989. They moved to Rutgers in 2000.
His research focuses on the development of quantitative, highly automated behavioral tests for memory malfunction in genetically manipulated mice. The long-term goal of this research is to use genetic methods to discover the molecular, cellular and systems mechanisms underlying the foundational mechanisms of cognition, following the lead of Seymour Benzer. Other research interests include spatio-temporal learning in the mouse, the theory of Pavlovian and operant conditioning, the theory of action, non-verbal arithmetic in humans and non-human animals, spatial representation in navigation, matching behavior and electrical self-stimulation of the brain in the rat. He has championed Bayesian and information-theoretic approaches to understanding learning and in data analysis.