Marcia Johnson wins Benjamin Franklin Medal for memory research

Marcia Johnson
Marcia Johnson

Marcia Johnson, Sterling Professor Emerita of Psychology, has won the 2019 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science for “developing innovative models of human memory with applications in psychology, brain science, human development, and our understanding of the malleability of memory in real-world settings.”

Since 1824, the Franklin Institute Awards have publicly recognized accomplishments in science and technology, honoring such notables as Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and Jane Goodall. The Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, the awarding body, offered this description of Johnson’s work and its impact on society:

Johnson provides a framework for understanding how our memories from different sources can be confused, and the cognitive processes that allow us to function in the world despite imperfect memory. Her work clarifies mechanisms by which we attribute memories to sources and have broad implications for areas such as eyewitness testimony, unintentional plagiarism, memory development in children, changes in cognition associated with aging, and hallucinations, confabulation and delusions in psychopathology and brain-damaged patients.”

Johnson will receive the award at a gala ceremony held at the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial in Philadelphia on Apr. 11. The ceremony is a culmination of a weeklong series of public and educational events, which will provide “direct and unprecedented access to the laureates and their work.”

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Kendall Teare: kendall.teare@yale.edu, 203-836-4226