Skip to content Accessibility statement

Prestigious award for University of York psychologist

Posted on 25 May 2016

A University of York academic has been awarded the 2016 Major Advancement in Psychological Science Prize.

Professor Alan Baddeley

Professor Alan Baddeley is set to receive the award from the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS)  on 25 July during the 31st International Congress of Psychology (ICP2016) in Yokohama, Japan. 

Professor Alan Baddeley, of the University’s Department of Psychology, is one of the world’s most highly cited psychologists and is best known for his ‘working memory’ model, developed with Professor Graham Hitch, an Emeritus Professor at York.

Working memory allows us to solve problems by manipulating information held in limited capacity short-term stores. Professor Baddeley’s particular research interests are in neuropsychology and the practical application of cognitive psychology.

In addition, Professor Baddeley has made a major contribution to many important topics such as language acquisition and dementia.

The Major Advancement in Psychological Science Prize is awarded in recognition of a contribution that represents a major advancement in psychology by a scholar, or team of scholars, of high international reputation.

Until the 1960s, psychologists conceptualized short term memory as a kind of “place” where information is stored for a short period of time. Professor Baddeley introduced a much more dynamic model of human memory, emphasizing many active operations and processes such as the use of inner speech when trying to remember phone numbers.

Prof Baddeley said: “I was delighted and honoured to receive this award.  It stems from a theory I developed over 40 years ago with Graham Hitch, an emeritus but still very active York professor.

“We were concerned to develop a theory that was both scientifically sound and open to further development, while at the same time having the potential to be applied across many different areas of psychology.

“ I am particularly pleased that the award emphasises this aspect of our work which continues through a wide range of collaborations with colleagues both in the UK and internationally.” 

Professor Quentin Summerfield, Head of the Psychology Department, added:  “This prize is testimony to Alan Baddeley’s world-wide influence on experimental psychology. He has transformed the way that we think about memory – what its purpose is and how it works.”

Professor Baddeley joined the University of York in 2003. Previously, he led the Medical Research Council’s influential Applied Psychology Unit for over 20 years. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and was awarded a CBE in 1999.

He is an Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society and in 2012 was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Psychological Society’s Research Board.

Further information:

  • Established a decade ago by IUPsyS, the Major Advancement in Psychological Science Prize was awarded for the first time in July 2008 during the 29th ICP in Berlin. It is awarded every four years at an ICP.
  • For more information please visit:


Explore more news

Media enquiries

Alistair Keely
Head of Media Relations

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153