Skip navigation and jump directly to page content
Indiana University Bloomington
Choose site to be searched
Type search terms

James T. Townsend

Distinguished Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Rudy Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Phone: (812) 855-9598


  • Ph.D., Stanford, 1966


  • Visiting Associate Professor Award, Mathematical Psychology Labs, Rockefeller University, 1972-1973
  • Senior Scientist Fellowship, Braunschweig University, West Germany, awarded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, 1976-1977
  • Visiting Scholar Award, University of California at Irvine, 1981-1982
  • Visiting Professorship Award, Stanford University, Winter and Spring, 1986
  • James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Award, 1992-1993
  • American Council of Learned Societies and DAAD German-American Collaborative Research Award, 1992-1993
  • Winner, Society for Computers in Psychology/Erlbaum Distinguished Presentation Award, 1991
  • Distinguished Scholar, School of Natural Sciences, California State University, Fresno, 1995

Professional Experience

  • Editor Emeritus, Journal of Mathematical Psychology
  • Past member, Executive Board, Society for Mathematical Psychology
  • Past president, Society for Mathematical Psychology
  • Society for Experimental Psychologists

Research Interests

Mathematical modeling

Interests include the development of general mathematical approaches to human information processing, cognitive psychology including visual pattern recognition, memory scanning, decision theory, and human factors.

Some specific research topics:

  • Mathematical models and experimentation in pattern (e.g., letter) and face recognition, and visual display and memory search.
  • Mathematical investigations of the testability of issues in information processing, such as parallel vs. serial processing.
  • Human decision making from an approach based on psychologically oriented stochastic process theories.
  • Dynamics and process models in clinical phenomena.

Dissertation Committee Service

Bold student names indicate a cognitive science standalone student.

Author Dissertation Title Committee
Ase Helene Kvist Innes-KerGestal Perception of Emotional Expressions (May 2003)Townsend, J. T. (Co-Chair), Niedenthal, P. M. (Co-Chair), Hirt, E., Scout, J. C.
Johnson, J. G.A Computational Modeling Account of Robust Preference Reversal Phenomena (December 2004)Busemeyer, J. (Co-Chair), Townsend, J. (Co-Chair), Sherman, S. J., Winston, W. L.
Huber, D. E. Perception And Preference in Short-Term Word Priming (January 2000)Shiffrin, R. M. (Co-Chair), Townsend, J. T. (Co-Chair), Carraghty, P. E., Busey, T.
Wang, P. Non-Axiomatic Reasoning System - Exploring the Essence of Intelligence (August 1995)Hofstadter, D. (Chair), Townsend, J. T., Rawlins, G. J. E., Leake, D. B.
Houpt, JosephStatistical Measures for the Double Factorial Paradigm (April 2012)Townsend, J. (Co-chair), Busemeyer, J., Kruschke, J. (Co-chair), Huang, C.
Blaha, LeslieA Dynamic Hebbian-style Model of Configural Learning (December 2010)Townsend, J. (Co-Chair), Busey, T. (Co-Chair), Gold, J,. Trosset, M.
Silbert, NoahIntegration of Phonological Information in Obstruent Consonant Identification (May 2010)de Jong, K. (Co-Chair), Townsend, J. (Co-Chair), Lentz, J., Pisoni, D.
Chadderdon III, George LA Neurocomputational Model of the Functional Role of Dopamine in Stimulus Response Task Learning And Performance (March 2009) Sporns, O. (Chair), Brown, J., Townsend, J., Todd, P.
Honey, ChristopherFluctuations & Flows in Large-Scale Brain Networks (April 2009)Townsend, J,. Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Beggs, J., Sporns, O. (Co-Chair)
Bergert, Franklin BryanUsing Response Time to Distinguish Between Lexicographic and Linear Models of Decision Making (January 2008) Nosofsky, R. (Chair), Kruschke, J., Todd, P., Townsend, J.
Vigo, RonaldoMathematical Principles of Boolean Concept Learning (May 2008)Allen, C. (Co-Chair), Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Nosofsky, R., Townsend, J.
Carroll, ChristineTemporal Processing in Schizophrenia: An Integrative Study of Behavioral Judgment, Motor Execution, and Quantitative Modeling (December 2007)Kruschke, K., O’Donnell, B., Sporns, O. (Co-Chair), Townsend, J., Hetrick, W (Co-Chair)
Fific, MarioEmerging holistic properties at face value: assessing Characteristics of face perception (January 2006)Townsend, J. (Chair), Busemeyer, J., Maki, D., Shiffrin, R.
Kieffaber, PaulComponents of Attentional Control in Schizophrenia (June 2006) Hetrick, W. (Co-Chair), O’Donnell, B., Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Sporns, O., Townsend, J.
Wild, Heather Applying Signal Detection Theory to Evoked Response Potentials For Understanding Mechanisms of Bias and Sensitivity in Face Detection Tasks (September 2006)Busey, T. (Co-Chair), Candy, R., Gold, J., Townsend, J. (Co-Chair)
Trueblood, JenniferAn Investigation of Context Effects in Multi-Alternative Choice Behavior Through Experimentation and Cognitive Modeling (June 2012)Busemeyer, J. (Chair), Kruschke, J., Shiffrin, R., Townsend, J.