Memory, Aging and the Brain: A Festschrift in Honour of Lars-Göran Nilsson

By Lars Bäckman; Lars Nyberg | Go to book overview

1
Introduction

Lars Bäckman and Lars Nyberg

This volume is based on the proceedings from a conference arranged at Näsby Castle outside Stockholm in the fall of 2006. The purpose of the meeting was to honour the many contributions by Lars-Göran Nilsson to the psychology of human memory. The chapter authors constitute a mixture of senior collaborators and colleagues as well as former students of Lars-Göran from Sweden and abroad.

A son of a farmer, Lars-Göran was born in 1944 in the small village of Trönö in Hälsingland County in Northern Sweden. Although his family background was all but academic, the parents were highly supportive of their oldest son pursuing university studies (an attitude that was rather rare for that birth cohort in that part of Sweden!). Besides, the farm represented a basic security for Lars-Göran, something to fall back on if the academic ambitions were to fail.

A key influence in Lars-Göran’s early professional development was the late Ronald Cohen. Not only did Ronald serve as supervisor for LarsGöran’s PhD thesis on motivation and memory at Uppsala University (Nilsson, 1973); he was also instrumental in establishing the long-standing relationship between Swedish and Canadian memory research. Ronald, then a professor at Glendon College in Toronto, invited Lars-Göran over from Sweden shortly after the defence of the dissertation. This invitation paved the way for regular contacts with members of the famous Ebbinghaus Empire in the psychology department at the University of Toronto, featuring persons such as Fergus Craik, Endel Tulving, Bennett Murdock, Norman Slamecka, Paul Kolers, and Robert Lockhart. The transatlantic interactions have been immense during the past 30 years, opening up possibilities for many Swedish students of memory.

Lars-Göran’s international perspective on research also involves the European scene. He has had major functions in the European Society for Cognitive Psychology, including serving as Editor-in-Chief of its journal, as well as in the European Academy of Sciences. He has also collaborated actively over the years with a variety of top European memory scholars such as John Gardiner, Svein Magnussen, Hans Markowitsch, Cesare Cornoldi, and Ulman Lindenberger. Lars-Göran’s international outlook is further

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