George Armitage Miller

By Shepard, Roger N. | Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, June 2014 | Go to article overview

George Armitage Miller


Shepard, Roger N., Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society


3 FEBRUARY 1920 . 22 JULY 2012

MY FIRST EXPOSURE TO GEORGE MILLER was during my 1951-55 graduate studies at yale. the two psychology colloquia that most inspired me at yale were both given by george. one was on his soon-to-become famous "the magic Number seven, plus or minus two," which he presented, without notes, and with all the elegance and dramatic flair of a professional actor. i wondered: Had he committed his entire Psychological Review manuscript to memory? His other colloquium presentation was on his tour de force study, with patricia Nicely, on frequencies of auditory confusions among sixteen consonant phonemes under many different conditions of noise and filtering. it still stands, today, as the most extensive and orderly set of confusion data known to me, and it provided me with data that later enabled me to demonstrate, most fully, the revelatory power of the nonmetric methods of multidimensional scaling and clustering i was subsequently developing at the Bell laboratories in the 1960s.

Meanwhile, when it came time for the defense of my 1955 doctoral dissertation (on "generalization during paired-associates learning"), yale's psychology faculty faced a problem: apart from those already on my dissertation committee, there was no mathematically inclined member left to serve on the examining committee. so, the members of the department took the unusual step of bringing in a suitable examiner from another university. they chose Harvard's george miller, who had so impressed the yale department with the quantitative brilliance of his two recently presented colloquia. (incidentally, the approach i had taken in my dissertation was eventually to lead both to my 1962 invention of nonmetric multidimensional scaling and, later, to my 1987 empirical establishment and mathematical derivation of a "universal law of generalization for psychological science.")

After i had spent a year extending my dissertation work on generalization (as a National academy of sciences-National research Council postdoctoral research associate), george invited me to join him at Harvard, as a postdoctoral fellow for the following academic years 1956-58. that was an exciting time to be in the Cambridge area. Dick Neisser and i shared an office/lab adjacent to george's office in the basement of Harvard's memorial Hall. When george's first submission to Scientific American was then accepted for publication, george (half-jokingly) told me this was part of his recently conceived "mmf" (or "make miller famous") plan. Noam Chomsky had given george a prepublication manuscript of his Syntactic Structures, many sections of which george had spread out across a table for close study and some sections of which i, too, was perusing with great interest. i was also having my first experience in computer programming, on the univac that had just been given to Harvard. i also taught, one-on-one, an "introduction to psychology for graduate students in other Departments" to the sole philosophy student who required that course that year: susan sontag. What with Harvard's Departments of psychology and social relations, and the nearby mit, BBN, and lincoln labs, there were many young researchers who were beginning to advance psychological science in new directions. along with miller and Neisser, there were many others whose contributions would subsequently be recognized by election to the National academy of sciences-including marvin minsky, Duncan luce, David green, John swets, philip teitelbaum, roger Brown, the more senior J. C. r. licklider, frederick mosteller, and the then Harvard graduate students george sperling and saul sternberg. several of us regularly met at mit in an informal evening group we called "the pretzel twist." and some of us were privileged to meet informally with J. robert oppenheimer, during his psychology-sponsored William James lectures at Harvard. at the end of these two years at Harvard, george facilitated my participation in the santa monica workshop by allen Newell and Herbert simon on their new computer simulation approach to the building of cognitive theories of human problem solving. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

George Armitage Miller
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.