In 1983 Endel Tulving received the American Psychological Association's Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions. The following citation and biography are reprinted, with permission, from the American Psychologist, 1984, 39, 265-267. Material in the last two paragraphs has been updated to reflect the situation in 1989.
"For his penetrating insights into the nature of human memory. More than others, he has directed attention to one of the most important issues in the analysis of memory: the relationship between the encoding and the retrieval of mental events. He has developed elegant methods for studying the structure of memory traces. And he has brought into bold relief the concepts of subjective organization, availability versus accessibility, encoding specificity, and episodic versus semantic memory, all of which animate modern discussion of memory. An engaging colleague and a charismatic teacher who delights in puzzles and paradoxes, he has influenced scores of scientists both in and beyond North America."
Endel Tulving was born on May 26, 1927, in Estonia. His father was a judge in a small town, and the Tulving family lived in relative comfort until Estonia's forcible incorporation into the Soviet Union in 1940. In 1944, in the course of the war, Tulving, then 17, and his younger brother Hannes were separated from their home, parents, and country and taken to Germany. When the war ended, Tulving finished his high school education, worked for a while as a teacher and interpreter for the U.S. Army, and studied medicine at the University of Heidelberg. In 1949 he emigrated to Canada. After a summer's work as a farmhand and construction laborer, Tulving enrolled in the honour psychology program at the University of Toronto. In June 1950 he married Ruth Mikkelsaar, his high school sweetheart, and with her help worked his way through the university. He graduated with first class honors at the top of his class in 1953, spent a further year