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Kosslyn appointed director of CASBS


Stephen Kosslyn, currently Harvard’s dean of social science, will take over as director of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford on Jan. 1, 2011. Kosslyn succeeds Iris Litt, current director of CASBS and professor emeritus of pediatrics.

“It’s an exciting opportunity,” Kosslyn wrote in an e-mail to The Daily. “Not only can I help to strengthen one of the world’s most distinguished and venerable institutions in the behavioral sciences, but I also can help it grow in new ways.”

Kosslyn, also a psychology professor, has been a pioneer in the field of cognitive neuroscience and has extensively explored the nature of mental imagery and visual perception and communication. He has published more than 300 scientific papers, written or edited multiple books on the subject of neuroscience and received numerous honors as a result of his research. He received his B.A. degree in psychology from UCLA and Ph.D. in the same subject from Stanford.

According to Kosslyn, his experience stretches beyond psychology and cognitive neuroscience.

“I’ve had experience working with many types of scholars and researchers, and have also had a fair amount of contact with the tech world,” Kosslyn said. “I’ve also had experience with finances, which will no doubt be important for ensuring that the Center continues to flourish.”

Kosslyn sees a bright future for the center.

“I think CASBS is poised to make even greater contributions to society, particularly at the interface of behavioral science and technology,” he said.

CASBS, founded in 1954, has a stated aim of sharing knowledge of human behavior and providing a refuge for scientists and scholars to think and be exposed to a diverse array of ideas.

— Nicola Park

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