Dr. Nelson Cowan

Email

CowanN at missouri dot edu

Webpage

https://psychology.missouri.edu/people/cowan

Office

18 McAlester Hall
phone: 573-882-4232
fax: 573-882-7710

Mailing Address

University of Missouri-Columbia
Department of Psychological Sciences
210 McAlester Hall
Columbia, MO 65211-2500

(Updated October, 2020)
For a more complete CV and reprints click the CV button above

Research Specializations

  • Short-term / working memory
  • Childhood development of short-term / working memory
  • Relations between working memory and selective attention

Some Professional Activities

  • Editor, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2017-2021
  • Honorary doctorates, University of Helsinki (2003) and University of Liège (2015)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, American Psychological Association, Division 3, Society for Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science, 2020
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2012; Fellow, APA, APS
  • President, American Psychological Association, Division 3 (Experimental Psychology), 2008-09
  • Former Member of the Governing Board of the Psychonomic Society
  • Former associate editor of Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition; Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology; and European Journal of Psychology
  • Keynote addresses at Attention and Performance XXV; Association for Research on Memory, Attention, Decision-Making, Intelligence, Learning, Language, and Organization (ARMADILLO); Second European Working Memory Society; British Psychological Society Developmental, Cognitive, and Quantitative areas; Conference on Working Memory in Dubai; Knowles Hearing Center, Evanston, IL; addresses at APA and APS.

Public Issues

Statement of Research Interests and Orientation

My research always has been driven by basic philosophical questions about the human mind, concerned with the most basic elements of conscious experience. What mechanisms allow human beings to experience the world as they do? Experiments on memory, attention, perception, and cognitive development address this question. The research on working memory capacity and its childhood development and relation to selective attention has been a focused interest, funded by NICHD since 1984, and it is portrayed below.

Working memory capacity and its development. Over the past 40 years, I have contributed to our knowledge of a previously unknown basic capacity limit in working memory and attention that is valid across modalities, its lifetime developmental course (e.g., Cowan et al., 1999, Child Development; 2005, Cognitive Psychology), and its brain representation. These efforts have been of help also in clarifying the nature of language impairment, dyslexia, autism, and schizophrenia in collaborative work. In a 2001 Behavioral and Brain Sciences article, I assembled evidence from many procedures showing that, when mnemonic strategies cannot be applied, young adults typically remember 3 to 5 separate items, and that other age groups retain less. Several key articles showed that this constant limitation in capacity applies not only to simple items, but also to well-learned word pairs and triplets, as summarized in a 2012 article (Cowan et al., Psychological Review). It is one of the few constancies known in cognition.

I showed that although young children repeat items from a list of digits much more slowly than adults (Cowan, Journal of Memory and Language, 1992), training an adult-like rate of recall does not improve memory (Cowan et al., Psychological Science, 2006). Instead, capacity is the basic limiting factor. This is the case even after experimentally controlling for knowledge (Cowan et al., Developmental Science, 2015) and other factors including encoding, rehearsal, and attention allocation (for a summary see Cowan, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2016).

Working memory and attention. The core working memory, limited to several items, also appears to be needed for attentional processing. When two sets of items are to be remembered, one verbal and one visual, they still compete for attention (Cowan et al., Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2014). Children in the early school years fail to allocate attention to the most relevant items when under a too-large memory load (Cowan et al., 2010, Developmental Science) and apparently do not find ways to memorize items rapidly to free up attention as well as older participants do (Cowan et al., 2018, Developmental Science, 2018).

We have shown a relation between working memory capacity and mind-wandering, in that young adults with a relatively low memory load more often notice their name spoken in an unattended channel in selective listening compared to high-span participants (Conway et al., Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2001; Röer & Cowan, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 2020). The basis of older adults’ lowered span is different, with their attention limits leading to not noticing events in an unattended channel, despite their reduced span (Naveh-Benjamin et al., 2014, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition).

Clinical applications. Through collaborations, my research methods have been applied to clinical topics, including dyslexia (e.g., Cowan et al., 2017, Dyslexia; Gray et al., 2019, Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research), language impairment (e.g., Gray et al., 2019; Gillam et al., 1998, Journal of Speech and Hearing Research), autism (e.g., Bodner et al., 2019, Journal of Abnormal Psychology), schizophrenia (e.g., Javitt et al., 1997, Journal of Abnormal Psychology), Parkinson’s disease (e.g., Lee et al., Brain, 2010), and acute alcohol intoxication (e.g., Saults et al., Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology).

Important insights have been gained into dense amnesia in collaborative research with Sergio Della Sala. Attention is used to overcome interference when forming new memories; amnesic patients who ordinarily cannot memorize new information at all showed much more ability when the memoranda were presented with no surrounding interference, a finding of clinical as well as theoretical value (Cowan et al., Brain, 2004; Dewar et al., 2009, 2010, Neuropsychology; McGhee et al., Neuropsychology, 2020).

Brain Research. Collaborative brain research using fMRI and electrophysiology has been done with colleagues in the U.S. (Missouri, Wisconsin), Finland, Hungary, Germany, the U.K., and Belgium. In several collaborative brain imaging projects (including Cowan et al., 2011, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience and Majerus et al., 2016, Cerebral Cortex), the capacity-limited focus of attention as reflected by activity in the intraparietal sulcus is shown to be used to retain information from both visual and verbal modalities, and to link to item representations in the posterior cortex. Electrophysiological work with colleagues (e.g., Cowan et al., 1993, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition) has shown that activated long-term memory outside of attention is part of the neural model of the environment used to detect changes and relevant events.

Contributions to Science (from NIH Biosketch)

  1. Identification of the core capacity limit of working memoryHistory: Based on George Miller’s 1956 seminal work, it is commonly believed that people can hold in working memory about seven meaningful objects or ideas (chunks) at once. Miller, however, provided no theoretical basis for this limit. Central findings: When people are unable to combine the presented items to form larger units or chunks, normal young adults retain in working memory only 3-4 items on average. The same thing is found with larger units when chunking is controlled; for example, people can retain 3-4 learned word pairs. The intraparietal sulcus seems to be involved in holding pointers to the brain representations of items in this core working memory. Influence:  Many neural deficits result in impaired working memory, which affects the ability to carry out high-level cognitive tasks such as math, reading comprehension, and problem-solving. Distinguishing the contributions of attention (limited to several chunks) versus mnemonic strategies should allow better management of various disorders. Role: I was the lead investigator on studies showing the systematic nature of the capacity literature and providing the most-often-used formula to estimate capacity from array recognition tasks (Cowan, 2001, cited over 3,500 times); showing how to control chunking, which led to a relatively constant estimate of capacity even when chunking occurred (e.g., Cowan et al., 2004, 2012); and showing that a brain area previously said to reflect visual working memory capacity actually reflected working memory capacity more generally, across both verbal and nonverbal stimuli (Cowan et al., 2011). 
    1. Cowan, N. (2001).  The magical number 4 in short-term memory:  A reconsideration of mental storage capacity.  Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24, 87-185. PMID:11515286
    2. Cowan, N., Chen, Z., & Rouder, J.N. (2004).  Constant capacity in an immediate serial-recall task:  A logical sequel to Miller (1956).  Psychological Science, 15, 634-640. PMID:15327636
    3. Rouder, J.N., Morey, R.D., Cowan, N., Zwilling, C.E., Morey, C.C., & Pratte, M.S. (2008).  An assessment of fixed-capacity models of visual working memory.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), 105(16), 5975–5979. PMC2329704
    4. Cowan, N., Rouder, J.N., Blume, C.L., & Saults, J.S. (2012).  Models of verbal working memory capacity:  What does it take to make them work? Psychological Review, 119, 480-499. PMC3618891
  2. Examining the sharing of attention in working memory across modalities and materialsHistory: At least since the work of Alan Baddeley and Graham Hitch (1974), it has been shown that there are modest tradeoffs between visual and verbal items in working memory, as one would expect if there is a central capacity for all stimuli supplemented by some means to hold different types of materials in storage devices with little cross-materials interference (i.e., peripheral storage).  The amounts of each type of storage were, however, difficult to quantify. Central findings: The capacity estimation techniques of Cowan (2001) and subsequent papers make it possible to obtain data indicating the capacity of central storage in chunks and to assess peripheral contributions. Results of Cowan et al. (2014), reporting about 10 experiments, suggest that several items from a set (e.g., an array of simple visual objects) are encoded into the focus of attention and then off-loaded (though remaining accessible) to allow encoding of another, different type of set (e.g., a verbal list during suppression of verbal rehearsal), with only about 1 item of interference between different sets.  Influence:  Research on practical topics such as phone conversations while driving show that people are not as good at sharing attention and working memory between tasks as they think they are. Public safety, education, and cognitive processing in normal and disabled individuals depends on good information about the limits of multi-tasking.  Role: Chen and Morey were my graduate students when some of this research was pursued.  I took the lead on several other articles to analyze and integrate findings and provide a theoretical synthesis.
    1. Morey, C.C., & Cowan, N. (2005).  When do visual and verbal memories conflict?  The importance of working-memory load and retrieval.  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 31, 703-713. PMC2610475
    2. Chen, Z., & Cowan, N.  (2009). How verbal memory loads consume attention.  Memory & Cognition, 37, 829-836. PMC2804027
    3. Cowan, N., Li, D., Moffitt, A., Becker, T.M., Martin, E.A., Saults, J.S., & Christ, S.E. (2011).  A neural region of abstract working memory.  Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 2852-2863. PMC3138911
    4. Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., & Blume, C.L. (2014).  Central and peripheral components of working memory storage.  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  General, 143, 1806-1836. PMC4172497
  3. Childhood development of working memory capacityHistory: Developmental psychologists have proposed many different bases of the developmental improvement in working memory.  NeoPiagetians proposed that the basic number of items that can be retained increases with maturity but others have proposed that the developmental improvement in performance can be explained solely through the development of knowledge, encoding efficiency, or mnemonic strategies. Central findings: In a series of studies beginning in 1999, we have found that working memory capacity increases during the elementary school years on direct working memory tasks (e.g., as opposed to the looking-time tasks used with infants) and that this increase can be seen even with materials for which knowledge, encoding efficiency, and mnemonic strategies are controlled across age groups. Influence: Given that most cognitive tasks depend on working memory and its capacity is highly correlated with cognitive aptitude, understanding the basis of working memory development is important for an understanding of the potential basis of developmental disabilities that involve working memory.  Role: I have taken the lead on a number of studies in my laboratory in which we have examined working memory capacity with other factors controlled.
    1. Cowan, N., Elliott, E.M., Saults, J.S., Morey, C.C., Mattox, S., Hismjatullina, A., & Conway, A.R.A. (2005).  On the capacity of attention:  Its estimation and its role in working memory and cognitive aptitudes.  Cognitive Psychology, 51, 42-100. PMC2673732
    2. Cowan, N., Morey, C.C., AuBuchon, A.M., Zwilling, C.E., & Gilchrist, A.L. (2010).  Seven-year-olds allocate attention like adults unless working memory is overloaded.  Developmental Science, 13, 120-133. PMC2819460
    3. Cowan, N., AuBuchon, A.M., Gilchrist, A.L., Ricker, T.J., & Saults, J.S. (2011).  Age differences in visual working memory capacity:  Not based on encoding limitations.  Developmental Science, 14, 1066-1074. PMC3177168
    4. Cowan, N., Ricker, T.J., Clark, K.M., Hinrichs, G.A., & Glass, B.A. (2015).  Knowledge cannot explain the developmental growth of working memory capacity.  Developmental Science, 18, 132-145. PMC4270959
  4. Role of time in memory.  History. The passage of time has been of interest since the beginning of experimental psychology because of the risk of forgetting over time, but also because of the opportunity to retrieve information or consolidate it over time. Recently, Klaus Oberauer and Steve Lewandowsky have published work suggesting that working memory does not decay over time, even in the absence of covert rehearsal or refreshing. Central findings: Throughout my career I have carried out studies clarifying the role of time.  In one series of studies beginning with Cowan (1992), we showed that the timing of verbal recall depends on the speed of searching through the list items, from which the current response must be identified. Some of our other work has showed that working memory decay does occur when material cannot be adequately consolidated (e.g., when it consists of briefly-presented unfamiliar characters). Still other work shows that during dark, silent periods uninterrupted by any interfering stimuli, many densely amnesic individuals surprisingly can consolidate new information into memory. Influence: The work speaks to the importance of avoiding interruption of attention, in order to maximize consolidation and retrieval from both working memory and long-term memory. This information could soon be applied to allow better learning and memory in the elderly and people with cognitive challenges. Role: The work on retrieval and forgetting from working memory was carried out by my students (e.g., Timothy Ricker), research assistants, and myself.  The work on avoiding interruption for consolidation in aging adults and amnesic individuals has been conducted in collaboration with Sergio Della Sala and Michaela Dewar in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK but I conceived of the first study in the series and carried it to completion (Cowan et al., 2004, below). 
    1. Cowan, N. (1992).  Verbal memory span and the timing of spoken recall.  Journal of Memory and Language, 31, 668-684.
    2. Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., & Nugent, L.D. (1997).  The role of absolute and relative amounts of time in forgetting within immediate memory:  The case of tone pitch comparisons.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 4, 393-397.
    3. Cowan, N., Beschin, N., & Della Sala, S.  (2004). Verbal recall in amnesiacs under conditions of diminished retroactive interference.  Brain, 127, 825-834. PMID:14749294
    4. Ricker, T.J., & Cowan, N. (2014).  Differences between presentation methods in working memory procedures: A matter of working memory consolidation.  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40, 417-428. PMC4056671
  5. Working memory, attention, and bindingHistory: For many years (e.g., Cowan, 1988, Psychological Bulletin) I have suggested that an important role of the human focus of attention is to allow the parts of an object or concept to be bound together to form a new concept (e.g., a tiger is a large, striped cat; if one feature is forgotten a young child might label as a tiger what is actually a house cat, lion, or zebra). Central findings: In a task in which locations and printed names had to be associated, Cowan et al. (2006) found that adults and older children (but not children 8-10 years old) develop a strategy in which verbal and spatial series are separately retained and then combined as necessary (e.g., verbal Item 3 goes with visual Item 3). The younger children could not use this method and thus had to hold the associations in a more attention-intensive manner.  The pattern looked that way also for adults when rehearsal was prevented.  Our recent studies show that there is not only a limited number of objects that can be entered into working memory, but also a limited number of features per object; if colored shapes are presented, adults can retain about 3 objects but if both features are required, some color information is lost and/or some shape information is lost, compared to when only one feature is needed. Influence: The work on binding is beginning to show that there are dual ways in which attention limits come into play in working memory: during the encoding of objects and again during their retention. This information is likely to be important to understand classroom learning in multimodal situations, and to understand distraction in such situations (e.g., driving). Role: I have done this work with my students, including some advanced mathematical modeling with Kyle Hardman. The role of the intraparietal sulcus in helping to bind together information in the focus of attention has been shown in fMRI studies with my former graduate student, Dawei Li (Neuroimage, 2014), and with Steve Majerus in Belgium (see below). 
    1. Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., & Morey, C.C. (2006).  Development of working memory for verbal-spatial associations.  Journal of Memory and Language, 55, 274-289. PMC1832114
    2. Cowan, N., Blume, C.L., & Saults, J.S.  (2013). Attention to attributes and objects in working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39, 731-747. PMC3825193
    3. Majerus, S., Cowan, N., Péters, F., Van Calster, L., Phillips, C., & Schrouff, J. (2016).  Cross-modal decoding of neural patterns associated with working memory:  Evidence for attention-based accounts of working memory.  Cerebral Cortex, 26, 166-179. PMID:25146374
    4. Hardman, K., & Cowan, N. (2015).  Remembering complex objects in visual working memory: Do capacity limits restrict objects or features?  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41, 325-347. PMC4317397

Some of the products of inter-university collaborations:

Cowan, N., Adams, E.J., Bhangal, S., Corcoran, M., Decker, R., Dockter, C.E., Eubank, A.T., Gann, C.L.,  Greene, N.R., Helle, A.C., Lee, N., Nguyen, A.T., Ripley, K.R., Scofield, J.E., Tapia, M.A., Threlkeld, K.L., & Watts, A.L. (2019). Foundations of arrogance: A broad survey and framework for research. Review of General Psychology, 23, 425-443.

Cowan, N., Belletier, C., Doherty, J.M., Jaroslawska, A.J., Rhodes, S., Forsberg, A., Naveh-Benjamin, M., Barrouillet, P. Camos, V., & Logie, R.H. (2020). How do scientific views change? Notes from an extended adversarial collaboration. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15, 1011-1025.

Cowan, N., Beschin, N., & Della Sala, S.  (2004).  Verbal recall in amnesiacs under conditions of diminished retroactive interference.  Brain, 127, 825-834.

Cowan, N., Hogan, T.P., Alt, M., Green, S., Cabbage, K.L., Brinkley, S., & Gray, S. (2017). Short-term memory in childhood dyslexia:  Deficient serial order in multiple modalities. Dyslexia, 23, 209-233.

Cowan, N., & Rachev, N.R. (2018), Merging with the path not taken: Wilhelm Wundt’s work as a precursor to the embedded-processes approach to memory, attention, and consciousness. Consciousness and Cognition, 63, 228-238.

Cowan, N., Winkler, I., Teder, W., & Näätänen, R. (1993).  Memory prerequisites of the mismatch negativity in the auditory event-related potential (ERP).  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 19, 909-921.

Gillam, R., Cowan, N., & Marler, J. (1998).  Information processing by school-age children with specific language impairment:  Evidence from a modality effect paradigm. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 41, 913-926.  

Gossaries, O., Yu, Q., LaRocque, J.J., Starrett, M.J., Rose, N.S., Cowan, N., & Postle, B.R. (2018). Parietal-occipital interactions underlying control- and representation-related processes in working memory for nonspatial visual features. Journal of Neuroscience, 38, 4357– 4366.

Gray, S., Green, S., Alt, M., Hogan, T., Kuo, T., Brinkley, S., & Cowan, N. (2017). The structure of working memory in young school-age children and its relation to intelligence. Journal of Memory and Language, 92, 183-201.

Javitt, D.C., Strous, R., Grochowski, S., Ritter, W., & Cowan, N. (1997).  Impaired precision, but normal retention, of auditory sensory (“echoic”) memory information in schizophrenia.  Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106, 315-324.

Majerus, S., Cowan, N., Péters, F., Van Calster, L., Phillips, C., & Schrouff, J. (2016).  Cross-modal decoding of neural patterns associated with working memory:  Evidence for attention-based accounts of working memory. Cerebral Cortex, 26, 166-179.

McGhee, J.D., Cowan, N., Beschin, N., Mosconi, C., & Della Sala, S. (2020). Wakeful rest benefits before and after encoding in anterograde amnesia. Neuropsychology, 34, 524-534.

Rhodes, S., Jaroslawska, A.J., Doherty, J.M., Belletier, C., Naveh-Benjamin, M., Cowan, N., Camos, V., Barrouillet, P., & Logie, R.H.  (2019). Storage and processing in working memory: Assessing dual task performance and task prioritization across the adult lifespan. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148, 1204-1227.

Winkler, I., Schröger, E., & Cowan, N. (2001).  The role of large-scale memory organization in the mismatch negativity event-related brain potential.  Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 13, 59-71.

Books

Journal Articles, Book Chapters and Reviews

(as of December 2020. Approximately newest to oldest.)

Click on pdf icons at the end of each article to obtain a copy. In cases for which the article does not have a pdf icon, you can obtain a final copy by email request to CowanN@missouri.edu.

IN PRESS:

Segura, I.A., McGhee, J., Della Sala, S., Cowan, N., & Pompéia, S. (in press). A reappraisal of acute doses of benzodiazepines as a model of anterograde amnesia. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental.

Li, Y., & Cowan, N. (accepted pending minor revision). Attention effects in working memory that are asymmetric across sensory modalities. Memory & Cognition.

Forsberg, A., Guitard, D., & Cowan, N. (Online ahead of print, 2020). Working memory limits severely constrain long-term retention. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Doi: 10.3758/s13423-020-01847-z

Cowan, N., AuBuchon, A.M., Gilchrist, A.L., Blume, C.L., Boone, A.P., and Saults, J.S. (Online ahead of print, 2020). Developmental change in the nature of attention allocation in a dual task. Developmental Psychology. Doi: 10.1037/dev0001134

Rhodes, S., Doherty, J.M., Jaroslawska, A.J. Forsberg, A., Belletier, C., Naveh-Benjamin, M., Cowan, N., Barrouillet, P., Camos, V., and Logie, R.H. (in press). Exploring the influence of temporal factors on age differences in working memory dual task costs. Psychology and Aging.

Adams, E.J., & Cowan, N. (in press). The girl was watered by the flower: Effects of working memory loads on syntactic production in young children. Journal of Cognition and Development.

Jaroslawska, A., Rhodes, S., Belletier, C., Doherty, J., Cowan, N., Naveh-Benjamin, M., Barrouillet, P., Camos, V., & Logie, R. (in press). What affects the magnitude of age-related dual-task costs in working memory? The role of stimulus domain and access to semantic representations. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Guitard, D., Saint-Aubin, J., & Cowan, N. (in press). Asymmetrical interference between item and order information in short-term memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition

Röer, J.P., & Cowan, N. (in press). A preregistered replication and extension of the cocktail party phenomenon: One’s name captures attention, unexpected words do not. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

PUBLISHED:

2021

Cowan, N., Morey, C.C., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2021). An embedded-processes approach to working memory: How is it distinct from other approaches, and to what ends? In R.H. Logie, V. Camos, and N. Cowan (eds.), Working Memory: State of the Science, Oxford University Press.

2020

Guitard, D., & Cowan, N. (2020). Do we use visual codes when information is not presented visually? Memory & Cognition, 48, 1522–153. doi: 10.3758/s13421-020-01054-0

Greene, N.R., Naveh-Benjamin, M., & Cowan, N. (2020). Adult age differences in working memory capacity: Spared central storage but deficits in ability to maximize peripheral storage. Psychology and Aging, 35, 866-880.

Jiang, Q., & Cowan, N. (2020). Incidental learning of list membership is affected by serial position in the list. Memory28, 669-676.

McGhee, J.D., Cowan, N., Beschin, N., Mosconi, C., & Della Sala, S. (2020). Wakeful rest benefits before and after encoding in anterograde amnesia. Neuropsychology34, 524-534.

Gray, S., Lancaster, H., Alt, M., Hogan, T., Green, S., Levy, R., & Cowan, N. (2020). The structure of word learning in young school-age children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research63, 1446-1466

Cowan, N., Belletier, C., Doherty, J.M., Jaroslawska, A.J., Rhodes, S., Forsberg, A., Naveh-Benjamin, M., Barrouillet, P. Camos, V., & Logie, R.H. (2020). How do scientific views change? Notes from an extended adversarial collaboration. Perspectives on Psychological Science15, 1011-1025.

Cowan, N. (2020). Why and how to study working memory development. L’Année Psychologique/Topics in Cognitive Psychology, 120, 135-156. [Special issue on working memory development edited by Valerie Camos.]

Morey, C.C., Rhodes, S., & Cowan. N. (2020). Co-existing, contradictory working memory models are ready for progressive refinement: Reply to Logie. Cortex, 123, 200-202.

Cowan, N. (2020). The importance of awareness of our human limits: A view from cognitive psychology and beyond. BPS Cognitive Section Bulletin, British Psychological Society, Spring 2020, Issue 5, 9-16. [Essay based on keynote address.]

Balazs Aczel, Barnabas Szaszi, Alexandra Sarafoglou, Zoltan Kekecs, Šimon Kucharský, Daniel Benjamin, Christopher Chambers, Agneta Fischer, Andrew Gelman, ,Morton Ann Gernsbacher, John Ioannidis, Eric Johnson, Kai Jonas, Stavroula Kousta, Scott Lilienfeld, D. Stephen Lindsay, Candice Morey, Marcus Munafo, ,Ben Newell, ,Harold Pashler, David Shanks, Daniel Simons, Jelte Wicherts, Dolores Albarracin, Nicole Anderson, ,John Antonakis, Hal Arkes, Mitja Back, George Banks, ,Christopher Beevers, Andrew Bennett, Wiebke Bleidorn, Ty Boyer, Cristina Cacciari, Alice Carter, Joseph Cesario, Charles Clifton, Ronán Conroy, Mike Cortese, Fiammetta Cosci, Nelson Cowan, Jarret Crawford, Eveline Crone, John Curtin, Randall Engle, Simon Farrell, ,Pasco Fearon, Mark Fichman, Mr. Willem Frankenhuis, Alexandra Freund, Gareth Gaskell, Roger Giner-Sorolla, Donald Green, Robert Greene, Lisa Harlow, Fernando Hoces de la Guardia, Derek Isaacowitz, ,Janet Kolodner, Debra Lieberman, Gordon Logan, Wendy Mendes, Lea Moersdorf, Brendan Nyhan, Jeffrey Pollack, Christopher Sullivan, Simine Vazire, Eric-Jan Wagenmakers (2020). A consensus-based transparency checklist. Nature Human Behavior, 4, 4-6. doi:10.1038/s41562-019-0772-6

Ricker, T.J., Sandry, J., Vergauwe, E., & Cowan, N. (2020). Do familiar memory items decay? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46, 60-76.

2019

Li, D., & Cowan, N. (2019). Auditory memory. In D. Jaeger & R. Jung (eds.), Encyclopedia of computational neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7320-6_244-3 (pp. 1-3).

Doherty, J.M., Belletier, C., Rhodes, S., Jaroslawska, A.J., Barrouillet, P., Camos, V., Cowan, N., Naveh-Benjamin, M., & Logie, R.H. (2019). Dual-task costs in working memory: An adversarial collaboration. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 45, 1529-1551.

Bodner, K.E., Cowan, N., & Christ, S.E. (2019). Contributions of filtering and attentional allocation to working memory performance in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 128, 881-891.

Alt, M., Gray, S., Hogan, T.P., Schlesinger, N., & Cowan, N. (2019). Spoken word learning differences among children with dyslexia, concomitant dyslexia and developmental language disorders, and typical development. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 50, 540-561.

Rhodes, S., Cowan, N., Parra, M.A., & Logie, R.H. (2019). Interaction effects on common measures of sensitivity: Choice of measure, Type I error, and power. Behavior Research Methods, 51, 2209–2227. doi: 10.3758/s13428-018-1081-0

Cowan, N., Adams, E.J., Bhangal, S., Corcoran, M., Decker, R., Dockter, C.E., Eubank, A.T., Gann, C.L., Greene, N.R., Helle, A.C., Lee, N., Nguyen, A.T., Ripley, K.R., Scofield, J.E., Tapia, M.A., Threlkeld, K.L., & Watts, A.L. (2019). Foundations of arrogance: A broad survey and framework for research. Review of General Psychology, 23, 425-443.

Alt, M., Arizmendi, G., Gray, S., Hogan, T.P., Green, S., & Cowan, N. (2019). Novel word learning in children who are bilingual: comparison to monolingual peers. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62, 2332-2360.

Cowan, N. (2019) Short-term memory based on activated long-term memory: A review in response to Norris (2017). Psychological Bulletin, 145, 822-847.

Cowan, N., & Morey, C.C. (2019). The wealth of evidence from brain lesions affecting memory: How should we use it? In S.E. MacPherson & S. Della Sala (eds.), Cases of amnesia: Contributions to understanding memory and the brain. New York: Routledge. (pp. 354-364)

Gray, S., Fox, A., Green, S., Alt, M., Hogan, T., Petscher, Y., & Cowan, N. (2019). Working memory profiles of children with dyslexia, developmental language disorder, or both. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62, 1839-1858.

Morey, C.C., Rhodes, S., & Cowan, N. (2019). Sensory-motor integration and brain lesions: Progress toward explaining domain-specific phenomena within domain-general working memory . Cortex, 112, 149-161.

Rhodes, S., & Cowan, N. (2019). Flexible representations in visual working memory and interactions with long term learning: Commentary on the special issue. British Journal of Psychology, 110, 449-460.

Rhodes, S., Jaroslawska, A.J., Doherty, J.M., Belletier, C., Naveh-Benjamin, M., Cowan, N ., Camos, V., Barrouillet, P., & Logie, R.H. (2019). Storage and processing in working memory: Assessing dual task performance and task prioritization across the adult lifespan . Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148, 1204-1227.

Vergauwe, E., Ricker, T.J., Langerock, N., & Cowan, N. (2019). What do people typically do between list items? The nature of attention-based mnemonic activities depends on task context. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 45, 779-794. doi: 10.1037/xlm0000625

2018

Erikson, J. Alt., M. Gray, S., Green, S., Hogan, T.P., & Cowan, N. (2018). Phonological vulnerability for school-aged Spanish-English-speaking bilingual children. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. https://doi.org/10 .1080/13670050.2018.1510892

Rhodes, S., & Cowan, N. (2018). Attention in working memory: Attention is needed but it yearns to be free. Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1424, 52-63. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13652

Rhodes, S., Cowan, N., Hardman, K.O., & Logie, R.H. (2018). Informed guessing in change detection. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 44, 1023-1035.

Vergauwe, E., Langerock, N., & Cowan, N. (2018). Evidence for spontaneous serial refreshing in verbal working memory? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25, 674-680.

Gargya, S., Blume, C.L., Naveh-Benjamin, M., & Cowan, N. (2018).  Memory.  In M.H. Bornstein (ed.), SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. (pp. 1375-1379)

Cowan, N. (2018). Working memory. In B. Frey (ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation.

Ricker, T.J., & Cowan, N. (2018). Cognitive load as a measure of capture of the focus of attention.  In R. Zheng, ed., Cognitive load measurement and application: A theoretical framework for meaningful research and practice. New York: Roudledge.  (pp. 129-146)

Majerus, S., Péters, F., Bouffier, M., Cowan, N., & Phillips, C. (2018). The dorsal attention network reflects both encoding load and top-down control during working memory.  Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 30, 144-159.

Clark, K.M., Hardman, K., Schachtman, T.R., Saults, J.S., Glass, B.A., & Cowan, N. (2018). Tone series and the nature of working memory capacity development. Developmental Psychology, 54, 663-676.

Cowan, N., Li, Y., Glass, B., & Saults, J.S. (2018). Development of the ability to combine visual and acoustic information in working memory. Developmental Science, 21, e12635, 1-14.

Bartholow, B.D., Fleming, K.A., Wood, P.K., Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., Altamirano, L., Miyake, A., Martins, J., & Sher, K.J. (2018). Alcohol effects on response inhibition: Variability across tasks and individuals. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 26(3), 251-267. doi: 10.1037/pha0000190

Arizmendi, G.D., Alt, M., Gray, S., Hogan, T., Green, S., & Cowan, N. (2018). Do bilingual children have an executive function advantage? Results from inhibition, shifting, and updating tasks. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49(3), 356-378. doi: 10.1044/2018_LSHSS-17-0107.

Adams, E.J., Nguyen, A.T., & Cowan, N. (2018). Theories of working memory: Differences in definition, degree of modularity, role of attention, and purpose. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49, 340-355.

Oberauer, K., Lewandowsky, S., Awh, E., Brown, G.D.A., Conway, A., Cowan, N., Donkin, C., Farrell, S.,. Hitch, G.J., Hurlstone, M., Ma, W.J., Morey, Nee, D.E., Schweppe, J., Vergauwe, E., & Ward, G. (2018). Benchmarks for models of working memory. Psychological Bulletin, 144(9), 885-958. doi: 10.1037/bul0000153

Baron, L. S., Hogan, T. P., Alt, M., Gray, S., Cabbage, K. L., Green, S., & Cowan, N. (2018). Children with dyslexia benefit from orthographic facilitation during spoken word learning. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61, 2002-2014.

Cowan, N. (2018). Experimental psychology generally, and the Journal today. Editorial essay. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147, 459-461.

Mathy, F., Chekaf, M. & Cowan, N., (2018). Simple and complex working memory tasks allow similar benefits of information compression. Journal of Cognition. 1(1), 31. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/joc.31

Gossaries, O., Yu, Q., LaRocque, J.J., Starrett, M.J., Rose, N.S., Cowan, N., & Postle, B.R. (2018). Parietal-occipital interactions underlying control- and representation-related processes in working memory for nonspatial visual features. Journal of Neuroscience, 38, 4357– 4366.

Cowan, N., & Rachev, N.R. (2018), Merging with the path not taken: Wilhelm Wundt’s work as a precursor to the embedded-processes approach to memory, attention, and consciousness. Consciousness and Cognition, 63, 228-238.

Oberauer, K., Lewandowsky, S., Awh, E., Brown, G.D.A., Conway, A., Cowan, N., Donkin, C., Farrell, S.,. Hitch, G.J., Hurlstone, M., Ma, W.J., Morey, Nee, D.E., Schweppe, J., Vergauwe, E., & Ward, G. (2018). Benchmarks provide common ground for model development. Reply to Logie (2018) and Vandierendonck (2018). Psychological Bulletin, 144(9), 972-977. doi: 10.1037/bul0000165

Morey, C.C., & Cowan, N. (2018). Can we distinguish three maintenance processes in working memory? Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1424(1), 45-51. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13925.

2017

Cowan, N. (2017). The many faces of working memory and short-term storage.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 24, 1158–1170. [+Response to commentaries. #whatWM? A Response to Lewandowsky, Oberauer, Morey, and Schweppe, part of #whatWM? A digital event celebrating the 9 lives of working memory, http://www.psychonomic.org/news/319286/whatWM-A-digital-event-celebrating-the-9-lives-of-working-memory.htm, https://twitter.com/Psychonomic_Soc/status/804622419990298624 ]

Rhodes, S. Parra, M.A., Cowan, N. & Logie, R.H. (2017). Healthy aging and visual working memory: The effect of mixing feature and conjunction changes. Psychology and Aging, 32, 354-366.

Cowan, N., Hogan, T.P., Alt, M., Green, S., Cabbage, K.L., Brinkley, S., & Gray, S. (2017). Short-term memory in childhood dyslexia:  Deficient serial order in multiple modalities. Dyslexia, 23, 209-233.

Cowan, N. (2017). Working memory, the information you are now thinking of. In J. Wixted (ed.), Learning and Memory: A Comprehensive Reference, 2nd edition. Elsevier.

Alt, M., Hogan, T., Green, S., Gray, S., Cabbage, K. L., & Cowan, N. (2017). Word learning deficits in children with dyslexia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 60, 1012-1028. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-16-0036.

Tamm, G., Kreegipuu, K., Harro, J., & Cowan, N. (2017). Updating schematic emotional facial expressions in working memory: Response bias and sensitivity. Acta Psychologica, 172, 10-18.

Cowan, N. (2017). Mental objects in working memory: Development of basic capacity or of cognitive completion? Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 52, 81-104. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/bs.acdb.2016.12.001

Gray, S., Green, S., Alt, M., Hogan, T., Kuo, T., Brinkley, S., & Cowan, N. (2017). The structure of working memory in young school-age children and its relation to intelligence. Journal of Memory and Language, 19,183-201.

Cabbage, K.L., Brinkley, S., Gray, S., Alt, M., Cowan, N., Green, S., Kuo, T., & Hogan, T.P. (2017).Assessing working memory in children: The Comprehensive Assessment Battery for Children –Working Memory (CABC-WM). Journal of Visualized Experiments, 124, e55121, 1-11.

2016

Chekaf, M., Cowan, N., & Mathy, F. (2016). Chunk formation in immediate memory and how it relates to data compression. Cognition, 155, 96-107.

Vergauwe, E., Hardman, K.O., Rouder, J.N., Roemer, E. McAllaster, S. & Cowan, N. (2016). Searching for serial refreshing in working memory: Using response times to track the content of the focus of attention over time. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23, 1818-1824.

Hardman, K.O., & Cowan, N. (2016). Reasoning and memory: People make varied use of the information available in working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42, 700-722.

Response to commentaries . #whatWM? A Response to Lewandowsky, Oberauer, Morey, and Schweppe , part of #whatWM? A digital event celebrating the 9 lives of working memory
http://www.psychonomic.org/news/319286/whatWM-A-digital-event-celebrating-the-9-lives-of-working-memory.htm
https://twitter.com/Psychonomic_Soc/status/804622419990298624 

Cowan, N. (2016). Exploring the possible and necessary in working memory development. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 81, 149-158. (Commentary on article by Vanessa R. Simmering, "Working memory capacity in context: Modeling dynamic processes of behavior, memory, and development")

Cowan, N. (2016). Process Overlap Theory and first principles of intelligence testing. Psychological Inquiry, 27 #3, 190-191.

Majerus, S., & Cowan, N. (2016). The nature of verbal short-term impairment in dyslexia: The importance of serial order. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1-8, article 1522. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01522. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5045932/?report=classic
Published online 2016 Oct 3. doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01522

Green, S.B., Yang, Y., Alt, M., Brinkley, S., Gray, S., Hogan, T., & Cowan, N. (2016). Use of internal consistency coefficients for estimating reliability of experimental task scores. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23, 750-763.

Majerus, S., Cowan, N., Peters, F., Van Calster, L., Phillips, C., & Schrouff, J. (2016). Cross-modal decoding of neural patterns associated with working memory: Evidence for attention-based accounts of working memory.Cerebral Cortex, 2016 Jan; 26(1): 166-179.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4717284/
Published online 2014 Aug 21. doi:  10.1093/cercor/bhu189

Blume, C.L., Boone, A.P., & Cowan, N. (2016). On the use of response chunking as a tool to investigate strategies. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1942.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4717289/
Published online 2016 Jan 19. doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01942

Ricker, T.J., Vergauwe, E., & Cowan, N. (2016). Decay theory of immediate memory: From Brown (1958) to today (2014). The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69:10, 1969-1995, DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2014.914546

Cowan, N. (2016). Working memory maturation: Can we get at the essence of cognitive growth? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 239-264. 

Cowan, N., Hardman, K., Saults, J.S., Blume, C.L., Clark, K.M., & Sunday, M.A. (2016). Detection of the number of changes in a display in working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42(2): 169-185. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4737980/
Published online 2015 Aug 10. doi:  10.1037/xlm0000163

2015

Öztekin, I., & Cowan, N. (2015). Representational states in memory: Where do we stand? Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9: 453.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4539515/
Published online 2015 Aug 18. doi:  10.3389/fnhum.2015.00453

Hardman, K., & Cowan, N. (2015). Remembering complex objects in visual working memory: Do capacity limits restrict objects or features? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41(2): 325-347.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4317397/
Published online 2014 Aug 4. doi:  10.1037/xlm0000031

Logie, R.H., & Cowan, N. (2015). Perspectives on working memory: Introduction to the special issue. Memory and Cognition, 43, 315–324

Vergauwe, E., & Cowan, N. (2015). Theories of short-term memory. In J.D. Wright, editor in chief, International Encyclopedia of Social & Behavioral Science (second edition, Vol. 21). Oxford, UK: Elsevier. (pp. 901-908). 
[For a copy of this article, write to CowanN@missouri.edu.]

Cowan, N. (2015). Sensational memorability: Working memory for things we see hear, feel, or somehow sense. In C. LeFebvre, P. Jolicoeur, & J. Martinez-Trujillo (eds.), Mechanisms of Sensory Working Memory. Elsevier. (pp. 5-22)

Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., Clark, K.M. (2015). Exploring age differences in visual working memory capacity: Is there a contribution of memory for configuration?  Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 135, 72-85.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4397185/
Published online 2015 Apr 2. doi:  10.1016/j.jecp.2015.03.002

Cowan, N. (2015). George Miller’s magical number of immediate memory in retrospect:  Observations on the faltering progression of science. Psychological Review, 122(3): 536-541. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4486516/
Published online 2015 Mar 9. doi:  10.1037/a0039035

Cowan, N. (2015). Second-language use, theories of working memory, and the Vennian mind.  In Z. Wen, M.B. Mota, & A. McNeill (eds.), Working memory in second language acquisition and processing.Bristol, UK:  Multilingual Matters. (pp. 29-40)

Vergauwe, E.A. & Cowan, N. (2015). Working memory units are all in your head: Factors that influence whether features or objects are the favored units. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41(5): 1404-1416. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4546922/
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi:  10.1037/xlm0000108

Cowan, N. & Vergauwe, E.A. (2015). Applying how adults rehearse to understand how rehearsal may develop. Frontiers in Psychology, 5: 1538.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4285863/
Published online 2015 Jan 7. doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01538

Li, D., Christ, S.E., Johnson, J.D., & Cowan, N. (2015). Attention and Memory. In, Brain mapping: An encyclopedic reference. Elsevier.
[For a copy of this article, write to CowanN@missouri.edu.]

Cowan, N., Ricker, T.J., Clark, K.M., Hinrichs, G.A., & Glass, B.A. (2015). Knowledge cannot explain the developmental growth of working memory capacity. Developmental Science, 18(1): 132-145.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270959/
Published online 2014 Jun 18. doi:  10.1111/desc.12197

Li, D., & Cowan, N. (2015). Auditory memory. In D. Jaeger & R. Jung (eds.), Encyclopedia of computational neuroscience. Springer. (pp. 236-238)

Vergauwe, E.A., & Cowan, N. (2015). Attending to items in working memory: Evidence that refreshing and memory search are closely related. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22(4): 1001-1006.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4417097/
doi:  10.3758/s13423-014-0755-6

Ricker, T.J., Vergauwe, E., Hinrichs, G.A., Blume, C.L., & Cowan, N. (2015). No recovery of memory when cognitive load is decreased. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41(3): 872-880. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4420690/
Published online 2014 Nov 24. doi: 10.1037/xlm0000084

2014

Dewar, M., Alber, J., Cowan, N., & Della Sala, S. (2014). Boosting long-term memory via wakeful rest: Intentional rehearsal is not necessary, consolidation is sufficient. PLOS One 9(10): e109542, 1-10.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4198139/
Published online 2014 Oct 15. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0109542

Gilchrist, A.L., & Cowan, N. (2014). A two-stage search of visual working memory: Investigating speed in the change-detection paradigm. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 76(7): 2031–2050.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4213246/
doi:  10.3758/s13414-014-0704-5

Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., & Blume, C.L. (2014). Central and peripheral components of working memory storage. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(5): 1806-1836.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4172497/
Published online 2014 May 26. doi:  10.1037/a0036814

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Kilb, A., Maddox, G., Thomas, J., Fine, H., Chen, T., & Cowan, N. (2014). Older adults don't notice their names: A new twist to a classic attention task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40: 1540-1550.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4227939/
Published online 2014 May 12. doi:  10.1037/xlm0000020

Ricker, T.J., Spiegel, L.R., & Cowan, N. (2014). Time-based loss in visual short-term memory is from trace decay, not temporal distinctiveness. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(6):1510-1523.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4227970/
Published online 2014 Jun 2. doi:  10.1037/xlm0000018

Vergauwe, E., & Cowan, N. (2014). Assessing and revising the plan for intelligence testing. Journal of Intelligence, 2(2): 29-32.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4204625/
Published online 2014 Apr 4. doi:  10.3390/jintelligence2020029

Li, D., Christ, S.E., & Cowan, N. (2014). Domain-general and domain-specific functional networks in working memory. Neuroimage, 102(02): 646-656.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4252243/
Published online 2014 Aug 27. doi:  10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.08.028

Vergauwe, E., & Cowan, N. (2014). A common short-term memory retrieval rate may describe many cognitive procedures. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8 (article 126), 1-7.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945934/
Published online 2014 Mar 7. doi:  10.3389/fnhum.2014.00126

Lutfi-Proctor, D.A., Elliott, E.M., & Cowan, N. (2014). The role of visual stimuli in cross-modal stroop interference. PsyCh Journal, 3(1): 17-29.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4109324/
doi: 10.1002/pchj.51

Ricker, T.J., & Cowan, N. (2014). Differences between presentation methods in working memory procedures: A matter of working memory consolidation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(2): 417-428.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4056671/
Published online 2013 Sep 23. doi:  10.1037/a0034301

Cowan, N. (2014). Working memory underpins cognitive development, learning, and education. Educational Psychology Review, 26(2), 197-223.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4207727/
Published online 2013 Dec 3. doi:  10.1007/s10648-013-9246-y

2013

Cowan, N., Donnell, K., & Saults, J.S. (2013). A list-length constraint on incidental item-to-item associations. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20(6): 1253 -1258.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4101983/
doi:  10.3758/s13423-013-0447-7

Cowan, N. (2013). Working memory. In H. Pashler (ed.), Encyclopedia of the mind. Sage.

Cowan, N., & Saults, J.S. (2013). When Does a Good Working Memory Counteract Proactive Interference? Surprising Evidence From a Probe Recognition Task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 142(1): 12-17.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3381990/
Published online 2012 Mar 19. doi:  10.1037/a0027804

Li, D., Cowan, N., & Saults, J.S. (2013). Estimating working memory capacity for lists of nonverbal sounds. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 75(1): 145-160.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3527657/
doi:  10.3758/s13414-012-0383-z

Chen, Z., & Cowan, N. (2013). Working memory inefficiency: Minimal information is utilized in visual recognition tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 39(5): 1449-1462.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3770825/
Published online 2013 Feb 18. doi:  10.1037/a0031790

Cowan, N. (2013). Short-term and working memory in childhood. In P.J. Bauer and R. Fivush (eds.), Handbook on the development of children’s memory. Wiley-Blackwell.

Cowan, N., Blume, C.L., & Saults, J.S. (2013). Attention to attributes and objects in working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology:Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 39(3): 731-747.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3825193/
Published online 2012 Aug 20. doi:  10.1037/a0029687

2012

Hackley, S.A., & Cowan, N. (2012). In memory of David G. McDonald, 1933-2012. Experimental Psychology Bulletin, 16, 13-14.

Cowan, N. (2012). Working memory: the seat of learning and comprehension. In Della Sala, S., & Anderson, M. (eds), Neuroscience in education: The good, the bad, and the ugly. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. (pp. 111-127).

Cowan, N., Rouder, J.N., Blume, C.L., & Saults, J.S. (2012). Models of verbal working memory capacity: What does it take to make them work? Psychological Review, 119(3): 480-499.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3618891/
Published online 2012 Apr 9. doi:  10.1037/a0027791

Dewar, M., Alber, J., Butler, C., Cowan, N., & Della Sala, S. (2012). Brief wakeful resting boosts new memories over the long term. Psychological Science, 23, 955-960.

Dewar, M., Pesallaccia, M., Cowan, N., Provinciali, L., & Della Sala, S. (2012). Insights into spared memory capacity in amnestic MCI and Alzheimer's Disease via minimal interference. Brain and Cognition, 78, 189-199.

Gilchrist, A.L., & Cowan, N. (2012). Chunking. In V. Ramachandran (ed.) Encyclopedia of human behavior, Vol. 1.  San Diego: Academic Press. (pp. 476-483)

Cowan, N. (2012). Focused and divided attention to the eyes and ears: A research journey. In J.M. Wolfe & L. Robertson, Festschrift for Ann Treisman. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.

Becker, T. M., Cicero, D. C., Cowan, N., & Kerns, J. G. (2012). Cognitive control components and speech symptoms in people with schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research, 196(1): 20-26. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445960/
Published online 2012 Feb 22. doi:  10.1016/j.psychres.2011.10.003

2011

Gilchrist, A.L., & Cowan, N. (2011). Can the focus of attention accommodate multiple separate items? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 37(6): 1484-1502.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3197943/
Published online 2011 Jul 18. doi:  10.1037/a0024352

Cowan, N., AuBuchon, A.M., Gilchrist, A.L., Ricker, T.J., & Saults, J.S. (2011). Age differences in visual working memory capacity: Not based on encoding limitations. Developmental Science, 14(5): 1066-1074.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3177168/
Published online 2011 Jun 18. doi:  10.1111/j.1467-7687.2011.01060.x

Cowan, N. (2011). The focus of attention as observed in visual working memory tasks: Making sense of competing claims. Neuropsychologia, 49(6): 1401-1406
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3095706/
Published online 2011 Jan 26. doi:  10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.01.035

Rouder, J.N., Morey, R.D., Morey, C.C., & Cowan, N. (2011). How to measure working-memory capacity in the change-detection paradigm. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18(2): 324-330.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3070885/
Published online 2011 Feb 19. doi:  10.3758/s13423-011-0055-3

Cowan, N., Li, D., Moffitt, A., Becker, T.M., Martin, E.A., Saults, J.S., & Christ, S.E. (2011). A neural region of abstract working memory. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(10), 2852-2863.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3138911/
Published online 2011 Jan 24. doi:  10.1162/jocn.2011.21625

Morey, C.C., Cowan, N., Morey, R.D., & Rouder, J.N. (2011). Flexible attention allocation to visual and auditory working memory tasks: Manipulating reward induces a tradeoff. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 73(2), 458–472.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3037478/
Published online 2010 Nov 10. doi:  10.3758/s13414-010-0031-4

Cowan, N. (2011). Covert pronunciation and rehearsal. In N.M. Seel (ed.), Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning. Springer: Heidelberg, Germany. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6.

Cowan, N., Morey, C.C., AuBuchon, A.M., Zwilling, C.E., Gilchrist, A.L., & Saults, J.S. (2011). New insights into an old problem: Distinguishing storage from processing in the development of working memory. In P. Barrouillet & V. Gaillard (eds.), Cognitive development and working memory: A dialogue between neo-Piagetian theories and cognitive approaches. Hove, UK: Psychology Press. (pp. 137-150)

Cowan, N. (2011). Working memory and attention in language use. In J. Guendouzi, F. Loncke, & M.J. Williams (eds.), The Handbook of psycholinguistic and cognitive processes: Perspectives in communication disorders. New York: Taylor & Francis. (pp. 75-97)

2010

Cowan, N., Hismjatullina, A., AuBuchon, A.M., Saults, J.S., Horton, N., Leadbitter, K., & Towse, J. (2010). With development, list recall includes more chunks, not just larger ones. Developmental Psychology, 46(5): 1119-1131.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3078047/
doi:  10.1037/a0020618

Lee, E., Cowan, N., Vogel, E.K., Rolan, T., Valle-Inclán, F., & Hackley, S.A. (2010). Visual working memory deficits in Parkinson’s patients are due to both reduced storage capacity and impaired ability to filter out irrelevant information. Brain, 133(9), 2677-2689.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929336/
Published online 2010 Aug 5. doi:  10.1093/brain/awq197

Ricker, T.J., & Cowan, N. (2010). Loss of visual working memory within seconds: The combined use of refreshable and non-refreshable features. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 36(6): 1355-1368
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2970679/
doi:  10.1037/a0020356

Ricker, T.J., Cowan, N., & Morey, C.C. (2010). Visual working memory is disrupted by covert verbal retrieval. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17(4): 516-521.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3050528/
doi:  10.3758/PBR.17.4.516

Dewar, M., Della Sala, S., Beschin, N., & Cowan, N. (2010). Profound retroactive interference in anterograde amnesia: What interferes? Neuropsychology, 24(3), 357-367.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2864945/
doi:  10.1037/a0018207

Cowan, N. (2010). Multiple concurrent thoughts: The meaning and developmental neuropsychology of working memory. Developmental Neuropsychology, 35(5), 447-474.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2925295/
doi:  10.1080/87565641.2010.494985

Ricker, T.J., AuBuchon, A., & Cowan, N. (2010). Working memory. In L. Nadel (Ed.), Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1, 573-585.

Cowan, N. (2010). The magical mystery four: How is working memory capacity limited, and why? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19(1): 51-57.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2864034/
doi:  10.1177/0963721409359277

Gilchrist, A.L., & Cowan, N. (2010). Conscious and unconscious aspects of working memory. In I. Winkler & I. Czigler (eds.), Unconscious memory representations in perception: Processes and mechanisms in the brain. Advances in Consciousness research. Vol. 78. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. (Pp. 1-35)

Dewar, M.T., Della Sala, S., & Cowan, N. (2010). Forgetting due to retroactive interference in amnesia: Findings and implications. In S. Della Sala, Forgetting. Current Issues in Memory. Psychology Press. (Pp. 185-209)

Cowan, N., Morey, C.C., AuBuchon, A.M., Zwilling, C.E., & Gilchrist, A.L. (2010). Seven-year-olds allocate attention like adults unless working memory is overloaded. Developmental Science, 13(1), 120-133.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2819460/
doi:  10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00864.x

2009

Cowan, N. (5 November, 2009). Disproving myself. Psychology Today, web log (listed as an Essential Read on the Psychology Today web site, 5 November 2009).

Gilchrist, A.L., Cowan, N., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2009). Investigating the childhood development of working memory using sentences: New evidence for the growth of chunk capacity. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 104(2): 252-265.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2752294/
Published online 2009 Jun 17. doi:  10.1016/j.jecp.2009.05.006

Cowan, N. (2009). Capacity limits and consciousness. In T. Baynes, A. Cleeremans, & P. Wilken (Eds.), Oxford Companion to Consciousness (pp. 127-130).  New York: Oxford University. 

Cowan, N. (2009, February 23). By their bootstraps: Brain imaging in the Show-Me State. RT Image, 22(8), 1-4.

Cowan, N. (2009, March). President's Message: A Brief History of Experimental Psychology, 1850 - 2125. The Experimental Psychology Bulletin, 13, 1.

Cowan, N., & Rouder, J.N. (2009, February 13). Comment on "Dynamic Shifts of Limited Working Memory Resources in Human Vision". Science, 323(5916): 877.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2730043/
doi:  10.1126/science.1166478

Cowan, N. (2009). Sensory and Immediate Memory. In W.P. Banks (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Consciousness.(Vol.2, pp. 327-339).  Oxford: Elsevier.
[For a copy of this article, write to CowanN@missouri.edu.]

Cowan, N. (2009). Working Memory from the Trailing Edge of Consciousness to Neurons. [Review of T. Klingberg,The Overflowing Brain: Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory].  Neuron, 62, 13 - 16. 

Cowan, N., & Alloway, T. (2009). Development of Working Memory In Childhood. In M.L. Courage & N. Cowan (Eds.), The development of memory in infancy and childhood.  Hove, East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press, 303-342.

Cowan, N., & Chen, Z. (2009). How chunks form in long-term memory and affect short-term memory limits. In A. Thorn & M. Page (Eds.), Interactions between short-term and long-term memory in the verbal domain (pp. 86-101). Hove, East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press.

Chen, Z., & Cowan, N. (2009). How verbal memory loads consume attention. Memory & Cognition, 37(6): 829-836.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804027/
doi:  10.3758/MC.37.6.829

Dewar, M., Fernandez Garcia, Y., Cowan, N., & Della Sala, S. (2009). Delaying interference enhances memory consolidation in amnesic patients. Neuropsychology, 23(5): 627-634. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2808210/
doi:  10.1037/a0015568

Chen, Z., & Cowan, N. (2009). Core verbal working-memory capacity: The limit in words retained without covert articulation. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62(7): 1420–1429.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2693080/
Published online 2008 Dec 1. doi:  10.1080/17470210802453977

2008

Cowan, N. (2008, March). Autobiography of the president-elect. The Experimental Psychology Bulletin, 12, #1. 

Cowan, N. (2008, June/July). The rest of the story: The size of thought. Scientific American Mind, 32-35. [Commentary on McCollough & Vogel, "Your inner spam filter: What makes you so smart? Might be your lizard brain."

Cowan, N. (2008, September). Arrogance, social consensus, and experimental psychology. APA Division 3 presidential essay. The Experimental Psychology Bulletin, 12(2).

Cowan, N., & AuBuchon, A.M. (2008). Short-term memory loss over time without retroactive stimulus interference. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15(1): 230-235.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2662695/
No doi number listed

Cowan, N. (2008).  Sensory Memory.  In H. L. Roediger, III (Ed.) & J. Byrne (Vol. Ed.), Cognitive Psychology of Memory:  Vol. 2. Learning and Memory: A Comprehensive Reference, 4 vols. (pp. 23-32). Oxford: Elsevier.
[For a copy of this article, write to CowanN@missouri.edu.]

Cowan, N. (2008).  Working Memory.  In N.J. Salkind (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 1015-1016).  London:Sage Publications.

Cowan, N. (2008).  What are the differences between long-term, short-term, and working memory? In W.S. Sossin, J.-C. Lacaille, V.F. Castellucci & S. Belleville (Eds.), Progress in Brain Research: Vol. 169. Essence of Memory (pp. 323-338). Amsterdam: Elsevier B.V.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2657600/
doi:  10.1016/S0079-6123(07)00020-9

Cowan, N., Morey, C.C., Chen, Z., Gilchrist, A.L., & Saults, J.S. (2008). Theory and measurement of working memory capacity limits. In B.H. Ross (Ed.), The Psychology of Learning and Motivation (Vol. 49, pp. 49-104). Amsterdam: Elsevier B.V.

Gilchrist, A.L., Cowan, N., & Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2008). Working memory capacity for spoken sentences decreases with adult aging: Recall of fewer, but not smaller chunks in older adults. Memory, 16(7): 773-787.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2610466/
doi:  10.1080/09658210802261124

Rouder, J.N., Morey, R.D., Cowan, N., Zwilling, C.E., Morey, C.C., & Pratte, M.S. (2008). An assessment of fixed-capacity models of visual working memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS), 105(16): 5975–5979.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2329704/
Published online 2008 Apr 17. doi:  10.1073/pnas.0711295105

Towse, J.N., Cowan, N., Horton, N.J., & Whytock, S. (2008). Task experience and children's working memory performance: A perspective from recall timing. Developmental Psychology, 44(3): 695-706.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658821/
doi:  10.1037/0012-1649.44.3.695

Towse, J.N., Cowan, N., Hitch, G.J., & Horton, N.J. (2008). The recall of information from working memory: Insights from behavioural and chronometric perspectives. Experimental Psychology, 55(6): 371-383.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658622/
doi:  10.1027/1618-3169.55.6.371

Bunting, M.F., Cowan, N., & Colflesh, G.H. (2008). The deployment of attention in short-term memory tasks: Tradeoffs between immediate and delayed deployment. Memory & Cognition, 36(4): 799-812.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2667108/
No doi number listed

Shelton, J.T., Elliott, E.M., Cowan, N. (2008). Attention and working memory: Tools for understanding consciousness. Psyche, 14(1).

2007

Halford, G.S., Cowan, N., & Andrews, G. (2007). Separating cognitive capacity from knowledge: A new hypothesis. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11(6): 236-242.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2613182/
Published online 2007 May 1. doi:  10.1016/j.tics.2007.04.001

Saults, J.S., Cowan, N., Sher, K.J., & Moreno, M.V. (2007). Differential effects of alcohol on working memory: Distinguishing multiple processes. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 15(6): 576–587
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658822/
doi:  10.1037/1064-1297.15.6.576

Saults, J.S., & Cowan, N. (2007). A central capacity limit to the simultaneous storage of visual and auditory arrays in working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136(4):  663-684.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2621445/
doi:  10.1037/0096-3445.136.4.663

Cowan, N., & Morey, C.C. (2007). How can dual-task working memory retention limits be investigated? Psychological Science, 18(8):  686-688.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2615808/
doi:  10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01960.x

Cowan, N. (2007). What can infants tell us about working memory development? In L.M. Oakes & P.J. Bauer (Eds.), Short- and long- term memory in infancy and early childhood: Taking the first steps toward remembering. (pp. 126-150). New York: Oxford University Press.

Dewar, M.T., Cowan, N., & Della Sala, S. (2007). Forgetting due to retroactive interference: A fusion of Müller and Pilzecker’s (1900) early insights into everyday forgetting and recent research on anterograde amnesia. Cortex, 43(5):  616-634.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2644330/
No doi number listed

Naveh-Benjamin, M., Cowan, N., Kilb, A., & Chen, Z. (2007). Age-related differences in immediate serial recall: Dissociating chunk formation and capacity. Memory & Cognition, 35(4):  724-737.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1995413/
No doi number listed

Cowan, N., Morey, C.C., Chen, Z., & Bunting, M.F. (2007). What do estimates of working memory capacity tell us? In N. Osaka, R. Logie, & M. D’Esposito (Eds.), The cognitive neuroscience of working memory: Behavioral and neural correlates (pp. 43-58). Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.  

Cowan, N., Morey, C.C., & Chen, Z. (2007). The legend of the magical number seven. In S. Della Sala (Ed.), Tall tales about the mind & brain: Separating fact from fiction (pp. 45-59). Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.

2006

Bunting, M.F., Cowan, N., & Saults, J.S. (2006). How does running memory span work? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59(10):  1691-1700.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1559727/
doi:  10.1080/17470210600848402

Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., & Morey, C.C. (2006). Development of working memory for verbal-spatial associations. Journal of Memory and Language, 55(2):  274-289.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1832114/
doi:  10.1016/j.jml.2006.04.002

Cowan, N., & Morey, C.C. (2006). Visual working memory depends on attentional filtering. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10(4):  139-141.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2635910/
Published online 2006 Feb 23. doi:  10.1016/j.tics.2006.02.001 

Cowan, N., Fristoe, N.M., Elliott, E.M., Brunner, R.P., & Saults, J.S. (2006). Scope of attention, control of attention, and intelligence in children and adults. Memory & Cognition, 34(8):  1754-1768.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1868392/
No doi number listed

Cowan, N., Kane, M.J., Conway, A.R.A., & Ispa-Cowan, A.J. (2006). Stupid brain! Homer’s working memory odyssey. In A. Brown, The psychology of the Simpsons: D'Oh! (pp. 49-64). Dallas: BenBella Books. 

Cowan, N., Naveh-Benjamin, M., Kilb, A., & Saults, J.S. (2006). Life-Span development of visual working memory: When is feature binding difficult? Developmental Psychology, 42(6):  1089-1102.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1635970/
doi:  10.1037/0012-1649.42.6.1089 

Cowan, N., Elliott, E.M., Saults, J.S., Nugent, L.D., Bomb, P., & Hismjatullina, A. (2006). Rethinking speed theories of cognitive development: Increasing the rate of recall without affecting accuracy. Psychological Science, 17(1):  67-73.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2615186/
doi:  10.1111/j.1467-9280.2005.01666.x

Cowan, N. (2006). Within fluid cognition: Fluid processing and fluid storage? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 29(2), 129-130. Commentary on C. Blair target article.

Elliott, E.M., Barrilleaux, K.M., & Cowan, N. (2006). Individual differences in the ability to avoid distracting sounds. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 18(1), 90-108.

2005

Chen, Z., & Cowan, N. (2005). Chunk limits and length limits in immediate recall: A reconciliation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 31(6):  1235-1249.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2673719/
doi:  10.1037/0278-7393.31.6.1235

Cowan, N., Elliott, E.M., Saults, J.S., Morey, C.C., Mattox, S., Hismjatullina, A., & Conway, A.R.A. (2005). On the capacity of attention: Its estimation and its role in working memory and cognitive aptitudes. Cognitive Psychology, 51(1):  42-100.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2673732/
Published online 2005 Mar 2. doi:  10.1016/j.cogpsych.2004.12.001

Cowan, N., Johnson, T.D., & Saults, J.S. (2005). Capacity limits in list item recognition: Evidence from proactive interference. Memory, 13(3/4), 293-299.

Yiend, J., Mathews, A., & Cowan, N. (2005). Selective attention tasks in clinical and cognitive research. In A. Wenzel and D.C. Rubin (Eds.), Cognitive methods and their application to clinical research (pp. 65 – 71). Washington, D.C.: APA Books.

Cowan, N. (2005). Selective attention tasks in cognitive research. In A. Wenzel and D.C. Rubin (Eds.), Cognitive methods and their application to clinical research (pp. 73 – 96). Washington, D.C.: APA Books.

Morey, C.C., & Cowan, N. (2005). When do visual and verbal memories conflict? The importance of working-memory load and retrieval. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 31(4):  703-713.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2610475/
doi:  10.1037/0278-7393.31.4.703

Bunting, M.F., & Cowan, N. (2005). Working memory and flexibility in awareness and attention. Psychological Research, 69(5-6):  412-419.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2610471/
Published online 2005 Apr 26. doi:  10.1007/s00426-004-0204-7

Elliott, E.M., & Cowan, N. (2005). Coherence of the irrelevant-sound effect: Individual profiles of short-term memory and susceptibility to task-irrelevant materials. Memory & Cognition, 33(4):  664-675.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2669750/
No doi number listed

Cowan, N. (2005). Understanding intelligence: A summary and an adjustable-attention hypothesis. In O. Wilhelm & R.W. Engle (Eds.), Handbook of understanding and measuring intelligence (pp. 469-488). London: Sage.

Winkler, I., & Cowan, N. (2005). From sensory to long term memory: Evidence from auditory memory reactivation studies. Experimental Psychology, 52(1), 3-20.

Della Sala, S., Cowan, N., Beschin, N., & Perini, M. (2005). Just lying there, remembering: Improving recall of prose in amnesic patients with mild cognitive impairment by minimizing interference. Memory, 13(3/4), 435-440.

Towse, J., & Cowan, N. (2005). Working memory and its relevance for cognitive development. In W. Schneider, R. Schumann-Hengsteler, & B. Sodian (Eds.), Young children’s cognitive development: Interrelationships among executive functioning, working memory, verbal ability, and theory of mind (pp. 9-37). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Cowan, N. (2005). Working-memory capacity limits in a theoretical context. In C. Izawa & N. Ohta (Eds.), Human learning and memory: Advances In theory and applications (pp. 155-175). The 4th Tsukuba international conference on memory. Erlbaum.

2004

Jarrold, C., Cowan, N., Hewes, A.K., & Riby, D.M. (2004). Speech timing and verbal short-term memory: Evidence for contrasting deficits in Down syndrome and Williams syndrome. Journal of Memory and Language, 51, 365-380. 

Cowan, N., Beschin, N., & Della Sala, S. (2004). Verbal recall in amnesiacs under conditions of diminished retroactive interference. Brain, 127, 825-834.

Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., & Brown, G.D.A. (2004). On the auditory modality superiority effect in serial recall: Separating input and output factors. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 30, 639-644.

Rouder, J.N., Morey, R.D., Cowan, N., & Pfaltz, M. (2004). Learning in a unidimensional absolute identification task. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 11, 938-944.

Cowan, N., Chen, Z., & Rouder, J.N. (2004). Constant capacity in an immediate serial-recall task: A logical sequel to Miller (1956). Psychological Science, 15, 634-640. 

Morey, C.C., & Cowan, N. (2004). When visual and verbal memories compete: Evidence of cross-domain limits in working memory. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 11, 296-301.

Cowan, N. (2004). On the psychophysics of memory. In C. Kaernbach, E. Schröger, & H. Müller (Eds.), Psychophysics beyond sensation: Laws and invariants of human cognition(pp. 313-319). Scientific Psychology Series. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

2003

Cowan, N.  (2003).  Varieties of procedural accounts of working memory retention systems.  Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 26, 731-732.  (Commentary on target article by Ruchkin et al.)

Cowan, N., Towse, J.N., Hamilton, Z., Saults, J.S., Elliott, E.M., Lacey, J.F., Moreno, M.V., & Hitch, G.J. (2003). Children's working-memory processes: A response-timing analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 132, 113-132.

Cowan, N. (2003).  Comparisons of developmental modeling frameworks and levels of analysis in cognition:  Connectionist and dynamic systems theories deserve attention, but don't yet explain attention.  In J.P. Spencer & E. Thelen (Eds.) (2002).  Connectionism and dynamic systems approaches to development [Special issue].  Developmental Science, 6, 440-447. 

Cowan, N. (2003).  Preserving the spirit and respect of academia through traditions.  APS Observer, 16, 10.  (American Psychological Society)

Gardiner, J.M., & Cowan, N. (2003).  Modality effects.  In J.H. Byrne, H. Eichenbaum, H.Roediger III, & R.F. Thompson (Eds.), Learning and Memory (2nd ed., pp. 397-400).  New York, NY:  Macmillan.

Cowan, N., Baddeley, A.D., Elliott, E.M., & Norris, J. (2003). List composition and the word length effect in immediate recall: A comparison of localist and globalist assumptions. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 10, 74-79.

Crowder, R.G., & Cowan, N. (2003). Sensory memory. Revision by N. Cowan of first-edition entry by Robert G. Crowder. In J.H. Byrne, H. Eichenbaum, H.Roediger III, & R.F. Thompson (Eds.), Learning and Memory (2nd ed., pp. 607-609). Macmillan.

2002

Cowan, N. (2002). Childhood development of working memory: An examination of two basic parameters. In P. Graf and N. Ohta, Lifespan development of human memory(pp. 39 - 57). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Winkler, I., Korzyukov, O., Gumenyuk, V., Cowan, N., Linkenkaer-Hansen, K., Ilmoniemi, R.J., Alho, K., & Näätänen, R. (2002). Temporary and longer term retention of acoustic information. Psychophysiology, 39, 530-534.

Cowan, N. (2002). Experimental psychology and its implications for human development. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS). Oxford, U.K.

Conway, A.R.A., Cowan, N., Bunting, M.F., Therriault, D.J., & Minkoff, S.R.B. (2002). A latent variable analysis of working memory capacity, short-term memory capacity, processing speed, and general fluid intelligence. Intelligence, 30, 163-183.

Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., & Elliott, E.M.. (2002). The search for what is fundamental in the development of working memory. In R. Kail & H. Reese (Eds.), Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 29, 1-49.

Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., Elliott, E.M., & Moreno, M. (2002). Deconfounding serial recall. Journal of Memory and Language, 46, 153-177. 

2001

Cowan, N. (2000/01). Processing limits of selective attention and working memory: Potential implications for interpreting. Interpreting, 5, 117-146.

Cowan, N. (2001). The magical number 4 in short-term memory: A reconsideration of mental storage capacity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24, 87-185.  
*Included in the above: Cowan, N. (2001). Metatheory of storage capacity limits. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24, 154-176. (Reply to commentaries)

Elliott, E.M., & Cowan, N. (2001). Habituation to auditory distractors in a cross-modal, color-word interference task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 27, 654-667.

Conway, R.A., Cowan, N., & Bunting, M.F. (2001). The cocktail party phenomenon revisited: The importance of working memory capacity. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 8, 331-335.

Cowan, N., Saults, S., & Nugent, L. (2001). The ravages of absolute and relative amounts of time on memory. In H.L. Roediger III, J.S. Nairne, I. Neath, & A. Surprenant (Eds.), The nature of remembering: Essays in honor of Robert G. Crowder (pp. 315 - 330). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Winkler, I., Schröger, E., & Cowan, N. (2001). The role of large-scale memory organization in the mismatch negativity event-related brain potential. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 13, 59-71.

2000

Gomes, H., Molholm, S., Ritter, W., Kurtzberg, D., Cowan, N., & Vaughan, Jr., H.G. (2000). Mismatch negativity in children and adults, and effects of an attended task. Psychophysiology, 37, 807-816.

Cowan, N., Rouder, J.N., & Stadler, M.A. (2000). Conjuring a work from the dream time of cognitive psychology. American Journal of Psychology, 113, 639-671.

Cowan, N. (2000). Childhood development of some basic parameters of working memory. In E. Schröger, A. Mecklinger, & A.D. Friederici (Eds.), Working on working memory. Leipzig Series in Cognitive Sciences 1. Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag.

Cowan, N., Nugent, L.D., Elliott, E.M., & Saults, J.S. (2000). Persistence of memory for ignored lists of digits: Areas of developmental constancy and change. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 76, 151-172.

Gomes, H., Molholm, Christodoulou, C., Ritter, W. & Cowan, N. (2000). The development of auditory attention in children. Frontiers in Bioscience, 5, 108-120.

Cowan, N., Nugent, L.D., Elliott, E.M., and Geer, T. (2000). Is there a temporal basis of the word length effect? A response to Service (1998). Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 53A(3), 647-660.

Cowan, N., Nugent, L.D., & Elliott, E.M. (2000). Memory-search and rehearsal processes and the word length effect in immediate recall: A synthesis in reply to Service. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 53A(3), 666-670. 

Brunner, R., & Cowan, N. (2000, Fall). The role of attention in the development of working memory. McNair Journal.

Pre-2000

Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., Nugent, L.D., & Elliott, E.M. (1999). The microanalysis of memory span and its development in childhood. International Journal of Psychology, 34, 353-358. (Special Quebec Memory Conference issue)

Cowan, N. (1999). An embedded-processes model of working memory. In A. Miyake & P. Shah (Eds.), Models of Working Memory: Mechanisms of active maintenance and executive control(pp. 62-101). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

Rinne, T., Gratton, G., Fabiani, M., Cowan, N., Maclin, E., Stinard, A., Sinkkonen, J., Alho, K., & Näätänen, R. (1999). Scalp-recorded optical signals make sound processing in the auditory cortex visible. Neuroimage, 10, 620-624.

Ritter, W., Sussman, E., Deacon, D., Cowan, N., & Vaughan, H.G. (1999). Two cognitive systems simultaneously prepared for opposite events. Psychophysiology, 36, 835-838.

Cowan, N. (1999). The differential maturation of two processing rates related to digit span. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 72, 193-209. 

Hulme, C., Newton, P., Cowan, N., Stuart, G., & Brown, G. (1999). Think before you speak: pause, memory search and trace redintegration processes in verbal memory span. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 25, 447-463. 

Mueser, P.R., Cowan, N., & Mueser, K.T. (1999). A generalized signal detection model to explain rational variation in base rate use. Cognition, 69, 267-312.

Cowan, N., Nugent, L.D., Elliott, E.M., Ponomarev, I., & Saults, J.S. (1999). The role of attention in the development of short-term memory: Age differences in the verbal span of apprehension. Child Development, 70, 1082-1097.

March, L., Cienfuegos, A., Goldbloom, L., Ritter, W., Cowan, N., & Javitt, D.C. (1999). Normal time course of auditory recognition in schizophrenia, despite impaired precision of the auditory sensory ("echoic") memory code.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108, 69-75. 

Gomes, H., Sussman, E., Ritter, W., Kurtzberg, D., Cowan, N., & Vaughan Jr., H.G. (1999). Electrophysiological evidence of developmental changes in the duration of auditory sensory memory. Developmental Psychology, 35, 294-302.

Cowan, N. (1998). Evidence against the global speed of processing theory of working memory. In M.A. Gernsbacher & S.J. Derry (Eds.), Proceedings of the twentieth annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society (p. 1211). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Cowan, N. (1998). Children's memories according to fuzzy-trace theory: An endorsement of the theory's purpose and some suggestions to improve its application. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 71, 144-154.

Cowan, N. (1998). What is more explanatory, processing capacity or processing speed? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 21, 835-836. (Commentary on target article by Graham Halford)

Cowan, N. (1998). Five enigmas regarding LaBerge's (1997) triangular-circuit theory of attention and self-referential theory of awareness. Psyche, 4 (08). (Note: This is a web journal.)

Cowan, N. (1998). Visual and auditory working memory capacity. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2, 77-78. 

Ritter, W., Gomes, H., Cowan, N., Sussman, E., & Vaughan, H.G., Jr. (1998). Reactivation of a dormant representation of an auditory stimulus feature. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 10, 605-614. [abstract]

Saults, J.S., & Cowan, N. (1998) . Developmental and individual differences in short-term memory. In N. Raz (Ed.), The other side of the error term: Aging and development as model systems in cognitive neuroscience (pp. 155-196). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
[For a copy of this article, write to CowanN@missouri.edu.]

Gillam, R., Cowan, N., & Marler, J. (1998). Information processing by school-age children with specific language impairment: Evidence from a modality effect paradigm. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 41, 913-926.

Cowan, N., Wood, N.L., Wood, P.K., Keller, T.A., Nugent, L.D., & Keller, C.V. (1998) . Two separate verbal processing rates contributing to short-term memory span. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 127, 141-160. 

Elliott, E.M., Cowan, N., & Valle-Inclan, F. (1998). The nature of cross-modal, color-word interference effects. Perception & Psychophysics, 60, 761-767.

Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., & Nugent, L.D. (1997). The role of absolute and relative amounts of time in forgetting within immediate memory: The case of tone pitch comparisons. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 4, 393-397.

Cowan, N., & Wood, N.L. (1997). Constraints on awareness, attention, processing and memory: Some recent investigations with ignored speech. Consciousness and Cognition, 6, 182-203.

Wood, N.L., Stadler, M.A., & Cowan, N. (1997). Is there implicit memory without attention? A re-examination of task demands in Eich's (1984) procedure. Memory & Cognition, 25, 772-779.

Cowan, N., Wood, N.L., Nugent, L.D., & Treisman, M. (1997). There are two word length effects in verbal short-term memory: Opposed effects of duration and complexity. Psychological Science, 8, 290-295.

Javitt, D.C., Strous, R., Grochowski, S., Ritter, W., & Cowan, N. (1997). Impaired precision, but normal retention, of auditory sensory ("echoic") memory information in schizophrenia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106, 315-324.

Cowan, N. (1997). The development of working memory. In N. Cowan (Ed.), The development of memory in childhood. Hove, East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press.

Cowan, N., & Kail, R. (1996). Covert processes and their development in short-term memory. In S. Gathercole (Ed.), Models of short-term memory (pp. 29-50). Hove, U.K: Erlbaum Associates, Ltd. 

Cowan, N. (1996). Can we resolve contradictions between process dissociation models? Consciousness and Cognition, 5, 255-259.

Cowan, N., & Stadler, M.A. (1996). Estimating unconscious processes: Implications of a general class of models. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 125, 195-200. 

Saults, J.S., & Cowan, N. (1996). The development of memory for ignored speech. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 63, 239-261. [ abstract]

Cowan, N. (1996). Short-term memory, working memory, and their importance in language processing. Topics in language disorders, 17, 1-18. [Special issue: K.G. Butler & R.B. Gillam (Eds.), Working memory and language impairment: New perspectives.] To be reprinted in 1998 within Memory and language impairment in children and adults: New perspectives. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers.

Multhaup, K.S., Balota, D.A., & Cowan, N. (1996). Implications of aging, lexicality, and item length for the mechanisms underlying memory span. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 3, 112-120.

Winkler, I., Cowan, N., Csépe, V., Czigler, I., & Näätänen, R. (1996). Interactions between transient and long-term auditory memory as reflected by the mismatch negativity. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 8, 403-415.

Javitt, D.C., Strous, R., Cowan, N., & Ritter, W. (1995). Behavioral evidence for auditory sensory ("echoic") memory dysfunction in schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry, Oct;152(10):1517-9.

Wood, N., & Cowan, N. (1995). The cocktail party phenomenon revisited: Attention and memory in the classic selective listening procedure of Cherry (1953). Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 124, 243-262.

Cowan, N., & Greenspahn, E. (1995). Timed reactions to an object in apparent motion: Evidence on Cartesian and non-Cartesian perceptual hypotheses. Perception & Psychophysics, 57, 546-554. [ abstract]

Cowan, N. (1995). Memory theories from A to Z. Contemporary Psychology, 40, 552-555. (Review of Theories of Memory, edited by A.F. Collins, S.E. Gathercole, M.A. Conway, & P.E. Morris)

Keller, T.A., Cowan, N., & Saults, J.S. (1995). Can auditory memory for tone pitch be rehearsed? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 21, 635-645.

Gillam, R.B., Cowan, N., & Day, L.S. (1995). Sequential memory in children with and without language impairment. Journal of Speech & Hearing Research, 38, 393-402.

Cowan, N. (1995). Verbal working memory: A view with a room. American Journal of Psychology, 108, 123-155. (Review of Working memory and language by S. Gathercole & A. Baddeley)

Wood, N., & Cowan, N. (1995). The cocktail party phenomenon revisited: How frequent are attention shifts to one's name in an irrelevant auditory channel? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 21, 255-260.

Cowan, N., & Saults, J.S. (1995). Memory for speech. In H. Winitz (Ed.), Human communication and its disorders: Vol. 4 (pp. 81 - 170). Timonium, MD: York Press.

Cowan, N. (1994). Sensory memory and its role in information processing. In G. Karmos, M. Molnár, V. Csépe, I. Czigler, & J.E. Desmedt (Eds.), Perspectives of event-related potential research (Electroencephalography & Clinical Neurophysiology Supplement 44 (pp. 21-31). New York: Elsevier Science Publishers.
[For a copy of this article, write to CowanN@missouri.edu.]

Cowan, N. (1994).Mechanisms of verbal short-term memory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 3, 185-189.

Keller, T.A., & Cowan, N. (1994). Developmental increase in the duration of memory for tone pitch. Developmental Psychology, 30, 855-863.

Cowan, N., Keller, T., Hulme, C., Roodenrys, S., McDougall, S., & Rack, J. (1994). Verbal memory span in children: Speech timing clues to the mechanisms underlying age and word length effects. Journal of Memory and Language, 33, 234-250.

Cowan, N., Wood, N.L., & Borne, D.N. (1994).Reconfirmation of the short-term storage concept. Psychological Science, 5, 103-106.

Braine, M.D.S., Brooks, P.J., Cowan, N., Samuels, M.C., & Tamis-LeMonda, C. (1993). The Development of categories at the semantics/syntax interface. Cognitive Development, 8, 465-494.

Cowan, N., Winkler, I., Teder, W., & Näätänen, R. (1993). Memory prerequisites of the mismatch negativity in the auditory event-related potential (ERP). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 19, 909-921.

Massaro, D.W., & Cowan, N. (1993). Information processing models: Microscopes of the mind. Annual Review of Psychology, 44, 383-425.

Cowan, N. (1993). Activation, attention, and short-term memory. Memory & Cognition, 21, 162-167. (Reprinted from Readings in Cognitive Psychology, by R.J. Sternberg & R.K. Wagner, Eds., 1999, Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College Publishers)

Cowan, N., & Leavitt, L.A. (1992). Speakers' access to the phonological structure of the syllable in word games. In M. Ziolkowski, M. Noske, & K. Deaton (Eds.), Papers from the 26th Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society: Vol. 2. The Parasession On the Syllable in Phonetics and Phonology. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.

Cowan, N. (1992). Verbal memory span and the timing of spoken recall. Journal of Memory and Language, 31, 668-684.

Cowan, N., Day, L., Saults, J.S., Keller, T.A., Johnson, T., & Flores, L. (1992). The role of verbal output time in the effects of word length on immediate memory. Journal of Memory and Language, 31, 1-17.

Cowan, N. (1991). Neuropsychology and mental structure: Where do we go from here? Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 14, 445-446. (Invited commentary on source article by T. Shallice.)

Cowan, N. (1991).Recurrent speech patterns as cues to the segmentation of multisyllabic sequences. Acta Psychologica, 77, 121-135. [ abstract]

Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., Winterowd, C., & Sherk, M. (1991). Enhancement of 4-year-old children's memory span for phonologically similar and dissimilar word lists. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 51, 30-52. [ abstract]

Balota, D.A., Cowan, N., & Engle, R.W. (1990). Suffix interference in the recall of linguistically coherent speech. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 16, 446-456. 

Cowan, N. (1990). Converging evidence about information processing. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 13, 237-238. (Invited commentary on a source article by R. Naatanen)

Cowan, N., Lichty, W., & Grove, T.R. (1990). Properties of memory for unattended spoken syllables. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 16, 258-269.

Cowan, N. (1989). Speech perception by ear, eye, hand, and mind. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 12, 759-760. (Invited commentary on a source article by D. W. Massaro)

Cowan, N. (1989). Acquisition of Pig Latin: A Case Study. Journal of Child Language, 16, 365-386. 

Cowan, N. (1989). The reality of cross-modal Stroop effects. Perception & Psychophysics, 45, 87-88.

Cowan, N. (1989).A reply to Miles, Madden, and Jones: Mistakes and other flaws in the challenge to the cross-modal Stroop effect. Perception & Psychophysics, 45, 82-84.

Cowan, N. (1988). Evolving conceptions of memory storage, selective attention, and their mutual constraints within the human information processing system. Psychological Bulletin, 104, 163-191.

Cowan, N., Lichty, W., & Grove, T. (1988). Memory for unattended speech during silent reading. In M. M. Gruneberg, P. E. Morris, & R. N. Sykes (Eds.), Practical aspects of memory: Current research and issues: Vol. 2. NY: Wiley & Sons.

Cowan, N., Cartwright, C., Winterowd, C., & Sherk, M. (1987). An adult model of preschool children's speech memory. Memory and Cognition, 15, 511-517.

Cowan, N., & Barron, A. (1987). Cross-modal, auditory-visual Stroop interference and possible implications for speech memory. Perception & Psychophysics, 41, 393-401.

Cowan, N., & Leavitt, L. A. (1987). The developmental course of two children who could talk backward five years ago. Journal of Child Language, 14, 393-395.

Cowan, N. (1987). Auditory sensory storage in relation to the growth of sensation and acoustic information extraction. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 13, 204-215. [abstract]

Cowan, N. (1987). Auditory memory: Procedures to examine two phases. In W. A. Yost & C. S. Watson (Eds.), Auditory processing of complex sounds. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Cowan, N. (1986). A matrix of consonant-cluster-free monosyllabic words in English. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 18, 434-446.

Cowan, N., & Kielbasa, L. (1986). Temporal properties of memory for speech in preschool children. Memory & Cognition, 14, 382-390.

Cowan, N., & Morse, P. A. (1986). The use of auditory and phonetic memory in vowel discrimination. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 79, 500-507.

Cowan, N., Braine, M. D. S., & Leavitt, L. A. (1986). Identifying phonemes and syllables: Evidence from people who rapidly reorder speech. University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics, 9, 1-39.

Cowan, N., Braine, M. D. S., & Leavitt, L. A. (1985). The phonological and metaphonological representation of speech: Evidence from fluent backward talkers. Journal of Memory and Language, 24, 679-698. 

Cowan, N. (1984). On short and long auditory stores. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 341-370. 

Cowan, N., & Davidson, G. (1984). Salient childhood memories. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 145, 101-107.

Goodsitt, J., Morse, P., Ver Hoeve, J., & Cowan, N. (1984). Infant speech recognition in multisyllabic contexts. Child Development, 55, 903-910. 

Cowan, N., & Leavitt, L. A. (1983). Talking backward: Speech play in late childhood. In C. L. Thew & E. L. Johnson (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Congress for the Study of Child Language: Vol. 2. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Cowan, N., Suomi, K., & Morse, P. A. (1982). Echoic storage in infant perception. Child Development, 53, 984-990. 

Petrovich-Bartell, N., Cowan, N., & Morse, P. A. (1982). Mothers' perceptions of infant distress vocalizations. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 25, 371-376. [ abstract ]

Cowan, N., Leavitt, L. A., Massaro, D. W., & Kent, R. D. (1982). A fluent backward talker. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 25, 48-53.

Cowan, N., & Leavitt, L. A. (1982). Talking backward: Exceptional speech play in late childhood. Journal of Child Language, 9, 481-495.

Petrovich-Bartell, N., Cowan, N., & Morse, P. A. (1982). Perceptual and acoustic attributes of infant distress vocalizations. In C. L. Thew & E. L. Johnson (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second International Congress for the Study of Child Language: Vol. 1. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Morse, P. A., & Cowan, N. (1982). Infant auditory and speech perception. In T. M. Field, A. Huston, H. C. Quay, L. Troll, & G. E. Finley (Eds.), Review of human development. New York: Wiley & Sons.

Cowan, N., & Leavitt, L. A. (1981). Juggling acts with linguistic units. In M. F. Miller, C. S. Masek, & R. A. Hendrick (Eds.), Proceedings from the parasession on language and behavior. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.

Cowan, N., & Morse, P. A. (1979). Influence of task demands on the categorical versus continuous perception of vowels. In J. J. Wolf & D. H. Klatt (Eds.), Speech communication papers presented at the 97th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. New York: ASA.

Richardson, J. S., Cowan, N., Hartman, R., & Jacobowitz, D. M. (1974). On the behavioral and neurochemical actions of 6-hydroxydopa and 5, 6- dihydroxytryptamine in rats. Research Communications in Chemical Pathology and Pharmacology, 8, 29-44.

Teaching Specializations

Cognition, Memory, Perception, Information Processing, and Cognitive Development

Frequently Taught Courses

  • Psych 8110 Cognitive Psychology 3 credit hours
    The course focuses on basic research on human perception, memory, attention and thought. This course is part of the core curriculum required for graduate studies in psychology. Prerequisites: graduate standing or approval of instructor.
  • Psych 4110/7110 Perception 3 credit hours
    Data and contemporary theories of perception in all of the senses, with emphasis on visual and auditory perception. Prerequisite: 216.

Teaching Interests

My teaching interests derive largely, though not entirely, from my research interests. My teaching interests are somewhat broader as I understand and accept that students have very diverse interests and orientations. This is true even among highly dedicated and bright students, and these individual differences should be accommodated. For example, less introspective students tend to be more interested in the practical, applied aspects of the research rather than the philosophical implications that fascinate me most; I emphasize both the philosophical and applied realms.

I have taught various courses in cognitive psychology and perception, with occasional specialized seminars focusing on aspects of working memory and sometimes on developmental processes. In this teaching, certain main themes and techniques have emerged as especially important to me. The most important technique for me is the classroom demonstration. In perception class, I like to arrange demonstrations that are striking, make people think, and can be replicated without high-tech equipment (so students can show friends and relatives). For example, for my undergraduate perception course, I always request a classroom with no windows and, in one class, have the students patch one eye shut long enough to become fully dark-adapted. Then I turn the lights out. Students are amazed that the dark-adapted eye can see so well in the dark while the other eye is functionally blind.

A main theme for my teaching is the fallibility of human information processing. I follow that theme through from the limited temporal and spatial resolving power of the senses to perceptual illusions and ambiguities, limitations in working memory and attention, inattentional blindness, false memories, limitations in the ability to process language such as garden-path sentences, heuristics of reasoning and decision-making, faulty metacognition, and non-veridical aspects of social cognition. For me, that point of human fallibility not only is critical for a philosophical understanding of the mind; it also has critically important practical implications. When enough people in the world understand that their own viewpoints are susceptible to error and overconfidence, they will be better able to listen to one another and compromise. It is that point, even more than clinical uses of my research, that most easily allows me to justify to myself why society should support me while I have so much fun examining abstract properties of the human mind.

In graduate mentoring, my policy is to look for synergy between a student and myself. I want students to be successful in their careers and therefore I look for graduate students sharing some of my core interests; but I make no attempt to produce replicas of myself, nor have I done so. I believe that keeping in mind the goals and personalities of individual graduate students, and interacting with each one accordingly, is quite helpful for their progress. It is especially the balance between supervision and independence that is critical and must change notably as the student advances through graduate school.

My Story – Nelson Cowan

My grandfather in Boston changed our family name from Cohen to Cowan and I was born in 1951 in Washington, D.C. I have a brother a couple of years younger than me, with high-functioning autism (not diagnosed as such for 50 years), which I wondered about from a young age according to my mother, when I noticed special doctor appointments and asked if his brain was broken. I grew up from first grade in a suburb in Wheaton, Maryland. My father was a self-employed optometrist in Washington and, when I went in to work with him a few times, he showed me how to make a telescope out of one concave and one convex trial lens; that fascinated me. As a 10-year-old, I was interested when I read in the Washington Post about Francis Crick winning a Nobel Prize and saying, in an interview, that in the future he wanted to try to understand “how the brain works.” I did little science projects at home, and once (evading any supervision) hooked a toy telegraph to the line current in my bedroom, making it into a burglar alarm. When my father opened the door while I was asleep, it triggered a buzzing that was much like a school fire alarm, with no exaggeration, waking me into a dazed state and surely surprising us all.

In recent years I have realized that I was introduced in my early teens to cognitive concepts to which I returned later, as a researcher. My ninth-grade math teacher talked about a computer program that turns out to have been the Logic Theory Machine of Newell and Simon, a 1956 work in computer science in which the term working memory was introduced. On a television show called Watch Mr. Wizard, a child was asked to produce random numbers and the difficulty of doing so was pointed out.

My first seriously-pursued scientific interest, undertaken in high school during a research class, was in suspended animation, probably with hopes of eventual immortality. A teacher took me to the Bethesda Naval Hospital, where a Commander Perry showed me how to super-cool rotifers slowly in a dry ice solution and then bring them back to life. I was able to obtain dry ice several times at Gifford’s ice cream shop and the experiment succeeded! The teacher left the school before I could continue the project the next year, and I still wish we had entered it into a science fair. Also in high school, a friend of mine pointed me to a local library book detailing research on sleep and dreams, available perhaps because of our proximity to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Bethesda campus. It sparked my curiosity about consciousness and the mind and I decided that, given the brevity of life, the best direction for a career would be studying consciousness in some way.

We lived close enough to NIH that I could volunteer and work there on brain research in the summers during college (home from the University of Michigan). I could ride a bike there, mostly on the Rock Creek Trail, drying my shirt out in the men’s room when I got there like a friend of mine also did. My first publication was in 1974 on a rat brain study that I suggested to the scientists at NIH. It took me a few days following instructions in the lab to realize that I was running the study I had suggested! Then, due to some miscommunication, though I was a co-author, I found out about that first publication only in 1979, when I called while in the process of constructing my first CV. That knowledge of authorship would have been uplifting during some frustrating times in graduate school struggling with an infant perception paradigm that wasn’t working well.

I applied to brain-related graduate school programs but ended up in a developmental program using physiological, heart rate measures of acoustic discrimination with a psychologist, Philip Morse, and a pediatrician, Lewis Leavitt, at the University of Wisconsin The developmental work led me to the study of working memory as a specialization but I could just as easily have ended up studying perception, reasoning, or language, or attention, insofar as each of them relates to consciousness. I have included all of them in some ways as aspects of my research on working memory and its childhood development.

I am truly a doctor of philosophy; my main motivation for my work is philosophical and theoretical, regarding the mind. However, I have always hoped and believed that the research can be of value in practical ways, and have collaborated with researchers of alcoholic intoxication, autism, schizophrenia, amnesia, Parkinson’s disease, language impairment, and dyslexia. 

In my free time, I am interested in many things that are relaxing, including reading, movies, friends, hiking, soccer, children, humor, and listening to music; but my professional life consumes a lot of time in ways that are usually pretty rewarding, so I do not try to achieve much in any of my hobbies in a focused sense.