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Allan Urho Paivio (b. March 29, 1925) is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario. He earned his Ph.D. from McGill University in 1959 and taught at the University of Western Ontario from 1963 until his retirement.[1]

Paivio has published approximately two hundred articles and is most notably known for his dual-coding theory. The dual-coding theory posits that visual and verbal information is each processed along distinct channels with the human mind creating different representations for information processed in each channel. Alan Baddeley in his theory of working memory essentially includes a dual-code theory in the form of a visuospatial sketchpad and a phonological loop.

Paivio’s work has implications in many areas including human factors, interface design, as well as the development of educational materials.

Paivio was also a competitive body builder in his younger days, winning a number of competitions. In 1948 he was Mr. Canada and went on to take several other awards in the coming years.


  • Paivio, A (1971). Imagery and verbal processes. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
  • Paivio, A (1986). Mental representations: a dual coding approach. Oxford. England: Oxford University Press.


  1. Lumley, E. (2005). Canadian Who's Who. University of Toronto Press.

Further readingEdit

  • Anderson, J. R. (2005). Cognitive Psychology and its implications. New York: Worth Publishers.
  • Mayer, R. E. & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1), 43-52.
  • Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2000). A coherence effect in multimedia learning: the case for minimizing irrelevant sounds in the design of multimedia instructional messages. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 117-125.
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