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James Earle Deese (1921 – 1999) was an American psychologist. He joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in 1980 after having served for an extended period with Johns Hopkins University. He advanced to become the Chairman of the Psychology Department where he served until 1980. He received the Hugh Scott Hamilton award for his distinguished service.

Personal lifeEdit

Deese was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on December 14, 1921 to Thomas D. Deese, an Alabama native of Lumbee ancestry; and Syrene Jane Johnson of Wisconsin. Deese was cousin of American aerospace engineer and scientist James Henry Deese.


He attended the Chapman College in Orange, CA, where he earned his B.A. degree in psychology, and he later earned his doctorate at Indiana University. While attending Indiana University, Deese became fascinated by animal behavior and how it related to human behavior, particularly in the area of communication. He studied under professor W. N. Kellogg, who had published a research work titled "The Ape and the Child".

The work of Kellogg started Deese on his distinguished career, and, in respect to this renowned professor, he wrote a Memoriam for Winthrop Niles Kellogg.

James Deese and dependency analysisEdit

Deese had a deep interest in the structure of discourse. He developed a system for describing the structure of oral or written discourse which he called dependency analysis. He explains dependency analysis in his book, Thought into Speech: The psychology of a language (1984).


Deese was revered by his students and highly respected by his peers. He has authored or partnered in 14 books dealing with such subjects as: How to Study, Thought into Speech, Psychology of Learning, and Psycholinguistics.

External linksEdit

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