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Morton Ann Gernsbacher

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Morton Ann Gernsbacher is Vilas Research Professor and Sir Frederic Bartlett Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is a specialist in autism and psycholinguistics and has written and edited professional and lay books and over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on these subjects.[1] She currently serves as co-editor of the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest and associate editor for Cognitive Psychology, and she has previously held editorial positions for Memory & Cognition and Language and Cognitive Processes. She was also president of the Association for Psychological Science in 2007.[2]

Biographical information


Gernsbacher received a B.A. from the University of North Texas in 1976, an M.S. from University of Texas at Dallas in 1980, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in Human Experimental Psychology in 1983.


She was employed at the University of Oregon from 1983-1992 before joining the faculty at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she has remained ever since.[3]

Main areas of interest

Gernsbacher's research focuses on the cognitive processes and mechanisms that underlie language comprehension. She has challenged the view that language processing depends upon language-specific mechanisms, proposing instead that it draws on general cognitive processes such as working memory and pattern recognition. During recent years, motivated by the diagnosis of her son, Gernsbacher's research has focused on the cognitive and neurological processes of people with autism. As a result of investigating the language development of children with autism, Gernsbacher has posited that the speech difficulties associated with autism stem from motor planning challenges, not from intellectual limitations or social impairment. The implications of this perspective include a shift in focus from deficits in interpersonal communication to early sensory-motor challenges of children with autism, as well as recognition of previously unidentified competence in nonverbal children with autism.[4]

Funded grants


Editorial board/consulting editor

Association affiliations

See also



Book Chapters



External links

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