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George A. Miller Prize in Cognitive Neuroscience

The George A. Miller Prize in Cognitive Neuroscience was established in 1995 by the Cognitive Neuroscience Society to honor the innovative scholarship of George A. Miller, whose many theoretical advances has so greatly influenced the discipline of cognitive neuroscience. The first ten years of the prize were funded by generous support from the James S. McDonnell Foundation.

The Prize shall be awarded to the nominee whose career is characterized by distinguished and sustained scholarship and research at the cutting-edge of their discipline and that has in the past, or has the potential in the future, to revolutionize cognitive neuroscience. Extraordinary innovation and high impact on international scientific thinking should be a hallmark of the recipient’s work.

Each year a call for nominations for the George A. Miller Prize will be made to the membership of the society. The recipient of the prize will attend the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and deliver the George A. Miller lecture.

Congratulations to Jon Kaas for winning the 2014 George A. Miller Award!


Dr. Kaas will accept this prestigious award and deliver his lecture on Saturday, April 5, 2014, 5:00-6:00 pm, in the Grand Ballroom Salon A-F. Reception to follow 6:00 – 7:00 pm in the Back Bay Conference and Exhibition Hall.


Sensorimotor processing streams involving posterior parietal, premotor and motor cortex of primates: Comparative studies.

Jon Kaas, Distinguished, Centennial Professor, Psychology Department, Vanderbilt University

Many studies have focused on the important issue of how posterior parietal cortex of humans and macaque monkeys is functionally organized and related to motor and premotor cortex in mediating basic motor behaviors such as reaching, grasping, and looking. Our approach has been comparative, studying at prosimian galagos, New World monkeys, and Old World macaques, and relating our results to those published on humans. Our principle method of investigation has been the use of electrical micro-stimulation to reveal as many as seven subregions or domains of posterior parietal cortex with matching domains in frontal motor cortex where different complex motor behaviors are evoked in anesthetized or awake primates. We have used anatomical tracers to reveal cortical and subcortical connections of domains identified by micro-stimulation, and optical imaging of cortical activation during micro-stimulation of domains. We have also determined the behavioral consequences of reversibly deactivating specific domains with a cooling chip or muscimol during micro-stimulation of other domains. Interactions between domains were studied by stimulating two at once. Our results allow a number of strong conclusions. (1) All primates have a large region of posterior parietal cortex where similar spatial arrangements of domains exist for reaching, running or climbing, looking, body and head protection, bringing hand to mouth, and grasping. In contrast, posterior parietal cortex is poorly developed in the non-primate relatives of primates, and does not appear to have this organization. (2) Domains matching those in posterior parietal cortex are found in motor and premotor cortex. Matching domains are preferentially interconnected, and arranged in a hierarchy from posterior parietal cortex to premotor cortex, and then to motor cortex. (3) Posterior parietal cortex domains vary in the sources and amounts of direct and indirect inputs from visual areas and somatosensory areas. (4) Interactions between domains in posterior parietal cortex or frontal motor cortex are complex, but they are often antagonistic, suggesting that domains mediating different behaviors mutually suppress each other in a race to allow one behavior to emerge over others.


Previous Winners of the George A. Miller Lectureship

2013 Fred Gage, Ph.D., The Salk Institute
2012 Eve Marder, Ph.D., Brandeis University
2011 Mortimer Mishkin, Ph.D., NIMH
2010 Steven Pinker, Ph.D., Harvard University
2009 Marcus Raichle, Ph.D., Washington University School of Medicine
2008 Anne Treisman, Ph.D., Princeton University
2007 Joaquin M. Fuster, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
2006 Steven A. Hillyard, Ph.D., University of California San Diego
2005 Leslie Ungerleider, Ph.D., National Institute of Mental Health
2004 Michael Posner, Ph.D., University of Oregon
2003 Michael Gazzaniga, Ph.D., Dartmouth College
2002 Daniel Kahneman, Ph.D., Princeton University
2001 William Newsome, Ph.D., Stanford University
2000 Patricia Churchland, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
1999 Giacommo Rizzolatti, Ph.D., University of Parma, Italy
1998 Susan Carey, Ph.D., New York University
1997 Roger Shepard, Ph.D., Stanford University
1996 David Premack, Ph.D., CNRS, France
1995 David H. Hubel, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School