“Your experience wires your brain to react to the input that you receive, and that wiring is what we call connectionism.”
Jay McClelland is the Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences and Co-Director of the Center for Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology.
Over his career, McClelland has contributed to both the experimental and theoretical literatures in a number of areas, most notably in the application of connectionist/parallel distributed processing models to problems in perception, cognitive development, language learning, and the neurobiology of memory. He was a co-founder with David E. Rumelhart of the Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) research group, and together with Rumelhart he led the effort leading to the publication in 1986 of the two-volume book, Parallel Distributed Processing, in which the parallel distributed processing framework was laid out and applied to a wide range of topics in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. McClelland and Rumelhart jointly received the 1993 Howard Crosby Warren Medal from the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the 1996 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the 2001 Grawemeyer Prize in Psychology, and the 2002 IEEE Neural Networks Pioneer Award for this work.
McClelland has served as Senior Editor of Cognitive Science, as President of the Cognitive Science Society, as a member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council, and as President of the Federation of Associations in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. He has received the APS William James Fellow Award for lifetime contributions to the basic science of psychology, the David E. Rumelhart prize for contributions to the theoretical foundations of Cognitive Science, the NAS Atkinson Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, and the Heineken Prize in Cognitive Science.
McClelland currently teaches on the PDP approach to cognition and its neural basis in the Psychology Department and in the Symbolic Systems Program at Stanford and conducts research on learning, memory, conceptual development, language processing, and mathematical cognition at Stanford and as a consulting research scientist at DeepMind.
Before teaching at Stanford University, he served on the faculty of the University of California, San Diego, before moving to Carnegie Mellon in 1984, where he became a University Professor and held the Walter Van Dyke Bingham Chair in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. He was a founding Co-Director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, a joint project of Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh.
McClelland received his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.