Alan Baddeley

Alan Baddeley
Alan David Baddeley

(1934-03-23) 23 March 1934 (age 89)
EducationUniversity College London
Princeton University
University of Cambridge (PhD)
Known forNeuropsychological tests, Baddeley's model of working memory
AwardsCBE FRS (1993)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of York
ThesisMeasures and measurements in stochastic geometry (1981)

Alan David Baddeley CBE FRS (born 23 March 1934) is a British psychologist. He is known for his research on memory and for developing the three-component model of working memory. He is a professor of psychology at the University of York.


Baddeley was born in Leeds, Yorkshire on 23 March 1934.[1] He lived there with his parents, Donald and Nellie Baddeley, until leaving for university.[2] He decided to study psychology and was originally interested in psychoanalysis. Later he changed his focus to evidence-based psychology.[3] In 1956, Baddeley went to the United States of America to continue his studies. After spending a year in America, he returned home. He then went to Cambridge, where he met and married Hilary Ann White. Baddeley and his wife have three sons.[2]

Baddeley has taught and conducted research at University of Sussex, University of Stirling, MRC Applied Psychology Unit, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, and University of Bristol. He is currently a professor of psychology at the University of York.[4]


Baddeley attended the University College London from 1953 to 1956. He then obtained an MA from Princeton University's Department of Psychology in 1957. He earned a PhD from University of Cambridge in 1962.[5] He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by University of Essex in 1999,[6] Plymouth University in 2000,[7] and University of Bristol in 2019.[8]

Career and research

In 1974, working with Graham Hitch, Baddeley developed an influential model of working memory called Baddeley's model of working memory,[9] which argues for the existence of multiple short-term memory stores and a separate interacting system for manipulating the content of these stores. There are three components of this model: the phonological loop, the central executive, and the visuospatial sketch pad.[9] In 2000, Baddeley suggested adding a fourth component to his memory model called the episodic buffer.[10] The model accounts for much of the empirical data on short-term retention and manipulation of information.

His landmark study in 1975 on the capacity of short-term memory[11] showed that people remembered more short words than long words in a recall test. This was called the word length effect and it demonstrated that pronunciation time rather than number of items determines the capacity of verbal short-term memory. This study also found that when participants repeated an irrelevant sound while reading the words, the word length effect does not happen.[11]

Working with Barbara Wilson, Baddeley also did several important studies on amnesia and memory.[12][13] They studied patients with temporal lobe damage that caused memory problems. Results of such studies provide evidence that short-term and long-term memory are not one system. The amnesia patients had normal short-term memory but impaired long-term memory.[14]

Baddeley has also done research studies using divers and various underwater conditions. He studied the effects of depth and pressure on dexterity,[15] the impact of temperature on response time,[16] and context-dependent memory on land and underwater.[17]

Baddeley was the director of the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, a branch of the UK Medical Research Council, based in Cambridge, from 1974 - 1997.[18] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1993[19] and in 1996, was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[20] In 2001, Baddeley received the American Psychological Association (APA) Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions.[21] Baddeley was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Psychological Society in 2012.[22] He also received the Major Advancement in Psychological Science Prize from the International Union of Psychological Science in 2016.[23]

Other notable works

Baddeley has also part authored a number of neuropsychological tests including the Doors and People,[24] Children's Test of Nonword Repetition (CN REP),[25] the Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test (RBMT),[26] Autobiographical Memory Interview (AMI),[27] Visual Patterns Test (VPT)[28] and the Speed and Capacity of Language Processing Test (SCOLP).[29]

Baddeley was involved in the design of United Kingdom postcodes,[30] and was one of the founders of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology.[31]


  1. ^ "International Directory of Psychologists, Exclusive of the U.S.A." 1966.
  2. ^ a b Baddeley, Alan (13 September 2018). Working Memories: Postmen, Divers and the Cognitive Revolution. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-23852-2.
  3. ^ "Interview with Alan Baddeley | The Psychologist". Archived from the original on 17 November 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Baddeley, Alan - Psychology, The University of York". Archived from the original on 14 November 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  5. ^ Baddeley, Alan David (1981). Measures and measurements in stochastic geometry (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 556713452.
  6. ^ University of Essex, "Honorary Graduates" Archived 19 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine retrieved March 2013
  7. ^ "University of Plymouth honorary doctorates". University of Plymouth honorary doctorates. 2000. Archived from the original on 9 December 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  8. ^ Bristol, University of. "Alan Baddley is unknown | Graduation | University of Bristol". Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  9. ^ a b Baddeley, Alan D.; Hitch, Graham (1 January 1974), Bower, Gordon H. (ed.), Working Memory, Psychology of Learning and Motivation, vol. 8, Academic Press, pp. 47–89, doi:10.1016/S0079-7421(08)60452-1, ISBN 9780125433082, retrieved 3 July 2020
  10. ^ Baddeley, Alan (1 November 2000). "The episodic buffer: a new component of working memory?". Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 4 (11): 417–423. doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01538-2. ISSN 1364-6613. PMID 11058819. S2CID 14333234.
  11. ^ a b Baddeley, Alan D.; Thomson, Neil; Buchanan, Mary (1 December 1975). "Word length and the structure of short-term memory". Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior. 14 (6): 575–589. doi:10.1016/S0022-5371(75)80045-4. ISSN 0022-5371.
  12. ^ Baddeley, Alan; Wilson, Barbara (1 April 1988). "Frontal amnesia and the dysexecutive syndrome". Brain and Cognition. 7 (2): 212–230. doi:10.1016/0278-2626(88)90031-0. ISSN 0278-2626. PMID 3377900. S2CID 26954876.
  13. ^ Baddeley, Alan; Wilson, Barbara A. (1 January 2002). "Prose recall and amnesia: implications for the structure of working memory". Neuropsychologia. 40 (10): 1737–1743. doi:10.1016/S0028-3932(01)00146-4. ISSN 0028-3932. PMID 11992661. S2CID 22404837.
  14. ^ Baddeley, Alan (8 September 2017). Exploring Working Memory: Selected works of Alan Baddeley. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-351-61852-6.
  15. ^ Baddeley, A. D. (1966). "Influence of depth on the manual dexterity of free divers: A comparison between open sea and pressure chamber testing". Journal of Applied Psychology. 50 (1): 81–85. doi:10.1037/h0022822. ISSN 1939-1854. PMID 5905114.
  16. ^ Baddeley, A. D. (1966). "Time-Estimation at Reduced Body-Temperature". The American Journal of Psychology. 79 (3): 475–479. doi:10.2307/1420890. ISSN 0002-9556. JSTOR 1420890. PMID 5968486.
  17. ^ Godden, D. R.; Baddeley, A. D. (1975). "Context-Dependent Memory in Two Natural Environments: On Land and Underwater". British Journal of Psychology. 66 (3): 325–331. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1975.tb01468.x. ISSN 2044-8295.
  18. ^ "Historic overview". Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Fellows". Royal Society. Archived from the original on 30 November 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  20. ^ "Alan David Baddeley". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  21. ^ "APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions". American Psychological Association. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  22. ^ "Lifetime Achievement | BPS". Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  23. ^ York, Department of Psychology University of; Heslington; York; Yo10 5dd. "Professor Alan Baddeley to receive prestigious international award". University of York. Retrieved 3 July 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ MacPherson, Sarah E.; Turner, Martha S.; Bozzali, Marco; Cipolotti, Lisa; Shallice, Tim (March 2016). "The Doors and People Test: The Effect of Frontal Lobe Lesions on Recall and Recognition Memory Performance". Neuropsychology. 30 (3): 332–337. doi:10.1037/neu0000240. ISSN 0894-4105. PMC 4768598. PMID 26752123.
  25. ^ Gathercole, Susan E.; Willis, Catherine S.; Baddeley, Alan D.; Emslie, Hazel (1 June 1994). "The children's test of nonword repetition: A test of phonological working memory". Memory. 2 (2): 103–127. doi:10.1080/09658219408258940. ISSN 0965-8211. PMID 7584287.
  26. ^ Wall, Claudia de; Wilson, Barbara A.; Baddeley, Alan D. (1 June 1994). "The Extended Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test: A Measure of Everyday Memory Performance in Normal Adults". Memory. 2 (2): 149–166. doi:10.1080/09658219408258942. ISSN 0965-8211. PMID 7584289.
  27. ^ Kopelman, M. D.; Wilson, B. A.; Baddeley, A. D. (1 October 1989). "The autobiographical memory interview: A new assessment of autobiographical and personal semantic memory in amnesic patients". Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. 11 (5): 724–744. doi:10.1080/01688638908400928. ISSN 0168-8634. PMID 2808661.
  28. ^ Visual patterns test : a test of short-term visual recall. Della Sala, Sergio., Thames Valley Test Company. Bury St Edmunds: Thames Valley Test Company. 1997. ISBN 1-874261-16-4. OCLC 42405532.((cite book)): CS1 maint: others (link)
  29. ^ Saxton, Judith A.; Ratcliff, Graham; Dodge, Hiroko; Pandav, Rajesh; Baddeley, Alan; Ganguli, Mary (1 December 2001). "Speed and Capacity of Language Processing Test: Normative Data From an Older American Community-Dwelling Sample". Applied Neuropsychology. 8 (4): 193–203. doi:10.1207/S15324826AN0804_1. ISSN 0908-4282. PMID 11989722. S2CID 46291957.
  30. ^ "Interview with Alan Baddeley". GoCognitive. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  31. ^ "ESCOP - Founding ESCoP". ESCOP. Retrieved 3 July 2020.