Donald B. Lindsley
30MA, 32PhD

Achievement 1988

Donald B. Lindsley, 30MA, 32PhD, an internationally renowned scientist in brain and behavior research, pioneered the use of electromyography and electroencephalography for research into the mechanisms of learning, perception, emotion, and sleep-wakefulness in the U.S.

Dr. Lindsley is presently professor emeritus in the psychology and physiology departments of the University of California, Los Angeles, and a member of the Brain Research Institute there. Since receiving his doctorate from Iowa, he has held positions at the University of Illinois, Harvard Medical School, Western Reserve Medical School, Brown University, and Northwestern University.

He began his work at UCLA in 1951 and has directed 50 doctoral theses while accommodating in his laboratories more than 70 distinguished visiting scientists, many of them from foreign countries. Dr. Lindsley's studies have had a major impact on the fields of neurology, psychiatry, and psychology.

Throughout much of his career, he has been active in services to government and military agencies. During World War II, he directed a project concerned with radar operator training activities wherever radar was in us at US military installations. For his wartime efforts, he received the Presidential Certificate of Merit signed by President Truman.

After the war, the Office of Naval Research and the National Research Council asked Dr. Lindsley to head a group that researched and wrote the book Human Factors in Undersea Warfare. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1952, and, as a member of their Space Science Board, he chaired a committee that prepared a monograph for NASA entitled Human Factors in Long-Duration Spaceflights. It looked into human problems that might arise during the execution of lengthy fly-by missions to major planets.

Dr. Lindsley has served a combined total of more than 20 years on various study sections and panels for government agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and NASA. A well-published member of several scientific journals' editorial boards, including Science, Dr. Lindsley has been a frequently invited participant and guest lecturer at various international symposia. He was asked to give the prestigious William James Lectures at Harvard in 1958 and was awarded a 1959 Guggenheim Fellowship for visits and lectures at brain research institutes throughout Western Europe, the USSR, Scandinavia, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.

In 1967, he joined a group of American and Brazilian scientists aboard the research vessel ALPHA HELIX on an expedition 1,200 miles up the Amazon River. The purpose of the expedition was to study the brain and behavior of various animals, including the boa constrictor, electric eel, and armadillo. Concentrating his research on the habits of the sloth, Dr. Lindsley tried to determine why the animal moves so slowly and how it copes in the jungle environment.

Dr. Lindsley was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1963 and to the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters in 1987. He holds honorary doctorates from Trinity College and from Wittenberg, Guttenberg, Loyola, and Brown universities. His many professional honors include distinguished scientific contribution awards from the American Psychological Association in 1959 and from the Society for Psychophysiological Research in 1984. And in recognition of his contributions to medicine, he was named Fellow of the UCLA School of Medicine in 1986. In 1987, the University of Iowa Department of Psychology honored Dr. Lindsley with its 1987 Distinguished Graduate Award.