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James L. (Jay) McClelland (born December 1, 1948) is a Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University. He is best known for his work concerning Parallel Distributed Processing, applying connectionist models (or neural networks) to explain cognitive phenomena such as spoken word recognition and visual word recognition. McClelland is to a large extent responsible for the "connectionist revolution" of the 1980's, which saw a large increase in scientific interest for connectionism.

Early life and education Edit

McClelland born on December 1, 1948 to Walter Moore and Frances (Shaffer) McClelland. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University in 1970, and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975. He married Heidi Marsha Feldman on May 6, 1978, and has two daughters.[1]

Career Edit

In 1986 McClelland published Parallel Distributed Processing: Explorations in the Microstructure of Cognition with David Rumelhart, which some still regard as a bible for cognitive scientists. His present work focuses on learning, memory processes, and psycholinguistics, still within the framework of connectionist models. He is a former chair of the Rumelhart Prize committee, having collaborated with Rumelhart for many years, and himself received the award in 2010 at the Cognitive Science Society Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon.

In particular, McClelland and collaborator David Rumelhart are known for their debate with Steven Pinker and Alan Prince. McClelland and Rumelhart claimed to have proven that humans could learn language (in particular, the past tense) without language-specific hardware. Pinker and Prince demonstrated that they had not done so. In response, McClelland has continued to revise his connectionist model.

In fall 2006 McClelland moved to Stanford University from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a professor of psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. He also holds a part-time appointment as Consulting Professor at the Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit (NARU) within the School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester.

Awards Edit

See alsoEdit


PDF files available from links on McClelland's homepage


Book ChaptersEdit

  • McClelland, J. L. (2006). How Far Can You Go with Hebbian Learning, and When Does it Lead you Astray? In Munakata, Y. and Johnson, M. H. Processes of Change in Brain and Cognitive Development: Attention and Performance XXI. pp. 33-69. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Rogers, T. T., and McClelland, J. L. (2005). A parallel distributed processing approach to semantic cognition: Applications to conceptual development. In L. Gershkoff-Stowe and D. Rakison (Eds), Building Object Categories in Developmental Time.
  • McClelland, J. L. (1996). Role of the hippocampus in learning and memory: A computational analysis. In T. Ono, B. L. McNaughton, S. Molitchnikoff, E. T. Rolls and H. Nichijo (Eds.), Perception Memory, and Emotion: Frontier in Neuroscience. Oxford: Elsevier Science, Ltd. 601-613.
  • Plaut, D. C., McClelland, J. L., and Seidenberg, M. S. (1995). Reading exception words and pseudowords: Are two routes really necessary? In J. P. Levy, D. Bairaktaris, J. Bullinaria, and P. Cairns (Eds.), Connectionist models of memory and language (pp. 145-159). London: UCL Press.
  • McClelland, J. L. (1993). Toward a theory of information processing in graded, random, interactive networks. In D. E. Meyer and S. Kornblum (Eds.), Attention & Performance XIV: Synergies in experimental psychology, artificial intelligence and cognitive neuroscience, pp. 655-688. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • McClelland, J. L. (1992). Can connectionist models discover the structure of natural language? In Morelli, R., Brown, W. M., Anselmi, D., Haberlandt, K., Lloyd, D. (Eds.)

Minds, Brains & Computers, pp. 168-189. Ablex Publishing: Norwood, NJ.

  • McClelland, J. L. (1989). Parallel distributed processing: Implications for cognition and development. In Morris, R. (Ed)., Parallel distributed processing: Implications for psychology and neurobiology. (pp. 8-45). New York: Oxford University Press.


  • McClelland, J. L. Mirman, D., and Holt, L. L. (2006). Are there interactive processes in speech perception? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10(8), pp. 363-369.
  • Bybee, J. and McClelland, J. L. (2005). Alternatives to the combinatorial paradigm of linguistic theory based on domain general principles of human cognition. The Linguistic Review, 22(2-4), 381-410.
  • Lambon Ralph, M. A., Braber, N., McClelland, J. L. and Patterson, K. (2005). What underlies the neuropsychological pattern of irregular > regular past-tense verb production? Brain and Language.
  • Mechelli, A., Crinion, J. T., Long, S., Friston, K. J., Lambon Ralph, M. A., Patterson, K., McClelland, J. L., and Price, C. J. (2005). Dissociating reading processes on the basis of neuronal interactions. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17(11), 1753-1765.
  • Mirman, D., McClelland, J. L. and Holt, L. L. (2005). Computational and behavioral investigations of lexically induced delays in phoneme recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 52, 424-443.
  • Maia, T. V. and McClelland, J. L. (2004). A re-examination of the evidence for the somatic marker hypothesis: What participants know in the Iowa gambling task. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101, 16075-16080
  • Mirman, D., Holt, L. L. and McClelland, J. L. (2004). Categorization and discrimination of non-speech sounds: Differences between steady-state and rapidly-changing acoustic cues. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 116, 1198-1207.
  • Rogers, T. T., Lambon Ralph, M. A., Garrard, P., Bozeat, S., McClelland, J. L., Hodges, J. R., and Patterson, K. (2004). The structure and deterioration of semantic memory: A neuropsychological and computational investigation. Psychological Review, 111, 205-235.
  • Rogers, T. T., Rakison, D. and McClelland, J. L. (2004). U-shaped curves in development: A PDP approach. Journal of Cognition and Development, 5, 137-145.
  • Usher, M. and McCelland, J. L. (2004). Loss aversion and inhibition in dynamical models of multi-alternative choice. Psychological Review, 111, 757-769.
  • Bird, H., Lambon Ralph, M. A., Seidenberg, M.S., McClelland, J.L., and Patterson, K. (2003). Deficits in phonology and past-tense morphology: What's the connection? Journal of Memory and Language, 48, 502-526.
  • Lupyan, G. and McClelland, J. L. (2003). Did, made, had, said: Capturing quasi-regularity in exceptions. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 2003.
  • McClelland, J. L., Plaut, D. C., Gotts, S. J. and Maia, T. V. (2003). Developing a domain-general framework for cognition: What is the best approach? Commentary on a target article by Anderson and Lebiere. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22,, 611-614.
  • McClelland, J. L. and Rogers, T. T. (2003). The Parallel Distributed Processing Approach to Semantic Cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 4, 310-322.
  • Munakata, Y. and McClelland, J. L. (2003). Connectionist models of development. Contribution to a special issue on Dynamical Systems and Connectionist Models. Developmental Science, 6:4, 413-429.
  • McCandliss, B. D., Fiez, J. A., Protopapas, A., Conway, M., and McClelland, J. L. (2002). Success and failure in teaching the [r]-[l] contrast to Japanese adults: Predictions of a Hebbian model of plasticity and stabilization in spoken language perception. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience. 2:2. 89-108.
  • McClelland, J. L., Fiez, J.A. and McCandliss, B. D. (2002). Teaching the /r/-/l/ discrimination to Japanese adults: behavioral and neural aspects. Physiology & Behavior, 77, 657-62.
  • McClelland, J. L. and Lupyan, G. (2002). Double dissociations never license simple inferences about underlying brain organization, especially in developmental cases. Commentary on a target article by Thomas and Karmiloff-Smith. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 25, 763-764.
  • McClelland, J. L. and Patterson, K. (2002). Rules or Connections in Past-Tense inflections: What does the evidence rule out? Trends in Cognitive Sciences. With *McClelland, J. L. and Patterson, K. (2002). `Words Or Rules' cannot exploit the regularity in exceptions (Reply to Pinker and Ullman).
  • McClelland, J. L., Patterson, K., Pinker, S. and Ullman, M. (2002). The Past Tense Debate: Papers and replies by S. Pinker and M. Ullman and by J. McClelland and K. Patterson.Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 6,456-474.
  • Usher, M., Olami, Z., and McClelland, J. L. (2002). Hick's law in a stoachastic race model with speed- accuracy tradeoff. Mathematical Psychology, 46, 704-715.
  • McClelland, J. L. (2001). Cognitive Neuroscience. In N. J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Oxford: Pergamon, 2133-2139.
  • McClelland, J. L. (2001). Failures to learn and their remediation: A Hebbian account. In J. L. McClelland and R. S. Siegler (Eds.) Mechanisms of Cognitive Development: Behavioral and Neural Approaches. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 97-211.

Lambon Ralph, M. A., McClelland, J. L., Patterson, K., Galton, C. J., and Hodges, J. R. (2001). No right to speak? The relationship between object naming and semantic impairment: Neuropsychological evidence and a computational model. Cognitive Neuroscience. 13:3, 341-356.

  • Movellan, J., and McClelland, J. L. (2001). The Morton-Massaro Law of Information Integration: Implications for Models of Perception. Psychological Review, 108, 113-148.
  • Patterson, K., Lambon Ralph, M. A., Hodges, J. R., and McClelland, J. L. (2001). Deficits in irregular past-tense verb morphology associated with degraded semantic knowledge. Neuropsychologia, 39, 709-724.
  • Usher, M., and McClelland, J. L. (2001). On the time course of perceptual choice: The leaky competing accumulator model. Psychological Review, 108, 550-592.
  • McClelland, J. L. (2000). The basis of hyperspecificity in autism: a preliminary suggestion based on properties of neural nets. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 497-2002.
  • Plaut, D. C., and McClelland, J. L. (2000). Stipulating versus discovering representations Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23.
  • McClelland, J. L., and Plaut, D. C. (1999). Does generalization in infant learning implicate abstract algebra-like rules?
  • McClelland, J., Thomas, A., McCandliss, B., and Fiez, J. (1999). Understanding Failures of Learning: Hebbian Learning, Competition for Representational Space, and Some Preliminary Experimental Data. In J. Reggia, E. Ruppin and D. Glanzman (Eds.), Progress in Brain Research. Volume 121. Disorders of Brain, Behavior and Cognition: The Neurocomputational Perspective, Amsterdam: Elsevier, 75-80.
  • McClelland, J. L. (1998). Connectionist models and Bayesian inference. In M. Oaksford & N. Chater (Eds.), Rational Models of Cognition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 21-53.
  • McClelland, J. L. and Chappell, M. (1998). Familiarity Breeds Differentiation: A Subjective-Likelihood Appoach to the Effects of Experience in Recognition Memory. Psychological Review, 105, 724-760.
  • Munakata, Y., McClelland, J. L., Johnson, M. H. and Siegler, R. S. (1997). Rethinking Infant Knowledge: Toward an Adaptive Process Account of Successes and Failures in Object Permanence Tasks. Psychological Review, 104, 686-713.
  • McClelland, J. L. and Goddard, N. (1996). Considerations arising from a complementary learning systems perspective on hippocampus and neocortex. Hippocampus, 6, 654-665.
  • McClelland, J. L. (1996). Integration of information: Reflections on the theme of Attention and Performance XVI. In T. Inui & J. L. McClelland (Eds.), Attention & Performance XVI: Information Integration in Perception and Communication. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 633-656.
  • Plaut, D. C., McClelland, J. L., Seidenberg, M. S., and Patterson, K. (1996). Understanding normal and impaired word reading: Computational principles in quasi-regular domains. Psychological Review, 103, 56-115.
  • McClelland, J. L. (1995). Constructive Memory and Memory Distortions: A Parallel-Distributed Processing Approach. In D. L. Schacter, (Ed.), Memory Distortion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 69-90.
  • McClelland, J. L. (1995). A connectionist approach to knowledge and development. In T. J. Simon and G. S. Halford (Eds.), Developing cognitive competence: New approaches to process modeling. pp. 157-204. Mahwah, NJ: LEA, 601-613.
  • McClelland, J. L., McNaughton, B. L., and O'Reilly, R. C. (1995). Why there are complementary learning systems in the hippocampus and neocortex: Insights from the successes and failures of connectionist models of learning and memory. Psychological Review, 102, 419-457
  • Usher, M. and McClelland, J. L. (1995). On the time course of perceptual choice: A model based on principles of neural computation. Technical Report PDP.CNS.95.5, Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • O'Reilly, R. C., and McClelland, J. L. (1994). Hippocampal conjunctive encoding, storage and recall: Avoiding a tradeoff. Hippocampus
  • McClelland, J. L. (1994). The organization of memory: A Parallel Distributed Processing perspective. Revue Neurologique (Paris), 150, 8-9, 570-579.
  • McClelland, J. L. (1994). The interaction of nature and nurture in development: A parallel distributed processing perspective. In P. Bertelson, P. Eelen, & G. d'Ydewalle (Eds.), International Perspectives on Psychological Science, Volume 1: Leading Themes. United Kingdom: Erlbaum.
  • McClelland, J. L., and Plaut, D. C. (1993). Computational approaches to cognition: Top-down approaches.
  • Plaut, D. C., and McClelland, J. L. (1993). Generalization with componential attractors: Word and nonword reading in an attractor network Proceedings of the 15th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 824-829.
  • Hoeffner, J. H., and McClelland, J. L. (1993). Can a perceptual processing deficit explain the impairment of inflectional morphology in developmental dysphasia? A computational investigation. Proceedings of the 25th Annual Child Language Research Forum.
  • Movellan, J. R., & McClelland, J. L. (1993). Learning continuous probability distributions with symmetric diffusion networks. Cognitive Science, 17, 463-496.
  • Nystrom, L. E., & McClelland, J. L. (1992). Trace synthesis in cued recall. Journal of Memory and Language, 31, 591-614.
  • Cohen, J. D., Servan-Schreiber, D., & McClelland, J. L. (1992). A parallel distributed processing approach to automaticity. American Journal of Psychology, 105, 239-269.
  • Servan-Schreiber, D., Cleeremans, A. & McClelland, J. L. (1991). Graded state machines: The representation of temporal contingencies in simple recurrent networks. Machine Learning, 7, 161-193.
  • McClelland, J. L., & Jenkins, E. (1991). Nature, nurture, and connections: Implications of connectionist models for cognitive development. In K. Van Lehn (Ed.), Architectures for Intelligence, pp. 41-73. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Farah, M. J., & McClelland, J. L. (1991). A computational model of semantic memory impairment: Modality- specificity and emergent category-specificity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 120, 339-357.
  • Cleeremans, A. & McClelland, J. L. (1991). Learning the structure of event sequences. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 120,, 235-253.
  • McClelland, J. L. (1991). Stochastic interactive processes and the effect of context on perception. Cognitive Psychology, 23, 1-44.
  • Taraban, R. & McClelland, J. L. (1990). Parsing and Comprehension. A multiple constraint view. In Rayner, K., Balota, M., & Flores D'Arcais, I. Comprehension processes in reading. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

St. John, M. F., & McClelland, J. L. (1990). Learning and applying contextual constraints in sentence comprehension. Artificial Intelligence, 46, 217-257.

  • Cohen, J. D., Dunbar, K. and McClelland, J. L. (1990). On the Control of Automatic Processes: A Parallel-Distributed Processing Account of the Stroop Effect. Psychological Review, 97,, 332-361.
  • Seidenberg, M. S. and McClelland, J. L. (1989). A Distributed, Developmental Model of Word Recognition and Naming. Psychological Review, 96, 523-568.
  • McClelland, J. L., St. John. M., and Taraban, R. (1989). Sentence comprehension: A parallel distributed processing approach. Language and Cognitive Processes, 4, SI 287-335.
  • Cleeremans, A., Servan-Schreiber, D., & McClelland, J. L. (1989). Finite state automata and simple recurrent networks. Neural Computation, 1 (3), 372-381.
  • Hinton, G. E., & McClelland, J. L. (1988). Learning representations by recirculation. In D. Z. Anderson, (Ed.), Neural information processing systems (pp. 358-366). New York: American Institute of Physics.
  • Elman, J. L., & McClelland, J. L. (1988). Cognitive penetration of the mechanisms of perception: Compensation for coarticulation of lexically restored phonemes. Journal of Memory and Language, 27, 143-165
  • Rumelhart, D. E., McClelland, J. L., and the PDP research group. (1986). Parallel distributed processing: Explorations in the microstructure of cognition. Volume I. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • McClelland, J. L., Rumelhart, D. E., and the PDP research group. (1986). Parallel distributed processing: Explorations in the microstructure of cognition. Volume II. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • McClelland, J. L. and Elman, J. L. (1986). The TRACE Model of Speech Perception. Cognitive Psychology, 18, 1-86.
  • McClelland, J. L. and Rumelhart, D. E. (1985). Distributed memory and the representation of general and specific information. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 114, 159-197.
  • McClelland, J. L. (1985). Putting knowledge in its place: A scheme for programming parallel processing structures on the fly. Cognitive Science, 9, 113-146.

Elman, J. L. and McClelland, J. L. (1983). Speech perception as a cognitive process: The interactive activation model. ICS Report No. 8302, Institute for Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093.

  • Rumelhart, D. E., and McClelland, J. L. (1982). An interactive activation model of context effects in letter perception: Part 2. The context enhancement effect and some tests and extensions of the model. Psychological Review, 89, 60-94.
  • McClelland, J. L. (1981). Retrieving general and specific information from stored knowledge of specifics. Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society 170-172.
  • McClelland, J. L. and Rumelhart, D. E. (1981). An interactive activation model of context effects in letter perception: Part 1. An account of Basic Findings. Psychological Review, 88, 375-407.
  • McClelland, J. L. (1979). On the time relations of mental processes: An examination of systems of processes in cascade. Psychological Review, 86, 287-330.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Profile details: James Lloyd McClelland. URL accessed on August 7, 2012.
  2. MIND & BRAIN PRIZE - Center for Cognitive Science [1]
  3. Recipients

External linksEdit

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