A noted brain scientist, psychologist, and philosopher, Pribram was called The Einstein of Brain Science in the July 2000 issue of the Culver Alumni Magazine for his pioneering research into the function of the brain’s limbic system, frontal lobes, temporal lobes, and their roles in decision making and emotion.
Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1919, Pribram attended grammar school in Switzerland before coming to Culver Military Academy. He received his bachelor’s and medical degrees at the University of Chicago and went on to become certified in the specialties of neurological surgery and behavioral medicine. He was one of the first 300 board-certified neurosurgeons in the world.
However, most of his career over the past six decades was devoted to brain/behavior research which he pursued at the Yerkes Laboratory of Primate Biology; at Yale University, where Pribram taught neurophysiology and physiological psychology; and for 30 years at Stanford University, where he received a lifetime career award from the National Institutes of Health as Professor of Neuroscience in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry.
Upon becoming emeritus at Stanford, Pribram accepted the position of James P. and Anna King Distinguished Professor at Radford University where he remained for 12 years as an Eminent Scholar of the Virginia Commonwealth. He taught as Distinguished Research Professor in cognitive neuroscience at Georgetown and George Mason universities. He also received an honorary doctorate in psychology from the University of Montrea in 1992 and an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Bremen in 1996.
Pribram is author of more than 700 books and scientific publications. His books include Plans and the Structure of Behavior (with George Miller and Eugene Galanter); Languages of the Brain; Brain and Perception; and Freud’s Project Reassessed (with Merton Gill).
He was the recipient of more than 60 international awards and honors; honorary doctorates in psychology and neuroscience from the universities of Montreal, Canada and Bremen, Germany; and an Outstanding Contributions Award from the American Board of Medical Psychotherapists. Pribram was also the first laureate to receive the Dagmar and Vaclav Havel Award for uniting the sciences and the humanities.
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