Alan Baddeley was born in 1934 in a working class district of Leeds, England. He studied Psychology at University College London, and by the time he graduated, felt sure he wanted to spend his life doing experimental psychology. A spell in the United States led to a master's degree, and Baddeley's first published article, in which he showed that rats were cleverer than the learning theory of the time predicted they would be. Psychology was changing rapidly, however, and by the time he started working at the Applied Psychology Unit in Cambridge, the cognitive revolution was in full swing, and models of human cognition came to be a more fruitful interest than learning in rats.
Over the next several decades, Alan Baddeley developed influential cognitive models of human memory, especially what is known as working memory. As well as normal participants, Baddeley has worked with neuropsychological patients, especially amnesics. His work is theoretical, but tries to stay close to data from both experiments with ordinary people and from patients with memory difficulties.
Alan Baddeley is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of Bristol. He has received many awards and honours for his work, most notably a CBE from Her Majesty the Queen for his contribution to the study of memory.
Written by Course Team with information from Alan Baddeley.