Engineering psychology, experimental psychology, industrial and organizational psychology
1926, Birmingham, England
1993, Oxford, England
Donald Eric (D.E.) Broadbent FRS (Birmingham, 6 May 1926 – 10 April 1993) was an influential experimental psychologist from the U.K. His career and research bridged the gap between the pre-WWII approach of Sir Frederic Bartlett and what became known as ...
Donald Eric (D.E.) Broadbent FRS (Birmingham, 6 May 1926 – 10 April 1993) was an influential experimental psychologist from the U.K. His career and research bridged the gap between the pre-WWII approach of Sir Frederic Bartlett and what became known as Cognitive Psychology in the late 1960s. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Broadbent as the 54th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.
Educated at the University of Cambridge, in 1958 he became director of the Applied Psychology Research Unit, set up by the UK Medical Research Council in 1944 to focus on Frederick Bartlett's work. Although most of the work at the APRU was directed at practical issues of the military or private industry, Broadbent became well known for his theoretical work. His theories of selective attention and short-term memory were developed as digital computers were becoming available to the academic community, and were among the first to use computer analogies to make serious contributions to the analysis of human cognition. These theories were combined to form what became known as the "single channel hypothesis." Broadbent's filter model of attention proposed that the physical characteristics (e.g., pitch, loudness) of an auditory message were used to focus attention to only a single message. Broadbent's filter model is referred to as an Early Selection Model because irrelevant messages are filtered out BEFORE the stimulus information is processed for meaning. These and other theories were brought together in his 1958 book Perception and Communication, which remains one of the classic texts of cognitive psychology. In 1974 Broadbent became a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford and returned to applied science; along with his colleague Dianne Berry, he developed new ideas about implicit learning from consideration of human performance in complex industrial processes.
Applied Psychology Unit, University of Cambridge, 1949-58, Director, 1958-74
Fellow, Acoustical Society of America, 1963, BPS, 1957
Royal Society, 1968, Human Factors Society, 1968, Hon. Dr, University of Southampton, 1973, University of York, 1979, University of Loughborough, 1982, City University, London, 1983, University of Brussels, 1985
Experimental Psychology Society, BPS, 1964-5
Psychology Section, British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1967, President, 1973-4, CBE, 1974
Medical Research Council External Staff Member, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, 1974-91
Hon. Fellow (Faculty of Occupational Medicine), Royal College of Physicians, 1981, Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1985
Hon DSc University of Wales, 1992
Editorial Board: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 1975-93, Journal of Applied Psychology, 1977-93 and Psychological Medicine, 1980-93
Editorial Panel (Psychology), Oxford University Press, 1979-93.
1957 A mechanical model for human attention and immediate memory. Psychological Review, 64, 205-15.
1958 Perception and Communication. Pergamon.
1961 Behaviour. Eyre and Spottiswood.
1963 Vigilance considered as a statistical decision. British Journal of Psychology, 54, 309-23 (with M. H.P. Gregory).
1967 The word frequency effect and response bias. Psychological Review, 74, 1-15.
1967 The perception of emotionally toned words. Nature, 215, 581-84 (with M. H.P. Gregory).
1971 Decision and Stress. Academic Press.
1973 In Defence of Empirical Psychology. Methuen.
1977 Levels, hierarchies, and the locus of control. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 29, 181-201.
1984 The Maltese Cross: A new simplistic model for memory. Brain and Behavioral Sciences, 7, 55-94.
1985 The clinical impact of job design. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 24, 33-4.
1986 Implicit and explicit knowledge in the control of complex systems. British Journal of Psychology, 77, 33-50 (with P. Fitzgerald and M. H.P. Broadbent).
1986 Performance correlates of self-reported cognitive failures and of obsessionality. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 25, 285-99 (with M. H.P. Broadbent and J. L. Jones).
1988 Interactive tasks and the implicit-explicit distinction. British Journal of Psychology, 79, 251-72 (with D. C. Berry).