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Neuroscience Pioneer Richard F. Thompson Dead at 84

AAAS Fellow Richard F. Thompson, the William M. Keck Chair Emeritus in Psychology and Biological Sciences at USC Dornsife, has died. He was 84. Thompson was a pioneer in the field of neuroscience, contributing to the understanding of the neurobiological substrates of learning and memory. He was the first neuroscientist to identify and map the neural circuits responsible for classical conditioning — or Pavlovian learning. Thompson was also a passionate mentor, guiding the careers of more than 60 graduate students and postdocs, many of whom are now senior leaders in the field of behavioral neuroscience.

Recognitions for Thompson's scientific achievements include the Karl Spencer Lashley Award from the American Philosophical Society in 2007, and the American Psychological Foundation's 2010 Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Science of Psychology, which recognizes a distinguished career and enduring contributions to the science of psychology.

Thompson published 450 research papers. He wrote his first book, Foundations of Physiological Psychology (Harper & Row), in 1967 while a professor of medical psychology and psychiatry at the University of Oregon Medical School. The book has since become a classic in the field.

To read Thompson's full obituary please go to the USC Dornsife web page.