Dr. Baddeley is professor of psychology at the University of York, United Kingdom. Alan Baddeley read psychology at University College, London, graduating in 1956. A year later, he was awarded a Master of Arts degree by Princeton University in the United States of America, before returning to the United Kingdom, where in 1962 he completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge, where he remained as a researcher at the Medical Research Council's Applied Psychology Unit for the next five years. In 1969, Alan Baddeley was a lecturer, then reader, at Sussex University, before moving on to Stirling University as professor of psychology. He was director of the Medical Research Council's Applied Psychology Unit at Cambridge for 21 years after which he served as professor of psychology at University of Bristol.
Marks of the esteem in which Professor Baddeley is held by his peers internationally are the numerous invitations to visit universities throughout the world. He has been a visiting fellow at the University of California, San Diego, and visiting professor at Harvard University, the University of Queensland, Australia, and the University of Texas, Austin. He has been president of the Experimental Psychology Society and the European Society for Cognitive Psychology and he was elected a member of the Academia Europaea in 1989. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society.
The main focus of Professor Baddeley's work has been memory. A prolific author, he has published numerous articles, research papers and books in the course of his career. Memory is a human attribute that appears to be distributed unequally. Some are blessed (a very unscientific term) with an acute memory; others of us are forgetful - a condition that often appears to get worse with age. But these are very crude generalisations. What is important to try to understand is the nature of memory. Why do we remember certain things and not others? Why do we retain certain memories permanently, while jettisoning other memories after only a short time? Do we have a finite memory store? Or is memory limitless, thus making it at least theoretically possible to recall apparently forgotten experience? Why can we remember some sequences of numbers (such as, for example, telephone numbers), and yet not others? It is on trying to find the scientific answers to these and other questions that Professor Baddeley's work has been focussed and much of his activity as Director of the Medical Research Council's Applied Psychology Unit at Cambridge between 1974 and 1995 was dedicated to that end, as is evidenced by a series of distinguished books, the titles of which speak for themselves: The Psychology of Memory (1976); Your Memory: A User's Guide (1982); Working Memory (1986); Human Memory: Theory and Practice (1990).