Endel Tulving, whose insights into the structure of human memory and the way we recall the past revolutionized the field of cognitive psychology, died on Sept. 11 in Mississauga, Ontario. He was 96.
His daughters, Linda Tulving and Elo Tulving-Blais, said his death, at an assisted living home, was caused by complications of a stroke.
Until Dr. Tulving began his pathbreaking work in the 1960s, most cognitive psychologists were more interested in understanding how people learn things than in how they retain and recall them.
When they did think about memory, they often depicted it as one giant cerebral warehouse, packed higgledy-piggledy, with only a vague conception of how we retrieved those items. This, they asserted, was the realm of “the mind,” an untestable, almost philosophical construct.