Neil A. Stillings

Professor of Psychology, Emeritus
School of Cognitive Science
Hampshire College
Amherst, MA, USA 01002

email: nstillings at hampshire dot edu


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Biographical Sketch

Professor Stillings taught at Hampshire for 47 years, from 1971 to 2018. In 2021 he wrote a History of the School of Cognitive Science at Hampshire College.

He holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and a B.A. from Amherst College. His main interests and teaching involved foundations of cognitive science, music cognition, the evolution of cognition and culture, and helping students negotiate the landscape of the psychological, neural, and cognitive sciences.

He was a co-founder of Hampshire's School of Cognitive Science. and served four terms as Dean of the School, the last from 2005-2011. He was a co-founder and member of the founding steering committee of Hampshire's Culture, Brain, & Development Program. He  served terms as the faculty member of the College's Board of Trustees and as the chair of the Budget and Priorities and the Educational Policy Committees. He was a member of the University of Massachusetts graduate faculty.

He wrote and consulted widely on undergraduate cognitive science education. He was the first author and editor of the 1987 and 1995 editions of Cognitive Science: An Introduction (MIT Press). He organized and ran national workshops on teaching cognitive science for the Sloan Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Cognitive Science Society.

In research funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy he led research groups that studied how college and K-12 students understand the nature of science and how they learn to think conceptually. The projects studied learning in biology, chemistry, ecology, physics, geology, and linguistics, and they included the development of computer-based interactive learning environments for forest ecology, geology, and linguistics. Professor Stillings also participated as a co-PI, co-organizer, consultant, or panelist on numerous national panels and Federally-funded grants concerned with bringing the cognitive science perspective to educational research in general and to education in chemistry and the geosciences more specifically.

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