Richard F. Thompson
Keck Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences, Psychology Department, Biological Sciences Department
- Brain Substrates of basic associative learning and memory.
- Essential role of the cerebellum in classical conditioning of discrete responses.
- Role of the hippocampus in basic processes of synaptic plasticity and memory.
Research OverviewRichard F. Thompson is Keck Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California. For many years he was Director of the Neuroscience Program (Program in Neural, Informational and Behavioral Sciences) at the University of Southern California and is currently Senior Scientific Advisor to the Neuroscience Program. Prior to this he was Bing Professor of Human Biology and Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, where he served as Chair of the Human Biology Program from 1980-1985. Previous positions include Professor of Psychobiology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, Professor of Psychology (Karl Lashley's chair) at Harvard University and Professor of Medical Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Oregon Medical School. He received his B.A. degree at Reed College, his Ph.D. in Psychobiology at the University of Wisconsin, and did post-doctoral research in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology at the University of Wisconsin and Laboratory of Neurophysiology at the University of Goeteborg in Sweden.
His area of research and scholarly interest is the broad field of psychobiology with a focus on the neurobiological substrates of learning and memory. He discovered the essential role of the cerebellum in basic procedural memory and has localized the site of a memory trace. He has also characterized processes of synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus and its role in elementary forms of declarative memory. He has written several texts, edited several books and published over 440 research papers. Honors include election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Society of Experimental Psychologists; recipient of the Howard Crosby Warren medal of the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the D. G. Marquis Award in Behavioral Neuroscience and the John P. McGovern award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was elected Chair of the Psychonomic Society, President of Division 6 of the American Psychological Association, Chair of the Psychology Section (Section 52) of the National Academy of Sciences, Chair of the Psychology Section (Section J) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and member of the Governing council of the Society for Neurosciences. He was recently elected President of the Western Psychological Association and President of the Pavlovian Society and was President of the American Psychological Society. He held a Research Scientist Career award from the National Institute of Mental Health and was a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.
He has been involved in a wide range of scientific-administrative activities at the national level, including the Assembly of Behavioral and Social Sciences of the National Research Council, a Presidential Task Panel on Research in Mental Health, Chair of the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association, Chair of the Committee on Animal Research and Experimentation of the American Psychology Association and a member of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences. He is also a corresponding member of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California, Irvine.
Dr. Thompson served as Chief Editor of the journals Physiological Psychology and Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology and Chief Editor (and founder) of the journal Behavioral Neuroscience (1983-1990). He is currently Regional Editor of the journal Behavioural Brain Research, Associate Editor of the Annual Review of Neuroscience, consulting Editor for Behavioral Neurosciences, and is on the editorial board of a number of other scientific journals. Thompson also has served on several research and training grant panels for the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health, and committees of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences. He has been involved in local administrative activities at Oregon, Irvine, Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Southern California.
He has an active and productive laboratory and is most fortunate to have had an outstanding group of postdoctoral fellows, visiting professors, research associates and graduate and undergraduate students working with him on basic neuronal mechanisms of learning and memory. His laboratory has had continuous Federal research grant support since 1959 and is currently funded through the year 2011.
- Web Sites:
- Personal Home Page
PIBBS Web Page
- Mailing Address:
- University of Southern California
Neuroscience Research Institute
3641 Watt Way HNB-522
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2520
- Office Location:
- HNB 522
- Office Phone:
- (213) 740-7350
- Lab Location:
- HNB - 5th Floor
- Lab Phone:
- (213) 740-3406
- (213) 740-5687
- B.A., Reed College, 1952.
- M.S., University of Wisconsin, 1953.
- Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1956.
- NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Wisconsin, 1959.
- Research and Training Fellowship, University of Goteborg, 1966.
Mojtahedian S, Kogan DR, Kanzawa SA, Thompson RF, Lavond DG. (2007) Dissociaton of conditioned eye and limb responses in the cerebellar interpositus. Physiol Behav. -PubMed
Lee KH, Thompson RF. (2006) Multiple memory mechanisms in the cerebellum? Neuron. 51(6):680-2. -PubMed
Poulos AM, Pakaprot N, Mahdi B, Kehoe EJ, Thompson RF. (2006) Decremental effects of context exposure following delay eyeblink conditioning in rabbits. Behav Neurosci. 120(3):730-4. -PubMed
Park JS, Onodera T, Nishimura S, Thompson RF, Itohara S. (2006) Molecular evidence for two-stage learning and partial laterality in eyeblink conditioning of mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 103(14):5549-54. -PubMed
Foy MR, Baudry M, Thompson RF. (2005) Estrogen and Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity. Neuron Glia Biology, 1:1-12.
Christian KM, Thompson RF. (2005) Long-term Storage of an Associative Memory Trace in the Cerebellum. Behavioral Neuroscience 119:256-537 -PubMed
Liu YC, Lyons WE, Mamounas LA, Thompson RF. (2004) Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Plays a Critical Role in Contextual Fear Conditioning. Journal of Neuroscience 24:7958-7963. -PubMed
Christian KM, Thompson RF. (2003) Neural substrates of eyeblink conditioning: Acquisition and retention. Learning and Memory 10:427-455. -PubMed
Liu R, Liu YC, Bi X, Thompson RF, Doctrow S, Malfroy B, Baudry M. (2003) Reversal of age-related learning deficits and brain oxidative stress in mice with superoxide dimutase/catalase mimetics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100:8526-8531. -PubMed
Bao S, Chen L, Kim J, Thompson RF. (2002) Cerebellar cortical inhibition and classical eyeblink conditioning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99:1592-1597. -PubMed