In memoriam: Ragnar Steingrimsson

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Aug 032017

Ragnar Steingrimsson, UCI IMBS associate project scientist, dies at 50

Ragnar Steingrimsson, associate project scientist in the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences at University of California at Irvine, passed away in his sleep on May 22. He was 50.

Steingrimsson received his Ph.D. in cognitive sciences from UCI in 2002 and went on to complete postdoctoral work on the Irvine campus and at New York University before starting work full time at UCI’s Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences as an assistant project scientist. Alongside renowned cognitive scientists Duncan Luce and Louis Narens, Steingrimsson pursued research on subjective evaluation of sensory intensities – how people understand loudness, brightness, pain and other senses. At the time of his death, he was working to provide scientific evidence for a comprehensive theory of Luce’s that explained and integrated judgments of intensity within and across sensory domains. 

“As a graduate student in cognitive sciences, Ragnar did his doctoral dissertation under the guidance of Duncan,” says Louis Narens, cognitive sciences professor. “Duncan developed new mathematical techniques to study how people understand and experience senses – and Ragnar developed experimental techniques to test Duncan’s theories. Together, they published many papers in top psychology journals and developed important new methodologies for conducting psychophysical research.”

Among them: Psychological Review, Journal of Mathematical Psychology, Journal of American Psychology, and Attention, Perception & Psychophysics.

Steingrimsson also studied under cognitive sciences professors David Laberge and Jean-Claude Falmagne where he focused on attention and psychophysics and knowledge spaces, respectively. Throughout his postdoctoral positions at UCI, his research was continuously funded by the National Science Foundation and Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Steingrimsson was an avid runner and a native of Iceland. He earned a certificate in French language at the University of Paris, Sorbonne in 1989, and then headed to the University of Copenhagen, Denmark where he earned his bachelor’s in film and communication in 1991 and his bachelor’s in computer science in 1992. He came to Chapman University in Orange, California where he earned an MFA in 1994 and his master’s in English in 1995. He then joined the UCI Department of Cognitive Sciences graduate program, earning his master’s in 1998 and his Ph.D. in 2002.

During his 22-year association with UCI, Steingrimsson also worked remotely as a senior research scientist for the Northwest Evaluation Association (2013-16), an adjunct professor of psychology for New York University (2004-05), and a research scientist at Ohio State University (2017).


Text provided by Kimberly A. Jameson

Executive Committee

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Nov 192016

Society President

Prof. Kazuo Ueda
Department of Human Science,
Kyushu University

Society Vice President

Prof. Leah Fostick
Department of Communication Disorders
Ariel University

Society Secretary

Prof. Jordan Schoenherr
Department of Psychology
Carleton University

Society Treasurer

Prof. Wolfgang Ellermeier
Applied Cognitive Psychology
Technical University of Darmstadt

Non-Executive Scientific Communication Officer

Natalia Postnova
Department of Human Science,
Kyushu University

Former executive committees

2018-19Bruce Schneider, Kazuo Ueda, Leah Fostick, Jordan Schoenherr, Wolfgang Ellermeier, Sophia Arndt
2017-18John Monahan, Friedrich Müller, Wolfgan Ellermeier, Timonthy Hubbard
2015-16John Monahan, Friedrich Mueller, Timonthy Hubbard, Wolfgang Ellermeier
2013-14Martha Teghtsoonian, Rosana Tristao, Wolfgang Ellermeier, Elisabeth Borg
2011-12Thomas Lachmann, Ana Garriga-Trillo, William Petrusic, Elisabeth Borg, Mark Elliott, Michael Heidelberger
2009-11Thomas Lachmann, Ana Garriga-Trillo, William Petrusic, Shuji Mori, Mark Elliott, Michael Heidelberger
2008-09Jiri Wackermann, Cees Van Leeuwen, William Petrusic, Shuji Mori, Mark Elliott, Michael Heidelberger
2007-08Diana Kornbrot, Cees Van Leeuwen, William Petrusic, Jiri Wackermann, Bruce Schneider, Maralyn Schneider

Diana Kornbrot, Alexander Sokolov, William Petrusics, Ehtibar Dzhafarov, Shuji Mori


Lawrence Ward, Alexander Sokolov, Galina Paramei, Ehtibar Dzhafarov, Diana Kornbrot, Mark Elliott


Mark Elliott, Lawrence Ward, Galina Paramei, Lucia Regolin, John Monahan, Jim Townsend


Steven Link, Lucia Regolin, Mark Elliott, Galina Paramei, Armando Luis Dinis Monica de Oliveira


Steven Link, Galina Paramei, Wolfgang Ellermeier, Simon Grondin, Birgitta Berglund, Douglas Vickers


Wolfgang Ellermeier, Simon Grondin, José Aparacido Da Silva, Douglas Vickers, Debra Zellner


Gert Haubensak, Sandy MacRae, Erdmute Sommerfeld, Douglas Vickers, Debra Zellner


Claude Bonnet, George Gescheider, Gert Haubensak, Sandy MacRae, Martha Teghtsoonian


George Gescheider, Peter Killeen, Greg Neely, Marina Pavlova, Martha Teghtsoonian


Danny Algom, Simon Grondin, Yves Lacouture, Greg Lockhead, Greg Neely, Marina Pavlova


Daniel Algom, Loriane Allen, Anna Pries, Gregory Lockhead, Lawrence Marks


Birgitta Berglund, Loriane Allen, Sergio Masin, Scott Parker, Lawrence Marks


Birgitta Berglund, Ana Garriga-Trillo, Friedrich Müller, Scott Parker, Bertram Scharf


Birgitta Berglund, Ana Garriga-Trillo, Friedrich Müller, Scott Parker, Lawrence Ward


Birgitta Berglund, Ana Garriga-Trillo, Scott Parker, Helen Ross, Lawrence Ward


Birgitta Berglund, Gunnar Borg, Scott Parker, Helen Ross, Lawrence Ward


Gunnar Borg, Gregory Lockhead, Friedrich Müller, Helen Ross, Robert Teghtsoonian, Lawrence Ward


Gunnar Borg, Helen Ross, Robert Teghtsoonian, Lawrence Ward


Gunnar Borg, Camille-Aimé Possamaï, Bertram Scharf, Robert Teghtsoonian


Georges Canevet, Anne-Marie Bonnel, Camille-Aimé Possamaï, Bertram Scharf

Hannes Eisler, 1923-2015

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Jul 022015

Åke Hellström

Stockholm University, Sweden


Our very distinguished member, Professor Hannes Eisler, Stockholm University, has left us. He died on May 28, 2015, at the age of 91. He was a member of the ISP from its beginnings. At Fechner Day 2014 in Lund, Sweden, Hannes lectured on “Some research tips from 55 years’ psychophysics.” Informally, he named this presentation his “swan song.”

Hannes was Born in Vienna, Austria, 1923, and at the age of 15 fled to Sweden to escape the Nazis. Initially Hannes worked as a farm hand but quickly progressed to study at high school and later at Stockholm University, where he became an adept of Gösta Ekman, the Swedish pioneer of quantitative psychology. After spending a year in S. S. Stevens’ lab at Harvard, Hannes was awarded his Ph.D. in Stockholm 1963. In 1994, as the result of a petition from all Swedish psychology professors, the Swedish government awarded Hannes Eisler the rank and honor of Professor – a rare recognition of scientific merit.

During his long career, Hannes authored a large number of publications and made many important contributions to our field. His doctoral dissertation was about the relation between magnitude and category scales. Later on, he turned much of his interest toward time perception in people as well as in mice. Perhaps the most impressive of his contributions is the Parallel Clock model for temporal reproduction and comparison1, which arose from Hannes’ arduous and meticulous investigation of long known anomalies in time perception; specifically, breaks in psychophysical functions. Noting the positions of those breaks in reproduction data led him to the counter-intuitive realization that participants use a seemingly odd strategy in immediate reproduction of temporal intervals: subjectively matching the reproduction, not to the standard, but to one-half of the total duration. Using this model it is possible to estimate the psycho-physical function for time from reproduction data, and Hannes published a huge collection of temporal power function exponents2 – much cited but all too often with no understanding of how they were determined.

Hannes was intellectually perspicacious and possessed research talent in abundance. Modes-ty, good nature, along with deep and diverse cultural interests, sense of humor, and appreci-ation of the good things in life, were some of his other characteristics. Scientific seminars on various topics were enriched by his insightful comments until a heart attack sadly ended his long life.

I miss Hannes immensely, as a very good old friend, a respected senior colleague, and a mentor – even the word guru feels very appropriate.


  1. Eisler, H. (1975). Psychological Review, 82, 429-450.
  2. Eisler, H. (1976). Psychological Bulletin, 83, 1154-1171.

Anna D. Eisler 1937-2011

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Feb 232015

Åke Hellström
Stockholms universitet, Stockholm

Anna D. Eisler was born near Bratislava in former Czechoslovakia. In 1968 she came to Stockholm. Educated as an economist, she became employed as a bank clerk. After meeting her future husband, Hannes Eisler, she studied psychology at Stockholm University. The title of her doctoral dissertation (1993) – “Time perception: theoretical considerations and empirical studies of the influence of gender, age, and culture on subjective duration” – describes her earlier research, putting Hannes’ Parallel Clock Model to work as an analytical tool. Later Anna broadened her perspective to crosscultural psychology, spanning the perception of time as well as of risk and ecological conditions, and also highlighting gender differences. Anna and Hannes Eisler formed a strong research team. At Stockholm University Anna taught courses and supervised student papers. A long-standing active member of ISP, a frequent global traveller to conferences and engaged in international collaborations, Anna was a warm, social, generous, and committed person with contagious enthusiasm for research as well as for the wonders of nature and culture.

Become a member

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Jan 252007

Welcome! Become a member of the International Society of Psychophysics and expand your network to a lively community of psychophysics.  Continue reading »


 Society  Comments Off on Conferences
Jan 252007

The Society meets annually and when possible on the anniversary of the conception of psychophysics by Gustav-Theodor Fechner which occurred on the morning of October 22nd 1850. The annual meetings are scientific and business events, originally attended by a core of some 50 – 60 members and currently enjoying attendance of around double that number. In the links that follow you will find information from the annual Fechner Day meetings. Continue reading »


 Society  Comments Off on History
Nov 192006

The Society was conceived during discussions among varying combinations of Birgitta Berglund, Ulf Berglund, Bertram Scharf, Martha Teghtsoonian, and Robert Teghtsoonian, during the early part of 1985, and had its first meeting later the same year in Marseille, France. Scharf and his colleagues in the CNRS laboratories in Marseille agreed to serve as a local organizing committee and be our hosts for a first meeting divided between meeting rooms at the CNRS and various locations in the picturesque (and conveniently nearby) village of Cassis.

Continue reading »