David Swinney, Psychologist and Pioneer, Dies
By Barry Jagoda | May 1, 2006
David Swinney, distinguished professor of psychology at UCSD, died at his home April 14, 2006 following complications from colon cancer. He was 59.
Swinney was a pioneer in modern psycholinguistics study who studied how cognitive activities, particularly those that involve language, are processed by the brain. He was probably best known for his work detailing the time-course of language and cognitive operations in individuals with and without stroke. This work has had a vast influence on theories of language. Swinney showed how critical it was to use multiple methodological techniques (behavioral, neuroimaging, and neurophysiological) to converge on theoretical interpretation. He published over 75 scientific articles, edited (and co-edited) 8 books, and gave hundreds of presentations throughout the world.
Swinney joined UCSD in 1992. His last positions reflect the broad impact he had in many fields of work (across many disciplines- psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, and neuroscience). In addition to his position as a Distinguished Professor in the Psychology Department, he was also a Professor in the Neurosciences Graduate Program, and the Cognitive Sciences Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. He held an Honorary Professorship position in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of Queensland, Australia and was an Adjunct Professor at San Diego State University in the School of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences as well as in the Graduate Program in Speech and Hearing Sciences, City University of New York Graduate Center.
Swinney served as the Co-Director of the Joint SDSU/UCSD Ph.D. Program in Language and Communicative Disorders from its inception in 1996, was chair of the Department of Psychology at UCSD from 1994 to 2000 and director of the Center for Human Information Processing /Center for the Study of Brain and Cognition at UCSD from 1994 – 1997.
Swinney was born and raised in New York. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Indiana University and his Masters degree from Indiana University in Speech Pathology and Audiology. Swinney received his doctorate in Psycholinguistics and Cognitive Psychology from the University of Texas in Austin. During his doctoral studies, he served for one year as a research associate & statistical consultant for the Program in Sociolinguistics at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, D.C.. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Swinney held faculty positions at Tufts University (Psychology Dept.) and The Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York. He was a Visiting Professor at Rutgers University in both the Departments of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences.Swinney’s dedication also spread to his service to the research community. He served on many NIH and NIMH review panels since 1978 and was currently serving on the NIDCD Communication Disorders Review Committee. He served on the Program and Governing Boards of the Academy of Aphasia. He was a member of the Governing Board of the McDonnell Pew Center for Cognitive Science at San Diego, the Advisory Board of the UCSD Center for Research on Language, the Institute for Neural Computation Training Grant (Salk / UCSD/ INC) Board and the
International Advisory Board for the Centre for Research in Language Processing and Linguistics, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
Swinney was a member of the the editorial boards of Cognition, Brain and Language, Journal of Metaphor and Symbolic Activity, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Language and Cognitive Processes, Neuropsychology, Behavioral & Brain Sciences. He was Associate Editor of the Journal of Psycholinguistic Research.
He is survived by his wife, Emmanuelle. He is also survived by his two sisters, Barbara and Suzannah, their husbands and children.
Dave Swinney will be remembered by his many friends and colleagues for his steadfast commitment to his science and to his professional community. He did his work with a gentle personal style and a generous desire to share credit for accomplishments with his students and coworkers. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to the David Swinney Memorial Graduate Fellowship in Psychology, c/o UCSD Foundation, Michelle Glenn, Director of Development, Social Sciences, 9500 Gilman Drive # 0502 La Jolla, CA 92093-0502. Checks should be made payable to the UC San Diego Foundation. This Fellowship will continue Dr. Swinney’s efforts in supporting outstanding and motivated graduate students while they pursue their doctorate in the field of cognitive psychology, with a special emphasis in language processing.
Please visit Dr. Swinney’s website for more information.