Stuart Sutherland

Psychologist, Author

1927 – 1998


Who was Stuart Sutherland?

Norman Stuart Sutherland, always known professionally as Stuart Sutherland, was a British psychologist and writer.

Sutherland was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham, before going to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read Psychology, Philosophy and Physiology. He stayed at Oxford for his DPhil which he took in zoology under the supervision of J. Z. Young. He held a lecturing post at Oxford before moving in 1964 to the recently opened University of Sussex as the founding Professor and head of its Laboratory of Experimental Psychology; with the young colleagues he appointed, he rapidly built an international reputation for Sussex in this field.

Among psychologists, Sutherland is best known for his theoretical and empirical work in comparative psychology, particularly in relation to visual pattern recognition and discrimination learning. In the 1950s and 1960s he carried out numerous experiments on rats but also on other species such as octopus; the two-factor theory of discrimination learning that he developed with Nicholas Mackintosh was an important step in the rehabilitation of a cognitive approach to animal learning after the dominance of strict behaviourism in the first half of the twentieth century. He was also interested in human perception and cognition, and in 1992 he published Irrationality: The enemy within, a lay reader's guide to the psychology of cognitive biases and common failures of human judgement.

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Mar 26, 1927
Also known as
  • N. S. Sutherland
  • United Kingdom
  • Magdalen College, Oxford
  • King Edward's School, Birmingham
Nov 8, 1998

on July 23, 2013


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