McGaugh, James L. 1931-

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McGaugh, James L. 1931-

(J.L. McGaugh, James Lafayette McGaugh)

PERSONAL: Born December 17, 1931, in Long Beach, CA; son of William Rufus (a Methodist minister) and Daphne (Hermes) McGaugh; married Carol J. Becker, March 15, 1952; children: Douglas, Janice, Linda. Education: San Jose State College (now University), B.A. (with great distinction), 1953; University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., 1959; postdoctoral study in Rome, Italy. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: "When time allows and the seasons are appropriate, I ski (poorly), play squash and tennis (badly), and travel (to Mexico whenever possible)."

ADDRESSES: Home—2327 Aralia St., Newport Beach, CA 92660. Office—Department of Psychobiology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92664. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: San Jose State College (now University), assistant professor, 1957–60, associate professor of psychology, 1960–61; University of Oregon, Eugene, associate professor of psychology, 1961–64; University of California, Irvine, associate professor, 1964–66, professor of psychobiology, 1966–, chair of department, 1964–67, 1971–74, professor in department of psychiatry, 1968–, School of Biological Sciences, dean, 1968–70, vice-chancellor of University for academic affairs, 1975–77, executive vice-chancellor, 1978–, founding director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. Consultant to Veterans Administration, 1964–; member of National Institute of Mental Health review committees, 1968–72, 1975–.

MEMBER: National Academy of Sciences, Brazilian Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (fellow), International Brain Research Organization, American Psychological Association (fellow), American Psychological Society (past president), American Association for the Advancement of Science (fellow), Psychonomic Society, Society for Neuroscience (member of council, 1974–78), Sigma Xi.

AWARDS, HONORS: National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council senior postdoctoral fellow at Instituto Superiore di Sanita, Rome, Italy, 1961–62; Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, American Psychological Association, 1981.


(With Joseph B. Cooper) Integrating Principles of Social Psychology, Schenkman (Cambridge, MA), 1963.

(Editor, with R.E. Whalen and N.M. Weinberger) Psychobiology: The Biological Bases of Behavior, W.H. Freeman (San Francisco, CA), 1966.

(With H.F. Harlow and R.F. Thompson) Psychology, Albion Publishing (San Francisco, CA), 1971.

(Editor) Psychobiology: Behavior from a Biological Perspective, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1971.

(Editor) The Chemistry of Mood, Motivation and Memory, Plenum (New York, NY), 1972.

(With Michael J. Herz) Memory Consolidation, Albion Publishing (San Francisco, CA), 1972.

Learning and Memory: An Introduction (selection of chapters from Psychology), 1971), Albion Publishing (San Francisco, CA), 1974.

(Editor, with Max Fink and others, and contributor) Psychobiology of Convulsive Therapy, V.H. Winston, 1974.

(Editor, with L. Petrinovich, and contributor) Knowing, Thinking, and Believing (Festschrift for Professor David Krech), Plenum (New York, NY), 1976.

(Editor, with R.R. Drucker-Colin) Neurobiology of Sleep and Memory, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1977.

(With C.W. Cotman) Behavioral Neuroscience, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1980.

(Editor, with S.B. Kiesler) Aging: Biology and Behavior, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1981.

(Editor, with J.L. Martinez, Jr., R.A. Jensen, R.B. Messing, and H. Rigter, and contributor) Endogenous Peptides and Learning and Memory Processes, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1981.

(Editor, with others) Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Guilford (New York, NY), 1984.

(Editor) Contemporary Psychology: Biological Processes and Theoretical Issues, Elsevier (New York, NY), 1985.

(Editor, with others) Memory Systems of the Brain: Animal and Human Cognitive Processes, Guilford (New York, NY), 1985.

(Editor, with others) Cellular Mechanisms of Conditioning and Behavioral Plasticity, Plenum (New York, NY), 1988.

(Editor, with others) Brain Organization and Memory: Cells, Systems, and Circuits, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1990.

(Editor, with others) Peripheral Signaling of the Brain: Role in Neural-Immune Interactions and Learning and Memory, Hogrefe & Huber (Lewiston, NY), 1991.

(Editor, with others) Plasticity in the Central Nervous System: Learning and Memory, Erlbaum (Mahwah, NJ), 1995.

(Editor, with others) Brain and Memory: Modulation and Mediation of Neuroplasticity, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

(Editor, with K. Ishikawa and H. Sakata) Brain Processes and Memory: Proceedings of the 16th Nihon International Symposium on Brain Process and Memory, Tokyo, Japan, 29 November—2 December 1995, Elsevier (New York, NY), 1995.

Memory and Emotion: The Making of Lasting Memories, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor to books by others, including The Aging Nervous System, edited by G.J. Maletta and F.J. Pirozzolo, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1980; Twentieth-Century Encyclopedia, edited by G. Bedeschi, Instituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana (Rome, Italy), 1981; and Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, by C. Ajmone Marsan and H. Matthies, Raven Press, 1981. Contributor to annual publications, including Recent Advances on Learning and Retention, and to International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Enciclopedia della Scienza e della tecnica Mondadori, and Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. Contributor to periodicals, including Industrial Research and Psychology and Life. Editor of Behavioral Biology, 1972–78; editor of Behavioral and Neural Biology, 1979–; coeditor of Advances in Behavioral Biology, 1971–; associate editor of Communications in Behavioral Biology, 1969–71; consulting editor of Behavior Research Methods and Instrumentation, 1969–; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 1975–; member of editorial advisory boards of Psychopharmacologia, 1966–78, Agents and Actions, 1969–73, Journal of Neurobiology, 1969–76, International Journal of Psychobiology, 1971–, Brain Research, 1974–80, Psychopharmacology Communications, 1975–, and "Oxford Psychology" series (Oxford University Press), 1979–.

SIDELIGHTS: The focus of James L. McGaugh's career has been the study of brain function, and in particular the influence of drugs and stress hormones on memory storage. He is founding director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California, Irvine, and the author of, and contributor to, many volumes. These include Memory and Emotion: The Making of Lasting Memories, in which McGaugh studies why the memory of a recent activity is often quickly blurred, while one of an event of significance can remain clear for a lifetime. He theorizes that the level of stress and emotion linked to an event often determines its longevity in our memory. This book focuses on memory in both humans and mammals. In reviewing the volume in American Scientist, Joseph E. LeDoux described it as "superb. As McGaugh notes in his closing sentence, the final chapter about how memory works is not likely to be written soon. But thanks to him, the story of memory modulation is a well-told tale."

McGaugh told CA: "I am strongly interested in the development of brain research in Latin-American countries."



Gold, Paul E., and William T. Greenough, editors, Memory Consolidation: Essays in Honor of James L. McGaugh, American Psychological Association (Washington, DC), 2001.


American Scientist, March-April, 2004, Joseph E. LeDoux, review of Memory and Emotion: The Making of Lasting Memories, p. 180.

Library Journal, September 1, 2003, Mary Ann Hughes, review of Memory and Emotion, p. 191.

Quarterly Review of Biology, June, 2004, Robert W. Doty, review of Memory and Emotion, p. 223.


Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, University of California, Irvine Web site, (January 3, 2006), faculty bio.