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Carnegie Symposia

In April of 1965, the first of the Carnegie Symposia on Cognition was organized and hosted by the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Tech. Its purpose, as stated by Ben Kleinmuntz, a faculty member and the editor of the first three volumes in the series (Kleinmuntz, 1966, 1967, 1968), was

     “to stimulate further interest in and disseminate information about the work that is being planned and done on problem solving.”

The first three symposia set the standard and the tone for the 34 such symposia that followed by including many of the world’s leading cognitive scientists, including Dick Atkinson, David Berlyne, Lyle Bourne, Robyn Dawes, Ward Edwards, Ed Feigenbaum, Robert Gagne, Harry Harlow, Barbel Inhelder, Joshua Lederberg, Arthur Melton, Don Norman, Mike Posner, David Premack, B. F. Skinner, and Don Taylor, among others (and, of course Herb Simon and Allen Newell. Not surprisingly, Herb participated in about 50% of those symposia, and Al Newell in 10 of them.) Although focused mainly on cognitive psychology, over the years the symposia have also covered a range of topics beyond cognitive processes in humans, as revealed by their titles and participant lists, shown in this table.

In early years, many of the symposium volumes sold over 2000 copies each and many of the papers continue to be widely cited. Nearly 35,000 copies of Carnegie Symposium Volumes have been sold. However, in more recent years, sales have plummeted as the market for such volumes has declined, across the board, quite drastically.

While we plan to continue this influential series of scientific meetings in coming years, we anticipate a different form of dissemination that is consistent with the changes in scientific communication that have occurred since this all started 50 years ago.