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On applying cognitive psychology


Correspondence should be addressed to Alan Baddeley, Department of Psychology, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK (e-mail:


Recent attempts to assess the practical impact of scientific research prompted my own reflections on over 40 years worth of combining basic and applied cognitive psychology. Examples are drawn principally from the study of memory disorders, but also include applications to the assessment of attention, reading, and intelligence. The most striking conclusion concerns the many years it typically takes to go from an initial study, to the final practical outcome. Although the complexity and sheer timescale involved make external evaluation problematic, the combination of practical satisfaction and theoretical stimulation make the attempt to combine basic and applied research very rewarding.

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