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Anne Britt gets into people’s minds

April 13, 2015
Anne Britt

Anne Britt

Anne Britt has devoted her life to figuring out how people think.

She works at the intersections of cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, reading and education, shedding light upon how students select, understand and evaluate information in the context of decision making. It is work that goes to the heart of what enables humans to think critically and communicate effectively. Her work is credited by many for moving forward our understanding of the reading process and how textual information is used in critical decision making.

“Dr. Britt is a mover and a shaker in this field – one of the world’s leaders,” said Paul van den Broek, who is on the faculty of the Center for Cognitive Sciences at the University of Minnesota.

A glance at a list of Britt’s many publications, honors and awards supports such lofty praise.

She has published more than 60 peer-reviewed research papers and books chapters, authored two books and presented more than 135 papers at national and international conferences as well as at major universities across the globe. Her works are eagerly awaited by her peers.

“Dr. Britt’s publications are an indispensable reference for any author interested in the topic of integration of multiple documents, an issue of maximal relevance nowadays, not only in psychology and education, but also in many other social sciences,” said Eduardo Vidal-Abarca, an educational psychologist at the University of Valencia in Spain.

Britt, who teaches in the NIU Department of Psychology, has served as a standing member of the grant panel for basic processes with the U.S Department of Education, an elected fellow of the Society for Text and Discourse and serves as an associate editor for a leading journal in the field, Discourse Process, and is on the editorial boards of two other important journals.

In addition to her theoretical work, Britt has helped develop computer-based tutorials used by both high school and college students to improve their ability to evaluate arguments, reason logically, employ scientific reasoning and write persuasively.

Beyond all of that, Britt also has a reputation for collegiality and for cultivating the next generation of researchers. To date, she has published more than 33 journal and book chapters with students as co-authors, and she has included more than student authors on 103 of her scientific conference and invited presentations.

Britt also boasts an impressive track record for securing grant funding, having secured $5.8 million in external grants and contracts from sources such as the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and the Sandia National Laboratories.

“Quite simply, Anne Britt is the personification of a presidential research professor,” said Greg Waas, NIU Chair of Psychology. “She is an internationally renowned scholar on the forefront of her field who is highly influential and productive both in the scholarship she produces and the external funding support she receives for her work.”