Lawrence Ward

Degrees / Credentials

A.B., Harvard, Ph.D., Duke


Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, UBC


Full Member

Lawrence M. Ward (b. Dec 11, 1944 in Canton, Ohio, USA) received his AB degree from Harvard University (MA, USA) in 1966 and his PhD degree in Experimental Psychology (minor in Mathematics, Phi Beta Kappa) from Duke University (NC, USA) in 1971. He began his career at Rutgers University (NJ, USA) as an Assistant Professor. In 1974 he moved to the University of British Columbia (Canada) as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1977 and then to Full Professor in 1988, his current position.

Dr. Ward was elected a Fellow of Division 3 of the American Psychological Association in 1988, a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science in 1990, and a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association in 2010. He was also a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (2005) and Professeur Êtranger Invité of the College de France (2010). Dr. Ward occupied several executive functions in the International Society for Psychophysics, including its presidency in 2005-2006. He is a an Academic (Action) Editor for PLOS ONE.

Dr. Ward studies behavioural, electrophysiological, and neuromagnetic indices of human perception and cognition. His lab investigates a wide variety of visual, auditory and higher cognitive processes using event related potentials, neural phase synchronization measures, psychophysical scaling, computer modeling, and the localization of electrical and magnetic activity underlying mental activity. Specifically, he addresses the issues of (i) the cognitive neuroscience of attention and consciousness with special emphasis on EEG and MEG studies of neuronal synchronization, (ii) biophysics and psychophysics of stochastic resonance, (iii) fundamental psychophysics, particularly psychophysical scaling, measurement theory, and signal detection theory, and (iv) nonlinear dynamical systems theory and its applications in cognitive neuroscience.

Dr. Ward has published many research articles and book chapters. He has also authored several books, most notably Sensation and Perception(2004, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley), which is in its 6th edition (with S. Coren and J.T. Enns), Dynamical Cognitive Science (2002, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), Orienting of Attention (2008, New York: Oxford University Press, with R. Wright), and Stochastic Neuron Models (2016, New York, Springer, with P. Greenwood).

Contact Info

Lab Phone
Mailing Address
2136 West Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4


  • consciousness
  • attention
  • noise in the brain
  • information transfer in the brain
  • SDE models of neural activity