Earl K. Miller

Prof. Earl K. Miller (July 2023)

Short Biography – Earl K. Miller

Earl K. Miller is the Picower Professor of Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has academic appointments at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT.

Professor Miller earned his B.A. (summa cum laude, with honors) from Kent State University in 1985, and his M.A. (1987) and Ph.D. (1990) from Princeton University. In 2020, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Kent State University.

Professor Miller’s work has been pivotal in understanding the neural basis of cognition. He has made significant discoveries in areas such as working memory, attention, categorization, and top-down ‘executive’ control. He developed a key theory in cognitive neuroscience, emphasizing the role of the prefrontal cortex in rule learning and goal maintenance. Professor Miller pioneered the study of multifunctional ‘mixed selectivity’ neurons, marking a departure from traditional views. He has provided new insights into the role of neural dynamics in shaping perception, thought, and action. By combining experimental, theoretical, and computational methods, his work offers vital insights for understanding cognition and its disorders in conditions such as autism, schizophrenia, and attention deficit disorder.

Professor Miller has received numerous awards and serves in editorial roles for major neuroscience journals. He also serves on international advisory boards. His 2001 paper with Jonathan Cohen, introducing a novel theory for understanding executive brain functions, is the fifth most-cited paper in the history of neuroscience.


1990 Ph.D. in Psychology and Neuroscience, Princeton University
1987 M.A. in Psychology and Neuroscience, Princeton University
1985  B.A. summa cum laude with honors in Psychology, Kent State University

Current Positions

2003   Picower Professor of Neuroscience, The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2014   Co-founder and Chief Scientist, SplitSage
2023   Co-founder, Neuroblox

Awards and Honors

2020 Doctor of Science (honoris causa), Kent State University
2019 George A. Miller Prize in Cognitive Neuroscience
2018 Excellence in Graduate Teaching, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT
2017 Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2017 Miller and Cohen (2001) identified as the 5th most-cited paper in Neuroscience (Yeung et al., 2017)
2017 Paul and Lilah Newton Brain Science Award
2016 Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience
2016 Commencement Address, Kent State University
2016 Elected to the Memory Disorders Research Society
2015 Professional Achievement Award, Kent State University Alumni Association
2014 Amar G. Bose Research Fellow
2014 Antzoulatos and Miller (2014) selected as one of Neuron’s best papers of 2014-2015
2013 Distinguished Member, National Society of Collegiate Scholars
2010 MERIT Award, National Institute of Mental Health
2008 “An Integrative Theory of Prefrontal Cortex Function” (Miller and Cohen, 2001) designated a Current Classic by Thomson Scientific as among the most cited papers in the field of Neuroscience and Behavior
2007 Mathilde Solowey Award in the Neurosciences
2006 Elected to the International Neuropsychological Symposium
2005 Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
2003 Picower Professorship (endowed chair)
2002 Elected to the International Society for Behavioral Neuroscience
2000 Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award
2000 National Academy of Sciences Troland Research Award
1999 Tenured at MIT two years ahead of schedule
1999 Class of 1956 Career Development Professorship (endowed chair)
1998 John Merck Scholar Award
1996 Pew Scholar Award
1996 McKnight Scholar Award
1996 Whitehall Foundation Fellowship
1996 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow
1987 National Research Service Award Predoctoral Fellowship
1986 National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Training Fellowship
1985 Graduated summa cum laude with honors, Kent State University
1985 Phi Beta Kappa

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Full curriculum vitae (PDF)

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