Michael Corballis was born in the farming district of Marton, New Zealand, in 1936. After completing master’s degrees in mathematics and psychology, he completed a Ph.D. in psychology at McGill University and joined the faculty there for some years before returning to the University of Auckland in 1977. He is now an emeritus professor and a ‟Creativity Fellow.”
His interests have grown from experimental psychology and psychological statistics to cognitive neuroscience, language, and evolution. He continues to do research and write, with an interest in broad questions, such as the nature and evolution of language, why our brains are lopsided, and what it is to be human.
He was awarded an honorary LL.D. by the University of Waterloo in Canada in 1998, and was appointed Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZOM) in 2002. He is a past-president of the International Neuropsychological Society, and hold fellowships in AAAS, the American Psychological Association, the Society of Psychological Scientists, and the Royal Society of New Zealand. In 2016, he was awarded the Rutherford Medal for foundational research on the nature and evolution of the human mind, including cerebral asymmetries, handedness, mental imagery, language, and mental time travel.
He is married to Barbara; his son Paul is also a cognitive neuroscientist at Auckland, and his other son Tim has written several novels. He likes to do hard cryptic crosswords. Useful tip: a number often refers to an anaesthetic, not a numerical quantity.