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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 8, 2008 | Vol. 38 No. 2
Obituary: Stewart Hulse, Psychological and Brain Sciences Former Chair, Dies at 77

Stewart Hulse in an undated photograph.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Hulse

By Lisa De Nike

Stewart Hulse, professor emeritus in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and former chairman of that department, died on Aug. 31 of pneumonia at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. He was 77.

An experimental psychologist trained in the field of animal learning, Hulse is considered one of the founders of the field of animal cognition, which recognizes that animals not only respond to overt stimuli but also are capable of internal mental processes.

A 1953 graduate of Williams College, Hulse earned his doctorate at Brown University in 1957. He came to Johns Hopkins the same year and spent his entire professional working life on the Homewood campus, serving as chair of the department from 1987 to 1990. He became professor emeritus in 1999.

During Hulse's tenure at Johns Hopkins, his interest in acoustic perception in birds and humans grew, and he offered a popular graduate-level course called the Psychology of Sound and Music that led him to make many close connections with faculty at the Peabody Institute.

Hulse was a fellow of numerous organizations, including the Society of Experimental Psychologists, American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Psychological Association. He was a charter fellow of the American Psychological Society and served as chair of the Psychonomic Society. He also was a member of many other professional organizations in the fields of animal behavior, psychology, music, cognition and neuroscience.

In 1985, Hulse was awarded the National Institute of Mental Health's Senior NRSA Fellowship, and in 2002, he received the first Comparative Cognition Society Research Award. He was editor in chief of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes and authored many books, including The Comparative Psychology of Audition: Perceiving Complex Sounds, which was published in 1989.

An avid golfer and accomplished pianist, Hulse also reportedly was a talented writer whose family members encouraged him to write "the great American novel."

He is survived by his wife, the former Nancy Huppertz, whom he married in 1954; three children, Stephen V. Hulse, Jennifer Hulse Mitchell and Melissa C. Hulse; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Bunting-Meyerhoff Interfaith and Community Service Center. A reception will follow at the Johns Hopkins Club.

The family requests that memorial donations be sent to Hulse 1953 Fund, Williams College, Alumni Relations Department, 75 Park St., Williamstown, MA 01267.


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