Paul exemplifies the values of the ST&D community. In his thirty-year career, Paul has made major theoretical, empirical, and computational contributions to text and discourse research, psychology, and education that have reshaped all of these fields. Paul’s distinguished scientific contributions concern the cognitive and neurological foundations of reading comprehension. In his investigations he utilizes a number of methodologies, including behavioral experiments, computational modeling, and neuroimaging techniques. This methodological richness demonstrates how Paul has been systematically investigating a core set of scientific issues over three decades, and at each step of the way applying emerging methodologies to reach conclusions that were previously inaccessible.
Over the course of his career, Paul has consistently produced theories and research that have become foundational in text comprehension research. Paul’s early contributions started with his work under the supervision of his doctoral advisor, Tom Trabasso, on the Causal Network Model. This model is arguably one of the most influential theoretical frameworks in our field and served as an important foundation for his substantial contributions in the formal modeling of coherence building realized in the Landscape Model. He also introduced the construct, Standards of Coherence, which was instrumental in bridging the gap between several prominent theoretical perspectives of our field.
Paul’s contributions extend far beyond his scientific achievements. He has been a mentor to the next generation of leaders in our research community. He has been a friend to many of us and that fellowship is one of the pillars of our community. It is why we come back year after year. Paul has been instrumental in shaping a viable, thriving society of interdisciplinary scholars. And for that we all owe him a debt of gratitude.