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In Memoriam

In Memory of Dr. Ronald A. Finke (1950-2015)

Dr. Ronald A. Finke

With great sadness, the Department of Psychology at Texas State University announces the death of Dr. Ron Finke on November 4, 2015. Ron was an esteemed member of the Bobcat family and was a friendly and well-known face in the San Marcos community. He will be missed by his students, colleagues, and friends.

Ron earned a BS in Physics in 1972 and a BA in Psychology in 1974, both from the University of Texas at Austin. He earned a PhD in Experimental Psychology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979, where his dissertation was entitled “Experimental Investigations of Imagery Reafference.” He completed post-doctoral positions at Cornell University and Stanford University, followed by faculty positions as Assistant Professor at the University of California at Davis, Associate Professor at the State University of New York at Stonybrook, and Associate Professor at Texas A&M University. Following a 10-year hiatus from academia, Ron served as a Senior Lecturer at Texas State University from 2008 until the time of his death.

Ron is best known for his work on mental imagery and creative cognition, which is cited in numerous textbooks. He was interested in the benefits and techniques of chaotic thinking as well as the nature of irrational thinking in modern society. In his later years, Ron assembled a large collection of stories regarding life in San Marcos, Texas.

Ron had a variety of interests throughout his life. He was president of his high school model rocket club and later competed in table tennis at the highest levels, ascending to a ranking of second in the nation. In San Marcos, he became a certified bicycle mechanic, spending many happy hours at Al’s Bike Shop. He was a fan of stand-up comedy, Texas BBQ, and all books written by Tim Dorsey. Ron is survived by his younger sister, Janet and her family.


Selected Publications:


Finke, R. A. (1989). Principles of Mental Imagery. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Finke, R. A. (1990). Creative Imagery: Discoveries and Inventions in Visualization. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Finke, R. A., & Bettle, J. (1996). Chaotic Cognition: Principles and Applications. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Finke, R. A., Ward, T. B., & Smith, S. M. (1992). Creative Cognition: Theory, Research, and Applications. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Smith, S. M., Ward, T. B., & Finke, R. A. (Eds.). (1995). The creative cognition approach. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Ward, T. B., Finke, R. A., & Smith, S. M. (1995). Creativity and the Mind: Discovering the Genius Within. New York: Plenum Press.



Finke, R. A., & Freyd, J. J. (1989). Mental extrapolation and cognitive penetration. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 118, 403-410.

Finke, R. A., Pinker, S., & Farah, M. (1989). Reinterpreting visual patterns in mental imagery. Cognitive Science, 13, 51-78.

Finke, R. A. (1986, March). Mental imagery and the visual system. Scientific American, 254, 88-95.

Finke, R. A. (1985). Theories relating mental imagery to perception. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 236-259.

Finke, R. A., & Kurtzman, H. S. (1981). Mapping the visual field in mental imagery. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 110, 501-517.

Finke, R. A. (1980). Levels of equivalence in imagery and perception. Psychological Review, 87, 113-131.