Gilles Einstein

Professor Emeritus of Psychology

swipe to see more

Gil Einstein was born in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and moved to the United States when he was four years old. He was a French citizen until 2004, when he became an American citizen. He was raised in God's country (New Jersey). In the middle of his graduate training at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Dr. Einstein took a year's leave of absence and pursued the life of a ski bum in Crested Butte, Colorado. A season of working as a ski-lift operator convinced him to return to graduate school and finish his degree.  He taught at Furman from 1977 until his retirement in 2019.

Gil and his wife Patty, who also graduated from the University of Colorado and is a retired realtor, have two wonderful daughters and sons-in-law (Julie and Scott Trost and Alex and Connor Donohue) and two beautiful grandchildren with twins on the way. Gil and Patty love sports, especially surfing, skiing, soccer, and basketball--and they adore visiting their grandchildren.

Gil’s undergraduate years included the life-altering experience of conducting undergraduate research. This ignited a passion for using the scientific method to solve problems of the mind.  One reason that he loved teaching at Furman is because of its deep, authentic, and long-standing commitment to undergraduate research.  He loved involving students in research, and many of his students coauthored publications and presented their research at conferences.

Gil has more than 100 publications, including six books. His research is published in psychology’s top journals and has a high citation rate. His research has been funded by major granting agencies, including the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Institutes of Health (including four RO1 awards). He also has served on the Editorial Boards of several major journals, including Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition; Memory & Cognition; and Psychology and Aging.

Gil is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. He received Furman University’s Meritorious Teaching Award in 1985 and the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Association Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006.  In 2008, he was honored by being named the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Psychology at Furman University.  In 2010, he was designated a Fellow by the Council on Undergraduate Research, and at which time he was one of only 14 Fellows from all science disciplines in the country. Gil received the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Distinguished Mentors Award in 2010. In 2013, he received the Governor's Award for Excellence in Science at a Predominantly Undergraduate Institution.  In 2014, he received the Association of Psychological Science Mentor Award, which is a lifetime achievement award that "recognizes psychology researchers and educators who have shaped the future directions of science by fostering the careers of students and colleagues."​​ In 2018, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award (with his long-time collaborator, Mark McDaniel) from the International Conference on Prospective Memory.


Ph.D., University of Colorado
M.A., University of Colorado
B.A., Lafayette College


Einstein’s research focuses on fundamental questions related to human memory and in particular on prospective memory, which is memory for actions to be performed in the future such as remembering to give a message to a friend or remembering to take medication. Interestingly, very little research has examined this kind of future oriented memory. Einstein believes that we use multiple processes for prospective memory retrieval with some being relatively automatic and others more consciously controlled. The major goals of his current research are to understand (1) what processes we use to remember to perform actions in the future, (2) how these processes can break down in important real-world situations (e.g., an air traffic controller forgetting to reroute an airplane), (3) how these processes are affected by normal aging, and (4) how to improve prospective memory in real-world settings (e.g., how to improve medication adherence).

Materials for testing effects demo:
Laboratory 2 MC SunSea Otter Quiz
Laboratory 2 Optimum Strat handout


  • Anderson, F. T., McDaniel, M. A., & Einstein, G. O. (in press).  Remembering to remember:  An examination of the cognitive processes underlying prospective memory.  In J. H. Byrne (Ed.) Learning and memory: A comprehensive reference 2nd Ed.  Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
  • Einstein, G. O., McDaniel, M. A., & Anderson,m F. T. (in press).  Multiple processes in prospective3 memory retrieval:  Exploring the nature of spontaneous retrieval.  In G. Oettingen, A. T. Sevincer, P. M Gowitzer, (Eds).  The Psychology of thinking about the future.  New York: Guilford.
  • Anderson, F. T., & Einstein, G. O. (2016.  The fate of completed intentions.  Memory.
  • Insel, K. C., Einstein, G. O., Morrow, D. G., Koerner, K. M., & Hepworth, J. (2016).  Multifaceted prospective memory intervention to improve medication adherence. Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 64, 561-568.
  • McDaniel, M. A., Umanath, S., Einstein, G. O., & Waldum, E. R. (2015).  Dual pathways to prospective remembering.  Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 9.
  • Scullin, M. K., Mullet, H., Einstein, G. O., & McDaniel, M. A. (2015).  Prospective memory.  International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences.  Elsevier. Vol. 2. 270-278.
  • May, C. P., Manning, M., Einstein, G. O., Becker, L., & Owens, M. (2015). The best of both worlds:  Emotional cues improve prospective memory execution and reduce repetition errors.  Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 22 (3), 357-375. doi:10.1093/geront/gns079
  • McHenry, J. C., Insel, K. C., Einstein, G. o., Vidrine, A. N., Koener, K. M., & Morrow, D. G. (2015).  Recruitment of older adults:  Success may be in the details.  The Gerontologist, 55 (5), 845-853.  doi:10:.1093/geront/gns079
  • Einstein, G. O., & McDaniel, M. A.  (2014).  Prospective memory and aging:  When it becomes difficult and what you can do about it.  In T. Perfect and S. Lindsay (Eds.) Handbook of Applied Memory.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Scullin, M. K., Mullet, H., Einstein, G. O., & McDaniel, M. A. (2014). Prospective memory. International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier. Vol. 2.
  • Harrison, T. L., Mullet, H. G., Whiffen, K. N., Ousterhout, H., & Einstein, G. O.  (2014).  Prospective memory:  Effects of divided attention on spontaneous retrieval.  Memory & Cognition, 42, 212-224.
  • Mullet, H. G., Scullin, M. K., Hess, T. J., Scullin, R. B., Arnold, K. M., & Einstein, G. O. (2013).  Prospective memory and aging:  Evidence for preserved spontaneous retrieval with exact but not related cues.  Psychology and Aging, 28, 910-922.
  • May, C. P., Einstein, G. O., Diehl, N., & Freedman, S.  (2013).  Memory:  A five-unit lesson plan for high school psychology teachers.  American Psychological Association.
  • McHenry, J., Insel, K., Einstein, G., Vidrine, A., Koerner, K., & Morrow, D.  (2013).  Recruitment of older adults:  Success may be in the details.  The Gerontologist.
  • Bugg, J. M., McDaniel, M. A., & Einstein, G. O. (2013). Event-based prospective remembering: An integration of prospective memory and cognitive control theories. In D. Reisberg (Ed.) , The Oxford handbook of cognitive psychology (pp. 267-282). New York, NY US: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195376746.013.0018
  • Insel, K. C., Einstein, G. O., Morrow, D. G., & Hepworth, J. T. (2013).    A multifaceted prospective memory intervention to improve medication adherence: Design of a randomized control trial.  Contemporary Clinical Trials, 34, 45-52.
  • May, C., Owens, M., & Einstein, G. O. (2012). The impact of emotion on prospective memory and monitoring: No pain, big gain. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 19 (6), 1165-1171. doi:10.3758/s13423-012-0301-3
  • Rummel, J., Einstein, G. O., & Rampey, H. (2012). Implementation-intention encoding in a prospective memory task enhances spontaneous retrieval of intentions. Memory, 20(8), 803-817. doi:10.1080/09658211.2012.707214
  • Beran, M. J., Evans, T. A., Klein, E. D., & Einstein, G. O. (2012).  Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) and capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) remember future responses in a computerized task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 38, 233-243.
  • Einstein, G. O., Mullet., H. G., & Harrison, T. L. (2012).  The testing effect:  Illustrating a fundamental concept and changing study strategies.  Teaching of Psychology, 39, 190-193.
  • Einstein, G. O., & McDaniel, M. A.  (2012).  Mental fitness.  In J. M. Rippe, J. Foreyt, and M. A. Waite, (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine and Health.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Einstein, G. O., McDaniel, M. A., & Scullin, M. (2012).   Prospective memory and aging:  Understanding the variability.  In N. Ohta and M. Naveh-Benjamin (Eds.) Memory and Aging (pp.  153-179) New York: Psychology Press.