Barbara Tversky studied cognitive psychology at the University of Michigan. She held positions first at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and then at Stanford, from 1978-2005 when she took early retirement. She is an active Emerita Professor of Psychology at Stanford and Professor of Psychology at Columbia Teachers College. She is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the Cognitive Science Society, the Society for Experimental Psychology, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Science. She has been on the Governing Boards of the Psychonomic Society, the Cognitive Science Society, the International Union of Psychological Science, and the Association for Psychological Science. She has served on the editorial boards of many journals and the organizing committees of dozens of international interdisciplinary meetings.
Her research has spanned memory, categorization, language, spatial cognition, event perception and cognition, diagrammatic reasoning, sketching, creativity, design, and gesture. The overall goals have been to uncover how people think about the spaces they inhabit and the actions they perform and see and then how people use the world, including their own actions and creations, to remember, to think, to create, to communicate. A forthcoming book, Mind in Motion: How Action Shapes Thought, will overview that work. She has collaborated widely, with linguists, philosophers, neuroscientists, computer scientists, chemists, biologists, architects, designers, and artists.