April 11, 1915—June 27, 2004
BY J. RICHARD JENNINGS AND MICHAEL G. H. COLES
FOR APPROXIMATELY 30 YEARS John I. Lacey defined the field of psychophysiology. His pioneering work relating physiological measures in humans to their psychological function subsequently influenced the fields of behavioral medicine and neuroscience. He died on June 27, 2004, at age 89. His wife and coworker, Beatrice C. Lacey, had died earlier, on November 9, 2000. They retired from academic roles and their collaborative research in the early 1980s. Both worked for over 30 years at Fels Research Institute in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and continued to live there prior to retiring to Rancho Mirage, California.
We first encountered John Lacey when he was in the middle of his career. At that time John and Bea’s research was becoming a dominant force in psychophysiology, and we were both drawn to them because of their enthusiasm and because of the novelty of their ideas. In their early careers the Laceys adopted the contemporary view, embodied in general arousal theory, that the reticular activating system was the neural substrate of a central arousal system. Central arousal, as a regulator of both neural and psychological function, was then viewed as a key concept for both psychology and neuroscience. However, empirical data