Charles (Charlie) M. Butter, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Michigan, passed away February 2, 2023 at the age of eighty-nine.
Professor Butter received his A.B. degree from Harvard University in 1955 and his Ph.D. degree from Duke University in 1959. Following a three-year appointment as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health (1959-62), he came to the University of Michigan as an assistant professor of psychology in 1962. He was promoted to associate professor in 1965 and professor in 1968. He has held research fellowships at Harvard University (1969-70); Oxford University (1976-77); Erasmus University (the Netherlands; 1983-84); and the University of Florida (1986). Professor Butter retired in 1999.
Professor Butter was a leading scholar in the field of brain mechanisms of attention. His studies illuminated the nature of deficits of visual attention that are caused by various types of lesions of the neocortex or subcortical brain structures. A major focus of his work involved the perception of spatial relations and of visual objects in space and the processing of space in relation to self, in order to clarify the neural controls that direct attention. His research over the decades has also touched on other topics in behavioral neuroscience and physiological psychology, ranging from associative learning to the brain mechanisms of motivation and emotion. Professor Butter authored over 65 research articles in peer-reviewed publications, a number of book chapters, and a book. Professor Butter was active in the American Psychological Association and was a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Within the University, he served on numerous committees and on the civil rights board of SACUA. Professor Butter mentored several generations of Ph.D. students in biopsychology and taught undergraduate courses in human neuropsychology and physiological psychology.
Professor Butter is survived by his wife of 66 years, Irene Hasenberg Butter; his daughter Ella Butter and his son Noah Butter and Noah's wife Melissa Rosenberg; his granddaughters Amelie Navon and her husband Guy Navon, Shireen Nassar and her husband Alaa Khateeb, and grandson Jonah Butter; and his great-grandchildren Adam and Maya Navon and Amir Khateeb.
Contributions in his honor can be made to Post-Polio Health International, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, or a charity of one's choice.
Professor Butter's obituary can be found here.
You can view Professor Butter's Retirement Memoir here.