My research aims to address basic questions about learning, reasoning, and decision-making using the empirical tools of experimental psychology and the conceptual tools of analytic philosophy. Accordingly, much of my work is informed by philosophy of science, epistemology, and moral philosophy alongside cognitive, social, and developmental psychology. To illustrate, one strand of research in my laboratory has focused on the human drive to explain. Why are we so compelled to explain some aspects of our social and physical environment, but not others? How does the process of seeking explanations affect learning, and how does the quality of an explanation affect our judgments and decisions? Do these features of explanation help us achieve particular epistemic goals? Or do they sometimes lead us astray, leading to errors in our reasoning and decision-making? Other projects target different topics — including our intuitive beliefs about causation, moral responsibility, and the nature of knowledge — but involve a similar interplay between descriptive questions about human thought and behavior and normative and conceptual issues that arise within philosophy and psychological theory.
Arthur W. Mark ’19 Professor of Psychology. Director, Program in Cognitive Science
219 Peretsman Scully Hall