University of California, BerkeleyResearch focus: Learning and reasoning
Tania Lombrozo is a cognitive psychologist who studies learning and reasoning using the empirical tools of cognitive psychology and the conceptual tools of analytic philosophy. Her current research explores questions such as:
When and why are children and adults motivated to explain the world around them?
What kinds of explanations do they tend to find satisfying, and why?
Does the very process of seeking explanations affect learning or decision making?
Her work has revealed that people tend to favor explanations that are simple and broad, even when they arguably shouldn’t. She and her students have also found that engaging in explanation can facilitate learning in some cases, encouraging learners to persevere and go beyond the obvious. However, explaining can also hinder learning by encouraging learners to seek explanations that are intuitively satisfying even when there are none to be found. Alongside these questions about explanation, Dr. Lombrozo’s laboratory also investigates moral reasoning, social cognition, and how people reason about knowledge and decision making. These lines of work have the potential to inform educational practice and improve the public’s understanding of science.
Dr. Lombrozo received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University in 2006. She is the recipient of numerous early-career awards, including a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and a Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions from the American Psychological Association. She is currently a professor at the University of California, Berkeley; she will join Princeton University in Fall 2018. She blogs about psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science for NPR’s 13.7: Cosmos & Culture (read her latest blog post here). Visit Dr. Lombrozo’s Concepts and Cognition Lab.
Reach out to Dr. Lombrozo on Twitter to say THANK YOU for the psychological research that she does! And be sure to use the hashtag #thankascientist.