Benjamin Rottman

Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology

Research Scientist, Learning Research & Development Center

Research Interests

  • Causal learning, reasoning, and judgment
  • Medical diagnosis and decision-making

Rottman, B. M. (in press). The acquisition and use of causal structure knowledge. In M.R. Waldmann (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Causal Reasoning. Oxford: Oxford U.P.

Rottman, B. M. (in press). Searching for the best cause: Roles of mechanism beliefs, autocorrelation, and exploitation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition.

Rottman, B. (2016). Physician Bayesian updating from personal beliefs about the base rate and likelihood ratio. Memory and Cognition, 1-11.

Rottman, B.M., Prochaska, M.T. & Deaño, R.C. (2016). Bayesian reasoning in residents’ preliminary diagnoses. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 1(5).

Rottman, B. M., Hastie, R. (2016). Do people reason rationally about causally related events? Markov violations, weak inferences, and failures of explaining away. Cognitive Psychology, 87, 88-134.

Soo, K. & Rottman, B.M. (2014) Learning Causal Direction from Transitions with Continuous and Noisy Variables. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Rottman, B.M. (2014) Information Search in an Autocorrelated Causal Learning Environment. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Rottman, B. M., & Hastie, R. (2014). Reasoning about causal relationships: inferences on causal networks. Psychological Bulletin, 140(1), 109-139. 

Rottman, B. M., Kominsky, J. F., & Keil, F. C. (2014). Children use temporal cues to learn causal directionality. Cognitive Science, 38, 489-513.

Edwards, B. J., Rottman, B. M., Shankar, M., Betzler, R., Chituc, V., Rodriguez, R., Santos, L. R. (2014) Do Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus paella) Diagnose Causal Relations in the Absence of a Direct Reward? (E. Flynn, Ed.) PLoS ONE, 9(2).

Rottman, B.M., & Keil, F.C. (2012). Causal Structure Learning over Time: Observations and Interventions. Cognitive Psychology. 64, 93-125. doi:10.1016/j.cogpsych.2011.10.003

Rottman, B. M., Genter, D., & Goldwater, M. B. (2012). Causal systems categories: Differences in novice and expert categorization of causal phenomena. Cognitive Science, 36, 919-932.

Rottman, B.M., & Ahn, W. (2011). Effect of grouping of evidence types on learning about interactions between observed and unobserved causes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 37, 1432-1448. doi:10.1037/a0024829

Rottman, B. M., Kim, N. S. Ahn, W., & Sanislow, C. A.  (2011). Can personality disorder experts recognize DSM-IV personality disorders from Five-Factor Model descriptions of patient cases? The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 72, 630-635.

Rottman, B. M., & Keil, F. C. (2011). What matters in scientific explanations: Effects of elaboration and content. Cognition, 121, 324–337.

Rottman, B. M., Ahn, W., Sanislow, C. A., & Kim, N. S. (2009). Can clinicians recognize DSM-IV personality disorders from Five-Factor model descriptions of patient cases? The American Journal of Psychiatry, 166, 427-433. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2008.08070972

LRDC Research Scientist Benjamin Rottman's research article in clinical diagnosis is mentioned in the Psychonomic Society blog post "#goCRPI: Bayes battling baserate neglect in medical diagnosis."

October 6, 2016


Tim Nokes-Malach, with colleagues, has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for "Build, Understand, & Tune Interventions that Cumulate to Real Impact." This interdisciplinary project includes LRDC researchers Christian Schunn, Benjamin Rottman, Kevin Binning, and Center Associates Chandralekha Singh and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal and other Pitt faculty across the disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics.

August 21, 2015


Ben Rottman received a National Science Foundation grant titled "Developing a Theory of Causal Learning over Time."

August 2014

Ben Rottman received a grant for "Active-Learning of Psychological Research Methods: Authentic Skill Development through Rich Real-World Research Examples and Representations" from the University of Pittsburgh’s recently established dB-SERC (Discipline-Based Science Education Research Center). LRDC Center Associate Chandralekha Singh is the director of the new center.

May 2014

LRDC Research Scientist, Benjamin Rottman, Psychology, has been named a 2016 APS Rising Star. The APS Rising Star designation is presented to outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research careers post-PhD.

February 2017


NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute