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Timothy Nokes-Malach

Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology

Research Scientist, Learning Research & Development Center

Research Interests

My research examines human learning and problem solving with an aim to understand, predict, and promote knowledge transfer. Specific topics include: 1) identifying the cognitive processes underlying transfer success and failure, 2) exploring the relationship between motivation, cognition, and transfer, and 3) examining social and ecological processes that support or inhibit transfer. An overarching goal is to develop instructional theories to promote learning and transfer in mathematics and science.

Greeno, J. G., & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2016). Some early contributions to the situative perspective on learning and cognition. In M. A. Evans, M J. Packer, and R. K. Sawyer (Eds.), Reflections on the Learning Sciences (pp. 59-75). Cambridge University Press. New York, NY.

Bernacki, M., Nokes-Malach, T., Richey, E. J., & Belenky, D. M. (2016). Science diaries: a brief writing intervention to improve motivation to learn science. Educational Psychology, 36(1), 26-46.

Chan, J., & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2016). Situative creativity: Larger physical spaces facilitate thinking of novel uses for everyday objects. Journal of Problem Solving, 9(1), 29-45.

Richey, J. E., & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2015). Comparing four instructional techniques for promoting robust knowledge. Educational Psychology Review.

Bernacki, M. L., Nokes-Malach, T. J., & Aleven, V. (2015). Examining self-efficacy during learning: variability and relations to behavior, performance, and learning. Metacognition and Learning.

Nokes-Malach, T. J., & Richey, J. E. (2015). Knowledge transfer: New approaches to a controversial phenomenon. In R. Scott and S. Kosslyn (Eds.), Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Zepeda, C. D., Richey, J. E., Ronevich, P., & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2015). Direct instruction of metacognition benefits adolescent science learning, transfer, and motivation: An in vivo study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(4), 954-970.

Richey, J. E., Zepeda, C. D., Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2015). Transfer effects of prompted and self-reported analogical comparison and self-explanation. In D. Noelle and R. Dale (Eds.) Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of Cognitive Science Society, 1287-1292.

Nokes-Malach, T. J., Richey, J. E., & Gadgil, S. (2015). When is it better to learn together? Insights from research on collaborative learning. Educational Psychology Review, 27, 645-656.

Fancsali, S. E., Bernacki, M. L., Nokes-Malach, T. J., Yudelson, M., & Ritter, S. (2014). Goal orientation, self-efficacy, and "online measures" in intelligent tutoring systems. COGSCI 2014: The Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.

Richey, J. E., Nokes-Malach, T. J., & Wallace, A. (2014). Achievement goals, observed behaviors, and performance: Testing a mediation model in a college classroom. COGSCI 2014: The Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.

Richey, J. E., Bernack, M. L., Belenky, D. M., & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2014). Relating a tasked-based, behavioral measure of achievement goals to self-reported goals and performance in the classroom. Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Bernacki, M. L., Aleven, V., & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2014). Stability and change in adolescents' task-specific achievement goals and implications for learning mathematics with intelligent tutors. Computers in Human Behavior, (37), 73-80.

Alfieri, L., Nokes-Malach, T. J., & Schunn, C. D. (2013). Learning Through Case Comparisons: A Meta-Analytic Review. Educational Psychologist, 48 (2), 87-113.

Belenky, D. M., & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2013). Knowledge Transfer and Mastery-Approach Goals: Effects of Structure and Framing. Learning and Individual Differences, 25, 21-34. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2013.02.004

Bernacki, M. L., Nokes-Malach, T. J., & Aleven, V. (2013). Fine-Grained Assessment of Motivation Over Long Periods of Learning with an Intelligent Tutoring System: Methodology, Advantages, and Preliminary Results. In R. Azevedo & V. Aleven (Eds.), International Handbook of Metacognition and Learning Technologies (pp. 629-644). NY: Springer.

Nokes-Malach, T. J., & Mestre, J. (2013). Toward a model of transfer as sense-making. Educational Psychologist , 48(3), 184-207.

Nokes-Malach, T. J., VanLehn, K., Belenky, D., Lichtenstein, M., & Cox, G. (2013). Coordinating principles and examples through analogy and self-explanation. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 28(4), 1237-1263.

Li, M., Frieze, I. H., Nokes-Malach, T. J., & Cheong, J. (2013). Do Friends Help your Study? Mediating Processes Between Social Relations and Academic Motivation. Social Psychology of Education, 16 (1), 129-149. doi: 10.1007/s11218-012-9203-5

Gadgil, S., & Nokes, T. J. (2012). Collaborative facilitation through error-detection: A classroom experiment. Applied Cognitive Psychology. 26(3), 410-420.

Gadgil, S., Nokes, T. J., & Chi, M. T. H. (2012). Effectiveness of holistic mental model confrontation in driving conceptual change. Learning and Instruction, 22 (1), 47-61.

Nokes-Malach, T. J., Meade, M. L., & Morrow, D. G. (2012). The effect of expertise on collaborative problem solving. Thinking & Reasoning, 18 (1), 32-58.

Nokes, T. J., Hausmann, R. G. M., VanLehn, K., & Gershman, S. (2011). Testing the instructional fit hypothesis: The case of self-explanation prompts. Instructional Science, 39 (5), 645-666.

Nokes, T. J., & Belenky, D. M. (2011). Incorporating motivation into a theoretical framework for knowledge transfer. Cognition and Education: The Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Advances in Research and Theory. Volume 55. (109-135). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Jang, J., Schunn, C. D., & Nokes, T. J. (2011). Spatially distributed instructions improve learning outcomes and efficiency. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(1), 60-72.

LRDC Research Scientist and Associate Professor, Psychology, Tim Nokes-Malach is a collaborator on a new grant: Understanding Human Cognition - Collaborative Award from the James S. McDonnell Foundation for “Implementing Science of Learning Principles within Educational Practice.” The collaborators are: University of Iowa (Shana Carpenter, PI), University of Texas Austin (Andrew Butler, PI); Purdue University (Jeffrey Karpicke, PI); Boston College (David Miele, PI); and Texas Christian University (Sarah Uma Tauber, PI).

December 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


LRDC's Tim Nokes-Malach's Publication "The Effect of Expertise on Collaborative Problem Solving" was Featured by the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology; This Same Work was also Covered by Futurity.

May 14, 2012


Beckman Fellowship, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Cognitive Science Travel Funding Award


National Science Foundation

Abraham Lincoln Fellowship Award

1999-2000, 2001-2004

University of Illinois at Chicago

Research Travel Funding Award


University of Illinois at Chicago

ACT-R Summer School Travel Funding Award


Carnegie Mellon University

Provost Award for Graduate Research


University of Illinois at Chicago

Cognitive Science Travel Funding Award


National Science Foundation

Diversity Fellowship Award


University of Illinois at Chicago