Reasoning, Decision Making, & Argumentation
Our research focuses on understanding the cognitive processes underlying higher level reasoning that support learning -- research that cuts across almost all thematic areas in the Center. We study reasoning, decision-making, and argumentation in classrooms, laboratories, work sites, and other environments and use the findings to inform research on the cognitive mechanisms underlying these processes.
One area of research involves analyzing texts of court decisions involving social issues such as racism, gender equality, immigration, public health, crime, and education. We study how applying machine learning to these decisions may reveal bias or other problems in legal decision-making. We seek to understand how engaging law students in summarizing cases and annotating them for machine learning may teach analytic skills and benefit cognitive processing. We also study how politically motivated reasoning affects causal judgments.
We study how teachers' questions and rejoinders impact students' argumentation skills. We are interested in causal reasoning in everyday life, for example how people test whether a medicine is working or not, try new diets, or assess the efficacy of other lifestyle changes they make. This research focuses on the role of memory, especially long-term memory, for learning causal relations.