Introductory Page
Matthew Botvinick
Tim Buschman
Jonathan Cohen
Alin Coman
Ronald Comer
Justin Junge
Joel Cooper
Lauren Emberson
Susan Fiske
Asif Ghazanfar
Joan Girgus
Adele Goldberg
Elizabeth Gould
Michael Graziano
Uri Hasson
Johannes Haushofer
Barry Jacobs
Sabine Kastner
Casey Lew-Williams
Yael Niv
Kenneth Norman
Daniel Osherson
Elizabeth Levy Paluck
Jonathan Pillow
Deborah Prentice
Emily Pronin
Eldar Shafir
Nicole Shelton
Stacey Sinclair
Susan Sugarman
Diana Tamir
Jordan Taylor
Alexander Todorov
Nicholas Turk-Browne
Ilana Witten

 Stuart Professor of Psychology
 Ph.D., University College London, 1967
Why Does Reason Sometimes Fail?

Green Hall
Psychology Department
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08540

Mental Models Lab
Research Summary 
My colleagues and I investigate thinking and reasoning, which we study using computational modeling and psychological experiments. In our theory, reasoning depends on the construction of mental models of possibilities. Inferences that call for only a single model of a possibility are easier than those that call for models of multiple possibilities. Models tend to represent only what is true, and, as a consequence, even the best reasoners succumb to systematic fallacies when falsity is at stake. Our recent studies have applied this theory to reverse engineering, to the detection and explanation of inconsistencies, to the acquisition of concepts, and to causal reasoning. Other recent research derives from a theory of emotions developed in collaboration with Keith Oatley. With psychiatric colleagues, Francesco Mancini and Amelia Gangemi, I have proposed a theory of psychological illnesses, such as phobias and depression: their cause is hyper emotional reactions rather than faulty thinking.