Center Calendar

Hybrid Event - Paul Robinson and Marta Mielicki (Rutgers University, Center for Cognitive Science)

Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 01:00pm - 03:00pm

Hybrid - Registration Required

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In-Person Location: PSYCH Room 105, Busch Campus


Paul Robinson - 1PM - 1:50 PMPaul profile pic

Dr. Paul is a Post-Doctoral Associate at RuCCS. His research focus is on cognition, rationality, and human origins. He has published on the nature of inference and his current work investigates cognitive biases and the evolution of human reasoning. The goal of his research is to advance an interdisciplinary understanding of human nature that can be usefully applied in real world settings such as conflict resolution and deliberative democracy initiatives.


The Evolution of Reason

Abstract: Over the past two decades a growing number of cognitive scientists have argued that human reason evolved as a social competence due to the threat of deception, to help individuals persuade others and justify themselves. I propose that examination of the role of reason in small-scale hunter-gatherer societies suggests an alternative model according to which reason evolved for the social transmission of knowledge through the medium of stories, to help individuals solve problems in the natural environment. I discuss ways in which this model better explains empirical results in the psychology of reasoning and decision-making.

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Marta Mielicki - 2PM - 2:50 PM


Dr. Marta received her B.S. in Mathematics Education from Boston University in and her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. As a former high school math teacher, she is interested in the cognitive processes that underlie mathematical learning and problem solving, and passionate about leveraging cognitive principles to improve math learning outcomes. She tackles research questions such as: Which visual displays improve mathematical reasoning and performance? How do learners know whether they have understood a math concept? How can we combat mathematical misconceptions and negative math attitudes? How does linguistic experience influence mathematical problem solving? She is currently a postdoctoral teaching professor at RuCCS.


Impacts of Presentation Format on Mathematical Problem Solving

Abstract: Mathematical problems can be presented in different formats, such as with graphs, equations, figures, tables, etc. The way problems are presented can change how people think about the problems, which can impact performance. In this talk, I will discuss three studies I conducted with participants of different ages that explore how presentation format impacts mathematical problem-solving performance by either activating different knowledge or eliciting different solution strategies. This line of work speaks to how mathematical knowledge is retrieved and represented, and has important implications for education and for other applied domains where people use math, like health decision making.