In the Causal Cognition Lab, we ask how people’s prior background knowledge and beliefs influence the judgments they make about new people and situations. Our general approach is to concurrently address basic issues in cognitive science and applied issues in clinical science and practice. From the perspective of cognitive science, our work addresses how causal and explanatory beliefs are mentally represented and organized, and how this representation affects basic cognitive processes such as categorization, memory, judgments, and decision-making. From the perspective of clinical science, we simultaneously examine how people’s prior knowledge, beliefs, and expectations influence the assessment and diagnosis of medical and mental illness, memory for patients’ symptoms and medical information, judgments of psychological abnormality, and decisions about treatment. Our current work examines these issues in students, lay people, patients, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, and primary care physicians.
For more information, or to inquire about participating in an ongoing study or joining the lab, please contact Mason Jenkins. Prospective undergraduate RAs: We are currently recruiting for Summer and Fall 2015.