Cognitive Brown Bag | Rob Nosofsky PhD

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 12:00pm to 1:15pm


Tobin 521B

Rob Nosofsky PhD, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University, will present a talk titled Teaching Natural-Science Categories with Guidance from a Psychological Model of Classification

Abstract: A ubiquitous component of science education is learning the fundamental categories of the target domain.  Yet there has been little systematic work on developing optimal strategies for the teaching of real-world scientific categories.  In this talk, I propose that formal psychological models of human category learning can be used to help guide the search for such teaching strategies.  I start by providing a brief review of a formal exemplar-similarity model of human categorization and illustrate its application in a highly controlled laboratory experiment.  Then, using predictions from the formal model as a guide, I describe recent and ongoing investigations of category learning in a much more complex natural-science domain: rock identification and classification in the geological sciences.  As I will illustrate, learning these real-world categories poses a variety of significant challenges, and applying the exemplar model has some real potential for helping to improve the teaching of these challenging classifications.

For more information on Dr Nosofsky, visit

All are welcome!

Research Area: 

Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience