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About

Australian National University

Lecturer & Researcher

2018 - Present

University of Southern California

Postdoc & Research Associate

2015 - 2017

University of California, Irvine

Fulbright Scholar & Research Scholar

2012 - 2015

Victoria University of Wellington

PhD

2015 Conferral

My research and training are in memory and cognition. I examine the ways that memory and belief can go awry, and how various cognitive biases influence the way we evaluate information around us. 

I study the ways that memory and belief go awry: How do we come to believe that things are true—even when they are not? How can we remember things that never actually happened? To what extent can we correct myths and false beliefs, or even protect ourselves from succumbing to them in the first place?

 

These are the questions I try to answer, by understanding the cognitive mechanisms that lead people to adopt—and hold on to—widely-disseminated myths and personal false beliefs and memories.  

 

When people assess truth, memory, credibility and trust, they are unwittingly  influenced by tangential evidence and fleeting experiences of familiarity or cognitive fluency. 

One kind of tangential evidence is what my colleagues and I call truthiness (coined by Stephen Colbert), which is "truth that comes from the gut and not books." 

 

In our research, we define truthiness as the process by which ordinary, intelligent people are swayed by tangentially related, pseudoevidence that leads them to believe that a claim is true.

Beyond understanding the mechanisms that cause memory and belief to go awry, I also address the applied issues that fall out of these metacognitive processes —  how we evaluate science and how we evaluate evidence, in the courtroom and in our day-to-day experiences, as students, teachers, and as we are going about our lives.