Thomas S. Wallsten

Brief Research Statement

As a cognitive psychologist with a penchant for formal models and a primary research interest in behavioral decision theory, I seek to develop useful, well-grounded cognitive theory and methods of data analysis regarding judgment and choice processes.

One line of work uses stochastic models to guide experiments aimed at understanding the cognitive processes underlying epistemic and aleatory uncertainty. This research focuses on memory-search and judgment formation, on the one hand, and the mapping of covert judgment to overt response, on the other, given the two sources of uncertainty.

A related line of work considers more directly how people translate their covert judgment into communications for the purpose of decision-making. This is an earlier line to which I have now returned with a new NSF grant. With the aid of formal models and considering both numerical and non-numerical verbal phrases, we are investigating task and context influences on how people understand expressions and select them for communication to others. This research has both applied and basic aims, with a goal of developing a communication system that optimizes the efficiency (defined economically) of decisions made by one person given the judgments of two or more others.

I recently completed a series of papers that combines our stochastic model with considerations of information-overlap among judges to predict properties of aggregated multiple judgments. A new line of research contrasts judgment under epistemic uncertainty to that under aleatory uncertainty.

Ten Selected Journal Articles

(in decreasing chronological order)