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PROFILE — John Anderson
Click to Enlarge Photo . . . Professor
Area: Cognitive Psychology & Cognitive Neuroscience

Contact information:
Psychology office: 345D Baker Hall
Psychology phone: 412-268-2788
Fax: 412-268-2844

Lab link:

Research Interests:

The goal of my research is to understand the structure of higher-level cognition with a particular focus on mathematical problem solving. This has led us to focus on what are called "unified theories of cognition." A unified theory is a cognitive architecture that can perform in detail a full range of cognitive tasks. Our theory is called ACT-R and takes the form of a computer simulation which is capable of performing and learning from the same tasks that subjects in our laboratories work at. ?We develop cognitive models for various tasks of interest constrained by the overall architecture

Our current work has focused on analyzing brain imaging data to test cognitive models and to guide their development. In particular, we have been interested in parsing the time course of brain imaging data to get information about what is happening "under the hood" as people perform a complex task. This information is being used to help design instruction that will enable students extend their knowledge beyond the procedures that are taught.

Google Scholar Profile (Click to View a Complete Publications List)


*A Complete list of publications can be found here.

Walsh, M. M. & Anderson, J. R. (2009). The strategic nature of changing your mind. Cognitive Psychology, 58, 416-440.

Anderson, J. R., Anderson, J. F., Ferris, J. L., Fincham, J. M., & Jung, K-J. (2009). Lateral inferior prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex are engaged at different stages in the solution of insight problems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 106, 10799-10804.

Brunstein, A., Betts, S., & Anderson, J. R. (2009). Practice enables successful learning under minimal guidance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 790-802.

Taatgen, N. A. & Anderson, J. R. (2009). The Past, Present, and Future of Cognitive Architectures. topiCS in Cognitive Science.

Anderson, J. R. (2010). Cognitive Psychology and Its Implications: Seventh Edition. New York: Worth Publishing.

Rosenberg-Lee, M., Lovett, M., & Anderson, J. R. (2009) Neural Correlates of Arithmetic Calculation Strategies. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 9, 270-285.

Danker, J. F. & Anderson, J. R. (2010). The ghosts of brain states past: Remembering reactivates the brain regions engaged during encoding. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 87-102.

Stocco, A., Lebiere, C., & Anderson, J. R. (2010). Conditional routing of information to the neocortex: A network model of basal ganglia function. Psychological Review, 117, 540-574.

Anderson, J. R., Betts, S., Ferris, J. L., Fincham, J. M. (2010). Neural Imaging to Track Mental States while Using an Intelligent Tutoring System. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 107, 7018-7023.

Anderson, J. R. (2007). How Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe? New York: Oxford University Press.

Stocco, A., Lebiere, C., & Anderson, J. R. (2010). Conditional routing of information to the neocortex: A network model of basal ganglia function. Psychological Review, 117, 540-574.

Anderson, J. R., Betts, S., Ferris, J. L., Fincham, J. M. (2011) Cognitive and Metacognitive Activity in Mathematical Problem Solving: Prefrontal and Parietal Patterns. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience,11,52-67.

Anderson, J. R., Betts, S. A., Ferris, J. L., & Fincham, J. M., Yang, J. (2011). Using Brain Imaging to Interpret Student Problem solving. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 26 (5), 22-29.

Schneider, D. W., & Anderson, J. R. (2012). Modeling Fan Effects on the Time Course of Associative Recognition. Cognitive Psychology, 62, 193-222.

Anderson, J. R., Fincham, J. M., Yang, J. & Schneider, D. W. (2012). Using Brain Imaging to Track Problem Solving in a Complex State Space. NeuroImage, 60, 633-643.

Associates and Assistants to Dr. Anderson:

Shawn Betts Research Programmer
Jelmer Borst: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Daniel Bothell: Senior Research Programmer
Jennifer Ferris: Research Associate
Jon Fincham: Research Psychologist
Hee Seung Lee: Postdoctoral Researcher
Jungaa Moon, Graduate Student
Aryn Pyke: Postdoctoral Researcher
Darryl Schneider: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Caitlin Tennison: Graduate Student

Related Links:

  • Curriculum Vitae (pdf file)
  • ACT-R
  • Individual Webpage