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Kevin Dunbar

Kevin Dunbar

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Kevin Dunbar is professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough and a member of the University of Toronto Program in Neuroscience. He conducts research on the ways that people think in complex situations. The hallmark of his approach to understanding human thought is to use multiple converging techniques including neuroimaging (fMRI and fNIRS), genetic analyses (DNA Genotyping and DNA Microarrays), traditional experiments (verbal protocol analysis, reaction time, and answers to questions probing peoples concepts, videotaping and audiotaping naturalistic situations. Using these techniques he is probing the underpinnings of scientific discovery, analogical reasoning, creativity, and causal reasoning.

Primary Interests:

  • Communication, Language
  • Culture and Ethnicity
  • Evolution and Genetics
  • Gender Psychology
  • Group Processes
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Neuroscience, Psychophysiology
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Political Psychology
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

Journal Articles:

  • Blanchette, I., & Dunbar, K. (2002). Representational change and analogy: How analogical inferences alter target representations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 28, 672-685.
  • Blanchette, I., & Dunbar, K. (2001). Analogy use in naturalistic settings: The influence of audience, emotion and goals. Memory and Cognition, 29, 730-735.
  • Cohen, J. D., Dunbar, K., & McClelland, J. (1990). On the control of automatic processes: A parallel distributed processing account of the Stroop effect. Psychological Review, 97, 332-361.
  • Dunbar, K., & Blanchette, I. (2001). The invivo/invitro approach to cognition: the case of analogy. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 5, 334-339.
  • Dunbar, K., & MacLeod C. M. (1984). A horse race of a different color: Stroop interference patterns with transformed words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 10, 622-639.
  • Fugelsang, J., & Dunbar, K. (2005). Brain-based mechanisms underlying complex causal thinking. Neuropsychologia. 43, 1204-1213.
  • Fugelsang, J., & Dunbar, K., & (2004). A cognitive neuroscience framework for understanding causal reasoning and the law. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society of London (Series B), 359, 1749-1754.
  • Fugelsang, J., Roser, M., Corballis, P., Gazzaniga, M., & Dunbar, K. (2005). Brain mechanisms underlying perceptual causality. Cognitive Brain Research, 24, 41-47.
  • Green, A., Fugelsang, J., Shamosh, N., Kraemer, D., & Dunbar, K. N. (2006). Frontopolar cortex mediates abstract integration in analogy.

Other Publications:

  • Dunbar, K. (2001). The analogical paradox: Why analogy is so easy in naturalistic settings, yet so difficult in the psychology laboratory. In D. Gentner, K. J. Holyoak, & B. Kokinov (Eds.), Analogy: Perspectives from Cognitive Science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Dunbar, K. (1999). Science. In M. Runco & S. Pritzker (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Creativity (Vol. 1, pp. 1379-1384). New York: Academic Press.
  • Dunbar, K. (1995). How scientists really reason: Scientific reasoning in real-world laboratories. In R. J. Sternberg, & J. Davidson (Eds.), Mechanisms of insight (pp 365-395). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Dunbar, K., & Fugelsang, J. (2005). Causal thinking in science: How scientists and students interpret the unexpected. In M. E. Gorman, R. D. Tweney, D. Gooding, & A. Kincannon (Eds.), Scientific and Technical Thinking (pp. 57-79). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Dunbar, K., & Fugelsang, J. (2005). Scientific thinking and reasoning. In K. J. Holyoak & R. Morrison (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning (pp. 705-726). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Dunbar, K., Fugelsang, J., & Stein, C. (in press). Do naïve theories ever go away? In M. Lovett, & P. Shah (Eds.), Thinking with Data: 33rd Carnegie Symposium on Cognition. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Courses Taught:

  • Educational Psychology
  • Science Education and the Scientific Mind
  • Thinking, Reasoning and Concepts

Kevin Dunbar
Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology
University of Maryland
College Park
Maryland, Maryland 20742
United States

  • Phone: (301) 405-7233
  • Fax: (416) 287-7642

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