Patrick Cushen

Humans are amazing for their ability to adapt to complex situations. What is it about our mental toolbox that, despite its limitations, allows us to tackle both familiar and unfamiliar tasks on a daily basis?

 In my research, I am interested in understanding how we effectively engage in problem solving, reasoning, and decision making. I am particularly interested in how we solve difficult problems in situations where the problem is either poorly understood or wholly misunderstood. These are situations which are often thought to require “creative” thinking.

I have investigated how performance in these situations is impacted by differences in attention and memory. I have also studied how various types of prior experience can impact problem solving. Recently, I have been investigating whether cognitive abilities or styles can be trained to improve performance on complex tasks.

I welcome the opportunity to work with undergraduate and graduate students alike with interests in psychology and cognition. I hope to help any students that are interested to foster and pursue their ideas.

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