grpennycook@gmail.com / gordon.pennycook@uregina.ca

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Background and Education

I am an Assistant Professor of Behavioural Science at University of Regina’s Hill/Levene Schools of Business. I am also an Associate Member of the Department of Psychology. I am a member of the editorial board for Thinking & Reasoning and a consulting editor for Judgment and Decision Making. I was elected to be a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists in 2020.

I completed my Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in 2009 under the supervision of Dr. Valerie Thompson at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada). In 2010, I moved to the University of Waterloo (also Canada) to work with Dr. Jonathan Fugelsang and Dr. Derek Koehler, receiving a Master of Arts degree in 2011 and a PhD in 2016. I then completed a two-year Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University (Department of Psychology) with Dr. David Rand and taught at the Yale School of Management with Dr. Shane Frederick.

I grew up in Carrot River, a lovely but remote* town of ~1,000 in Saskatchewan, Canada. [*Closest Walmart is ~2 hours away]

Research Interests

My research focus is on reasoning and decision-making, broadly defined. I investigate the distinction between intuitive processes (“gut feelings”) and more deliberative (“analytic”) reasoning processes and am principally interested in the causes (a) and consequences (b) of analytic thinking. That is, what makes us think and why is it (thinking) important?

I have fairly broad interests, although most are organized under these two broad research programs. I’ve published on religious belief, sleep paralysis, morality, creativity, smartphone use, health beliefs (e.g., homeopathy), language use among climate change deniers, pseudo-profound bullshit, delusional ideation, fake news (and disinformation more broadly), political ideology, and science beliefs (in roughly that order). I am also interested in the methodological and theoretical issues that pertain to the measurement of cognitive reflection and motivated reasoning. My research sits at the intersection of cognitive and social psychology and most recently I have gotten interested in the use of social media data for social science (both correlational and experimental). I’ve also done some work on misinformation and misperceptions relating to COVID-19. For an overview of recent work on misinformation and motivated reasoning, click here. See published work for a full list of publications and working papers.

For a synthesis of behavioural science research on fake news (with a social and cognitive psych focus), see here.

Below is a short explanation of some of our fake news research:

Note for Potential Students

I am looking for graduate students for the upcoming academic year! Potential graduate students have two options:

1) Students can complete a Masters of Science in Organizational Studies degree through the Levene Graduate School of Business. (If you would like to do a PhD, you can first do your MSc and then enroll in the PhD program in the Department of Psychology.)

2) Students can complete a Masters of Arts degree in Psychology through the Department of Psychology at the University of Regina. (Same deal as above: If you would like to do a PhD, you can first do your MA and then enroll in the PhD program in the Department of Psychology.)

Which option should you take? I guess it depends on what you want to do: Those with a more applied or business-related focus should probably do the MSc, those with a social or cognitive psych focus should probably do the MA.

Preference will be given to applicants who wish to do their Master’s degree and PhD at the UofR (and, therefore, those who do not already have a Master’s degree). Please feel free to send me an email if you’re interested! The deadline to apply through the Psychology Department is January 15th. Further information about applications can be found on the UofR website (this is also where one applies): Business, Psychology.

Please send inquiries about grad school or postdoc applications to pennycook.behscilab@gmail.com.

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