grpennycook@gmail.com / gordon.pennycook@yale.edu

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Background and Education

I am a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University. I’m currently working with Dr. David Rand (Department of Psychology). In July 2018, I will be starting as an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour at University of Regina’s Hill/Levene Schools of Business.

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. I received a Master of Arts degree in 2011 and a PhD in 2016 under their supervision.

I grew up in Carrot River, a lovely little town of ~1,000 on the northern edge of civilization in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Research Interests

My research is generally focused on dual-process theories of reasoning and decision-making. I investigate the distinction between intuitive processes (“gut feelings”) and more deliberative (“analytic”) reasoning processes. I am principally interested in the causes (a) and consequences (b) of analytic thinking. What makes us think and why is it (thinking) important? [You may think that thinking is obviously important, but that depends on what one means by “thinking” and “important”… and “obviously”.]

(a) With respect to the question of “what makes us think” (i.e., what is it about our cognitive architecture that allows for higher level cognition), see: Pennycook, G., Fugelsang, J.A., & Koehler, D.J. (2015). What makes us think? A three-stage dual-process model of analytic engagement. Cognitive Psychology, 80, 34-72. link pdf

(b) In terms of the consequences of analytic thinking, see: Pennycook, G., Fugelsang, J.A., & Koehler, D.J. (2015). Everyday consequences of analytic thinking. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 425-43. link pdf

(c) A reasonably comprehensive summary of my current position on dual-process theories (and reasoning in general) can be found in the following to-be-published chapter: “A perspective on the theoretical foundation of dual-process models“.

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, and delusional ideation (in roughly that order). I have most recently become fascinated with fake news and methodological issues that pertain to the measurement of cognitive reflection. See published work for details.

Scientific Citizenship

I try my best to be a good citizen of science. To that end, I have attempted to keep myself accountable by openly analyzing the quality of evidence presented in my published work (see “Self-Analysis“). I have grown to be quite concerned with the present job market for psychologists (and, in particular, cognitive psychologists), and what this means for present and future students (see Analysis of the Canadian Cognitive Psychology Job Market) [although, mea culpa, this was partially fueled by my having to personally deal with the indignities of the job market in 2016/2017]. Finally, I have strong opinions about separating one’s identity from their data. We’re all in this together!