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(615) 343-6072
213B Hobbs

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Education

B.S. (The University of Iowa, 1981)
Ph.D. (Stanford University, 1986)

Curriculum Vitae

Will not be accepting new graduate students for Fall 2014

Laura R. Novick

Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development
Associate Professor of Psychology, College of Arts and Science

Professor Novick's research is focused on examining the strategies, processes, and representations that college students use to reason and solve problems. On the one hand, she is interested in skilled problem solving, including its relation to less skilled problem solving, so her work often considers individual differences. On the other hand, she is also interested in general principles of, or constraints on, cognition that are related to reasoning and problem solving. She has studied these issues in a variety of content domains, which were chosen because they are good ones for investigating questions of representation, solution strategies, and expertise. Her current research is focused on students' comprehension of biological diagrams (specifically, cladograms) used to represent evolutionary relationships among taxa (i.e., to depict the Tree of Life). Cladograms are the most important tool used by evolutionary biologists because they document and organize existing knowledge about the properties of species and higher-order taxa. By using patterns of most recent common ancestry to systematize the 3.5 billion year history of life on Earth, cladograms (a) enable evidence-based inference and (b) provide a conceptual framework for basic and applied biology. More detailed information about Professor Novick's research may be found on her personal web page.

 

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