Understanding human conceptual knowledge is one of the central problems in cognitive science. I focus on a number of key questions. How is knowledge organised in the mind? How do the assumptions people make about how data is generated, especially the social assumptions about the motivations of the providers, drive their conceptual knowledge and what they do with it? What kind of inductive inferences are licensed by our conceptual knowledge, and what are not? What must be “built in” in order to explain human category learning?

Current projects involve understanding how people learn complex categories, what kind of conceptual inferences people make based on different types of statistical sampling, and how concepts (especially social concepts) change and why. I also study concepts and meaning by looking how words are connected in our mental dictionary. Besides this, previous work (to which I may return) focuses on the role of labels in concept learning and learning categories with different kinds of structure.

Andrew Perfors
Associate Professor

I seek to understand how people reason and think, both on their own and in groups.