Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

I study the cognitive science of markets: how the minds of individuals give rise to emergent economic order. I focus on tools that consumers, investors, and voters use to process information. These tools help us to overcome our inherent cognitive limits but also lead us to make mistakes in our everyday lives.

For example, in the domain of marketing, I have looked at consumers’ lay theories of economics, particularly their zero-sum intuitions about transactions, examining marketing messages that can highlight the benefits of foreign trade. In the domain of finance, I have examined how investors – both amateur and professional – use story-telling to predict future prices. In the policy domain, I have studied moral beliefs about economic exchange, with an eye toward how we can use this knowledge to help increase the supply of transplant organs.

In addition, I carry out basic research in cognitive science, focusing on heuristics and strategies that people intuitively use to evaluate hypotheses. I find that these same principles guide very different psychological processes, including causal reasoning, categorisation, and visual perception; that they are used by young children; and that they feed into complex social processes, such as mentalising, stereotyping, and moral judgment. For this research, I was honoured to receive the 2017 Robert Glushko Dissertation Prize from the Cognitive Science Society.

To learn more about my research, please visit my website.

Willing to supervise doctoral students

I am interested in supervising students on a broad range of topics within the broad areas of behavioural economics, consumer psychology, and cognitive and behavioural science. More details are available on my website.

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Research Output

Crowdsourcing hypothesis tests: Making transparent how design choices shape research results

Landy, J., Crowdsourcing Collaboration Group, Johnson, S. G. B. & Hahn, A., 10 May 2020, In : Psychological Bulletin. 146, 5, p. 451-479

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)
  • Belief digitization: Do we treat uncertainty as probabilities or as bits?

    Johnson, S. G. B., Merchant, T. & Keil, F. C., 14 Oct 2019, (Acceptance date) In : Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 108 Downloads (Pure)

    Intuitions about mathematical beauty: A case study in the aesthetic experience of ideas

    Johnson, S. G. B. & Steinerberger, S., 1 Aug 2019, In : Cognition. 189, p. 242-259 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    4 Citations (Scopus)
    12 Downloads (Pure)

    Moral reputation and the psychology of giving: Praise judgments track personal sacrifice rather than social good

    Johnson, S. G. B., 27 Jul 2019, Proceedings of the 41st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Curran Associates, Inc., (Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution