We investigate the cognitive roots of people's beliefs in order to understand the biases that prevent them from changing their minds. We approach these issues by conducting behavioral studies with children and adults, developing computational models of reasoning, surveying experts, and using data science techniques to analyze data from social media sites. 



Intuitive THeories

To begin to grapple with the complexity of the world, children rely on cognitive shortcuts to explain and understand the world around them. These shortcuts enable children to build rich intuitive theories that allow them to rapidly make sense of everyday physical and social phenomena. In one line of our work, we examine how children reconcile their intuitive theories with new information they learn in school.  

Related Papers:

Bekele, E., Lawson, W. E., Horne, Z. & Khemlani, S. (2018). Implementing a Robust Explanatory Bias in a Person Re-identification Network. IEEE CCVPRW.

Horne, Z. & Cimpian, A. (In Prep). The influence of an inherence heuristic on scientific explanation.

Horne, Z. & Khemlani, S. (2018). Conceptual constraints on generating explanations. Proceedings of  40th Annual Cognitive Science Society

Belief Change

In the domains of medicine and morality, people are often deeply entrenched in their beliefs and resistant to any new information. For example, people's beliefs about the danger of vaccines or the reality of climate change are often resistant to contrary evidence. These applied ethical problems motivate our research on belief revision: We examine the biases that prevent people from changing their minds. We aim to develop educational interventions to overcome these psychological obstacles.

Related Papers:

Horne, Z., Powell, D., Hummel, J. E., & Holyoak, K. J. (2015). Countering Anti-Vaccination Attitudes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Horne, Z., Powell, D. & Hummel, J. (2015).  A single counterexample leads to moral belief revision. Cognitive Science.

Priniski, H. J., & Horne, Z. (2018). Attitude Change on Reddit's Change My ViewProceedings of  40th Annual Cognitive Science Society

Solanki, P. & Horne, Z. (In prep). Quantifying motivated reasoning using a simple judgment task.