Computational Models of Cognition: Dr Chris Donkin

What is this research about?

Theories are critical in the study of Psychology. However, theories are useful to the extent that they make predictions for new experiments, and so can be shown to be wrong. When a theory makes an incorrect prediction, then that theory can be fixed, or supplanted by a new theory.

Most theories in Psychology are only expressed verbally, which makes it difficult to know what they predict. We build and test theories of cognition using computational models. We use mathematics to characterize the central ideas that make up a theory. Once formalized, theories make quantitative, testable predictions for upcoming experiments, and so can be shown to be wrong.

Other researchers involved:

Professor Ben Newell
Associate Professor Daniel Navarro
Associate Professor Mike Le Pelley
Arthur Kary

Publications relating to this research:

Nosofsky, R. M., & Donkin, C. (2016). Response-time evidence for mixed memory states in a sequential-presentation change-detection task. Cognitive Psychology, 84, 31-62.

Donkin, C., Little, D., & Houpt, J. (2014). Assessing the speed-accuracy trade-off effect on the capacity of information processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40, 1183-1202.

Donkin, C. & Nosofsky, R. M. (2012). A power-law model of psychology memory strength in short- and long-term recognition. Psychological Science, 23, 625-634.

Donkin, C., Averell, L., Brown, S., & Heathcote, A. (2009). Getting more from accuracy and response time data: Methods for fitting the Linear Ballistic Accumulator. Behaviour Research Methods, 41, 1095-1110.

Brown, S., Marley, A. A. J., Donkin, C., & Heathcote, A. (2008). An integrated architecture for absolute identification, Psychological Review, 115, 396-425.

Grants awarded:

2017-2019 ARC Discovery Project. “Towards a process model of visual working memory”. Cis: C. Donkin, M. Le Pelley.

2016-2018 ARC Discovery Project. “Unifying decisions from experience and description”. Cis: B. R. Newell, C. Donkin.

2013-2015 ARC Discovery Project. “A new approach to understanding decision making”  CI: C. Donkin, S. D. Brown, PI: G. Logan.

2013-2015 ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award. “A model based approach to investigating short-term memory: Exploiting response time distributions.”  CI: C. Donkin.


To find out more about this research, please contact Dr Chris Donkin.