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Craig McKenzie


Dr. McKenzie's area of interest is judgment and decision making, with an emphasis on inference and uncertainty: How do people search for and use evidence (including their own knowledge) in order to assess how likely something is true? Are people's feelings of certainty warranted by the available evidence? Understanding what determines degree of belief is important and interesting in its own right, but it also has direct implications for decision making under uncertainty, a topic that encompasses a wide variety of human behavior.

Most of his recent research examines how people exploit environmental (or task) structure when making inferences and choices. Many researchers interpret behavior without considering the context in which it usually occurs, which can make reasonable behavior appear irrational. Understanding the environmental conditions under which people typically operate, together with normative principles that make sense given these conditions, can help explain why people behave as they do.

  • McKenzie, C. R. M., & Liersch, M. J. (2011). Misunderstanding savings growth: Implications for retirement savings behavior. Journal of Marketing Research, 48, S1-S13.
  • Nelson, J. D., McKenzie, C. R. M., Cottrell, G. W., & Sejnowski, T. J. (2010). Experience matters: Information acquisition optimizes probability gain. Psychological Science, 21, 960-969.
  • McKenzie, C. R. M., & Mikkelsen, L. A. (2007). A Bayesian view of covariation assessment. Cognitive Psychology, 54, 33-61.
  • Sher, S., & McKenzie, C. R. M. (2006). Information leakage from logically equivalent frames. Cognition, 101, 467-494.
  • McKenzie, C. R. M., Liersch, M. J., & Finkelstein, S. R. (2006). Recommendations implicit in policy defaults. Psychological Science, 17, 414-420.

Updated Oct 2012