John D. Coley


John D. Coley

Associate Professor
125 Nightingale
(617) 373-3548 (office)
(617) 373-8714 (fax)

Curriculum vitae (pdf)
Categorization and Reasoning Lab Web site


In my lab, we study a host of interrelated questions about the structure of knowledge, reasoning, and conceptual development. How do we organize what we know? How do we use what we know to make guesses about what we don’t know? How do people decide what kind of knowledge is relevant in a particular situation? How does the acquisition of expertise influence how people organize and use knowledge? How do knowledge and reasoning change as children develop? How does growing up in different environments lead to different ways of thinking and reasoning about the world?

We take an experimental approach to answering these questions by systematically examining overt reasoning behavior in children and adults, as well as the processing that underlies such reasoning. By looking at how people think about rich real-world knowledge domains like plants and animals, food, and people, we strive to characterize the breadth, depth, and flexibility of human cognition.

Frequently Taught Courses

  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Development
  • Cognition Laboratory
  • Seminar in Cognition
Last modified on May 22, 2014 @ 3:59 pm