Social Psychology Network

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Barbara Spellman

Barbara Spellman

My research interests have always centered on a question I first asked myself when I was about 12 years old: Why is it that humans, who have the capacity to reason so well, often reason so poorly? Good reasoning depends on many things including: (1) acquiring useful information, (2) accessing the information, (3) adapting what you know to novel situations, and (4) understanding the causes of events. Thus, my research spans topics in both thinking and memory and in both cognitive and social psychology. Recently, I have also become interested in applying this research to issues in the legal system and in decision making generally.

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Person Perception
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Journal Articles:

Other Publications:

  • Spellman, B. A., Kincannon, A., & Stose, S. (2005). The relation between counterfactual and causal reasoning. Invited chapter to appear in D. R. Mandel, D. J. Hilton, & P. Catellani (Eds.), The psychology of counterfactual thinking. London: Routledge Research.
  • Robinson, P. H., & Spellman, B. A. (2005). Sentencing decisions: Matching the decisionmaker to the decision nature. Columbia Law Review, 105(4), 1124-1161.

Courses Taught:

  • Advanced Experimental Methods
  • Causal and Counterfactual Reasoning
  • Cognition
  • Psychology and Law: Cognitive and Social Issues
  • Psychology of Information and Persuasion
  • Research Methods and Data Analysis
  • Thinking About Thinking
  • Thinking and Reasoning

Barbara Spellman
Department of Psychology
University of Virginia
102 Gilmer Hall, P.O. Box 400400
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4400
United States

  • Phone: (434) 982-5591
  • Fax: (434) 982-4766

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