Richard E. Nisbett

Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor


Richard E. Nisbett is the Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor; Co-Director of the University of Michigan's Culture and Cognition Program; and Research Professor at the Research Center for Group Dynamics of U-M's Institute for Social Research. He studies reasoning and basic cognitive processes, especially induction, statistical reasoning, causal attribution, cost-benefit analysis, and logical vs. dialectical approaches to problem solving. He has shown that formal rules for these processes can be taught in such a way that they can be applied to a huge range of everyday problems and choices. He has studied the differences between East Asian and Western reasoning styles, showing that each type of reasoning style is more effective than its counterpart for solving particular problems. He has also studied the degree to which people are aware of their cognitive processes, finding that much of ordinary thought and problem solving appears outside the range of consciousness. He has done research on the "culture of honor" in the U.S. South and West.