Robert Nosofsky

Robert Nosofsky

Chancellor's Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Distinguished Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences


  • Ph.D., Harvard University, 1984

Research interests

My research is organized around the development and testing of formal mathematical and computer-simulation models of category learning and representation. The main competing models that drive the research include exemplar-storage and retrieval models as well as abstract rule-based models. Tests of the models have involved studying detailed relations between categorization performance and other fundamental cognitive processes, including identification, old-new recognition, similarity judgment, and the development of automaticity.

Professional Experience

  • President, Society for Mathematical Psychology, 1997
  • Editor, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2007-2010
  • Elected to Governing Board of the Psychonomic Society, 2006-2010
  • Secretary-Treasurer (Society Head), Society of Experimental Psychologists, 2012-2020


  • APA Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution, 1993
  • Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences, 1995
  • Howard Crosby Warren Medal, Society of Experimental Psychologists, 2012
  • Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2015

Representative publications

Using deep-learning representations of complex natural stimuli as input to psychological models of classification (2018)
Sanders, C. A., & Nosofsky, R. M.
Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society,

Tests of an exemplar-memory model of classification learning in a high-dimensional natural-science category domain (2018)
Nosofsky, R. M., Sanders, C. A., & McDaniel, M. A.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147 328-353

On learning natural science categories that violate the family-resemblance principle (2017)
Nosofsky, R.M., Sanders, C., Gerdom, A., Douglas, B., & McDaniel, M.
Psychological Science, 28 104-114

Discrete-slots models of visual working-memory response times (2013)
Christopher Donkin, Robert M. Nosofsky, Jason M. Gold and Richard M. Shiffrin
Psychological Review, 120 (4), 873-902

Activation in the neural network responsible for categorization and recognition reflects parameter changes (2012)
Robert M. Nosofsky, Daniel R. Little and Thomas W. James
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109 (1), 333-338

A power law model of psychological memory strength in short- and long-term recognition (2012)
Christopher Donkin and Robert M. Nosofsky
Psychological Science, 23 (6), 625-634

Short-term memory scanning viewed as exemplar-based categorization (2011)
Robert M. Nosofsky, Daniel R. Little, Christopher Donkin and Mario Fific
Psychological Review, 118 (2), 280-315

Logical-rule models of classification response times: A synthesis of mental-architecture, random-walk, and decision-bound approaches (2010)
Mario Fific, Daniel R. Little and Robert M. Nosofsky
Psychological Review, 117 (2), 309-348

A High-Distortion Enhancement Effect in the Prototype-Learning Paradigm: Dramatic Effects of Category Learning During Test (2007)
Safa R. Zaki and Robert M. Nosofsky
Memory & Cognition, 35 (8), 2088-2096

A Response-Time Approach to Comparing Generalized Rational and Take-the-Best Models of Decision Making (2007)
F. Bryan Bergert and Robert M. Nosofsky
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33 (1), 107-129

A Hybrid-Similarity Exemplar Model for Predicting Distinctiveness Effects in Perceptual Old-New Recognition (2003)
Robert M. Nosofsky and Safa R. Zaki
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 29 (6), 1194-1209

Dissociations Between Categorization and Recognition in Amnesic and Normal Individuals: An Exemplar-Based Interpretation (1998)
Robert M. Nosofsky and Safa R. Zaki
Psychological Science, 9 (4), 247-255

An Exemplar-Based Random Walk Model of Speeded Classification (1997)
Robert M. Nosofsky and Thomas J. Palmeri
Psychological Review, 104 (2), 266-300

Rule-Plus-Exception Model of Classification Learning (1994)
Robert M. Nosofsky, Thomas J. Palmeri and Stephen C. McKinley
Psychological Review, 101 (1), 53-79

Similarity Scaling and Cognitive Process Models (1992)
Robert M. Nosofsky
Annual Review of Psychology, 43 25-53

Dissertation Committee Service

Author Dissertation Title Committee
Bergert, Franklin Bryan Using Response Time to Distinguish Between Lexicographic and Linear Models of Decision Making (January 2008) Nosofsky, R. (Chair), Kruschke, J., Todd, P., Townsend, J.
Clopper, C. G. Linguistic Experience and the Perceptual Classification of Dialect Variation (August 2004) Jong, K. J. (Co-Chair), Pisoni, D. B. (Co-Chair), Auger, J., Dissen, D. A., Nosofsky, R. M.
Criss, A.H. The Representation of Single Items and Associations in Episodic memory (July 2004) Shiffrin, R. M. (Co-Chair), Nosofsky, R. M., Estes, W. K., Steinmetz, J. E. (Co-Chair)
Erickson, M. A. Rules and Exemplar Representation in Category Learning (June 1999) Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair), Gasser, M., Port, R. F., Nosofsky, R. N.
Hotaling, Jared Decision field theory-planning: A cognitive model of planning and dynamic (November 2013) Busemeyer, J. (Chair), Shiffrin, R., Todd, P., Nosofsky, R.
Nobel, P. A. Response Times in Recognition and Recall (April 1996) Shiffrin, R. (Chair), Kruschke, J. K., Nosofsky, R. M., Port, R. F.
Sanborn, Adam Uncovering Mental Representations with Markov Chain Monte Carl (September 2007) R. Shiffrin (Chair), R. Nosofsky, J. Gold, M. Jones
Stanton, Roger Dissociations of Classification: Evidence against the Multiple Learning-Systems Hypothesis (August 2007) Nosofsky, R. (Chair), Goldstone, R., James, T., Kruschke, J.
Treat, T. A. Role of Cognitive Processing of Body-Size and Affect Stimulus Information in Bulimia (October 2000) McFall, R. M. (Chair), Viken, R. J., Nosofsky, R. M., Kruschke, J. K., Mackay, D. B.
Vigo, Ronaldo Mathematical Principles of Boolean Concept Learning (May 2008) Allen, C. (Co-Chair), Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Nosofsky, R., Townsend, J.