Robert Goldstone

Robert Goldstone

Distinguished Professor and Chancellor’s Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences


  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1991

Research interests

Most of my current research interests involve the representation and learning of concepts. I conduct psychological experiments on people's acquisition of visually presented concepts, interactions between developing concepts, the influence of concepts on perception, and concept specialization/differentiation. I develop computer simulations (often times, neural network models) to model concept formation and the two-way interaction between our conceptual and perceptual systems.

In other lines of research, I study judgment, decision making, and comparison processes involving similarity and analogy. I am also interested in educational applications of cognitive psychology.


My laboratory consists of four rooms in the Psychology building. There are seven Macintosh computers for running human subjects, and additional computers for graduate student use. Our laboratory has been funded by National Institute of Health and National Science Foundation grants.

Professional Experience

  • Associate Editor for Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 1998-1999
  • Gill Fellow in Cognitive Science, 1997-2002


  • James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Award, 1997-1998
  • Chase Memorial Award from Carnegie Mellon University for Outstanding Young Researcher in Cognitive Science, 1996
  • APA Division of Experimental Psychology 1995 Young Investigator Award in Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
  • APA Division of Experimental Psychology 1995 Young Investigator Award in Experimental Psychology: General
  • Marquis Award for Most Outstanding Dissertation in Psychology, University of Michigan, 1991

Representative publications

Respects for similarity (1993)
Douglas L Medin, Robert L Goldstone and Dedre Gentner
Psychological review, 100 (2), 254

Perceptual learning (1998)
Robert L Goldstone
Annual Reviews. 49 (1), 585-612

The development of features in object concepts (1998)
Philippe G Schyns, Robert L Goldstone and Jean-Pierre Thibaut
Behavioral and brain Sciences, 21 (1), 17-Jan

Influences of categorization on perceptual discrimination (1994)
Robert L Goldstone
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 123 (2), 178

The role of similarity in categorization: Providing a groundwork (1994)
Robert L Goldstone
Cognition, 52 (2), 125-157

Reuniting perception and conception (1998)
Robert L Goldstone and Lawrence W Barsalou
Cognition, 65 (2-3), 231-262

Relational similarity and the nonindependence of features in similarity judgments (1991)
Robert L Goldstone, Douglas L Medin and Dedre Gentner
Cognitive psychology, 23 (2), 222-262

The transfer of scientific principles using concrete and idealized simulations (2005)
Robert L Goldstone and Ji Y Son
The Journal of the learning sciences, 14 (1), 69-110

Similarity, interactive activation, and mapping (1994)
Robert L Goldstone
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 20 (1), 3

Similarity (2005)
Robert L Goldstone and Ji Yun Son

Computational models of collective behavior (2005)
Robert L Goldstone and Marco A Janssen
Elsevier Current Trends. 9 (9), 424-430

Altering object representations through category learning (2001)
Robert L Goldstone, Yvonne Lippa and Richard M Shiffrin
Cognition, 78 (1), 27-43

The transfer of abstract principles governing complex adaptive systems (2003)
Robert L Goldstone and Yasuaki Sakamoto
Cognitive psychology, 46 (4), 414-466

The simultaneous evolution of author and paper networks (2004)
Katy Börner, Jeegar T Maru and Robert L Goldstone
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101 (suppl 1), 5266-5273

Transformational play as a curricular scaffold: Using videogames to support science education (2009)
Sasha A Barab, Brianna Scott, Sinem Siyahhan, Robert Goldstone, Adam Ingram-Goble, Steven J Zuiker ...
Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18 (4), 305

Dissertation Committee Service

Author Dissertation Title Committee
Alexander, Will A Real-Time Model of Attention (September 2006) Sporns, O. (Chair), Goldstone, R., Kruschke, J., Yaeger, L.
Chalmers, David Toward a Theory of Consciousness (May 1993) Hofstadter, D. (Co-Chair), Dunn, J. (Co-Chair), van Gelder, T., Goldstone, R.
Desai, R. Modeling Interaction of Syntax and Semantics in Language Acquisition (December 2002) Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Port, R., Smith, L.
Dimperio, Eric A Dynamic Model of Planning Behaviors in Multi-Stage Risky Decision Tasks (August 2009) Busemeyer, J., Goldstone, R., Kruschke, J., Scheutz, M.
Foundalis, Harry E. Phaeaco: A Cognitive Architecture Inspired by Bongard’s Problems (May 2006) Hofstadter, D. (Chair), Gasser, M., Goldstone, R., Leake, D.
Frey, Seth Complex Collective Dynamics in Human Higher-Level Reasoning. A Study Over Multiple Methods (August 2013) Goldstone, R. (Chair), Todd, P., Beer, R., Busemeyer, J.
Gokcesu, Bahriye S. Metaphor Processing and Polysemy (December 2007) Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Gershkoff-Stowe L., Jones, M.
Hanania, Rima Selective Attention and Attention Shifting in Preschool Children (August 2009) Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Gershkoff-Stowe, L. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Jones, S.
Hockema, S. A. Perception as Prediction (April 2004) Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Port, R., Hummel, J.
Honey, Christopher Fluctuations & Flows in Large-Scale Brain Networks (April 2009) Townsend, J,. Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Beggs, J., Sporns, O. (Co-Chair)
Kachergis, George Earle Mechanisms for Cross-Situational Learning of Word-Referent Mappings: Empirical and Modeling Evidence (December 2012) Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair), Yu, C. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Jones, M., Kruschke, J.
Loehrlein, Aaron Priming Effects Associated with the Hierarchical Levels Of Classification Systems (March 2012) Jacob, E. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Ekbia, H., Ding, Y.
Mahabal, Abhijit Seqsee: A Concept-Centered Architecture for Sequence Perception (March 2010) Hofstadter, D. (Chair), Gasser, M., Goldstone, R., Leake, D.
Mason, Winter Implicit Social Influence (August 2007) Smith, E. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Tormala, Z., Sporns, O.
McGraw, G. E. Jr. Letter Spirit (Part One): Emergent High-Level Perception of Letters Using Fluid Concepts (September 1995) Hofstadter, D. R. (Chair), Gasser, M. Goldstone, R., Port, R. F., Rawlins, G. J. E.
Nelson, Angela Examining the Co-Evolution of Knowledge and Event Memory (August 2009) Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Busey, T., James, K.
Paik, Jae H Fraction Concepts: A Complex System of Mappings (May 2005) Mix, K. (Co-Chair), Gasser, M., Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Smith, L.
Place, Skyler Non-Independent Mate Choice in Humans: Deciphering And Utilizing Information in a Social Environment (July 2010) Todd, P. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Smith, E., Wasserman, S., West, M.
Recchia, Gabriel Investigating the Semantics of Abstract Concepts: Evidence From a Property Generation Game (December 2012) Jones, M. (Chair), Goldstone, R., Kubler, S., Todd, P.
Rehling, J. A. Letter Spirit (Part Two): Modeling Creativity in A Visual Domain (July 2001) Hofstadter, D. R. (Chair), Gasser, M., Goldstone, R., Port, R. F.
Roberts, Michael Human Collective Behavior: Complex systems properties of self-organizations, coordination, and emergent. (July 2008) Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Ostrom, E. (Co-Chair), Smith, E., Todd, P.
Ross, Travis Steering Social Behavior in Online Video Games: A Calibration and Test of The Rational Reconstruction of Norms in a Multiplayer Dungeon Crawl (November 2013) Castronova, E. (Chair), Lang, A., Goldstone, R., Weaver, A.
Shayan, Shakila Emergence of Roles in English Canonical Transitive Construction (June 2008) Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Gershkoff-Stowe, L. (Co-Chair), Leake, D., Goldstone, R., Smith, L.
Son, Ji Y. Forces of Contextualization and Decontextualization: A Look at Symbols, Experience, and Language (August 2007) Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Smith, L (Co-Chair), Gasser, M., Yu, C.
Stanton, Roger Dissociations of Classification: Evidence against the Multiple Learning-Systems Hypothesis (August 2007) Nosofsky, R. (Chair), Goldstone, R., James, T., Kruschke, J.
Tamara, Carolina Route Learning And Its Interaction With Visual Landmarks (May 2013) Timberlake, W. (chair), Crystal, J., Goldstone, R., Todd, P.
Theiner, G From Extended Minds to Group Minds: Rethinking The Boundaries of the Mental Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), O'Connor, T. (Co-Chair)
Theiner, Georg From Extened Minds to Group Minds: Rethinking The Boundaries Of The Mental (July 2008) O’Connor, T. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Schmitt, R., Weinberg, J.
Thomas, Wisdom Incentives, Innovation, and Imitation: Social Learning in a Networked Group (August 2010) Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Ostrom, E. (Co-Chair), Collins, K., Gold, J., Smith, E.
Vigo, Ronaldo Mathematical Principles of Boolean Concept Learning (May 2008) Allen, C. (Co-Chair), Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Nosofsky, R., Townsend, J.
Weidemann, Christophe Identifying brief stimuli: Perceptual, preferential, and decisional aspects (August 2006) Shiffrin, R. (Chair), Gold, J., Goldstone, R., Todd, P.