Peter M. Todd

Peter M. Todd

Director, Cognitive Science

Professor, Cognitive Science

Professor, Informatics and Computing, School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering

Provost Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences


  • Ph.D., Psychology, Stanford University, 1992
  • M.A., Psychology, UC San Diego, 1987
  • M.Phil, Computer Speech and Language Processing, Cambridge University, 1986
  • B.A., Mathematics, Oberlin College, 1985

Research interests

  • Simple heuristics for decision making, and how they capitalize on the structure of information in environments
  • Evolution of behavior (experimental approaches to evolutionary psychology and computer simulations of simple organisms adapting to different environmental structures, both physical and social)
  • Emergence of environment structure through interactions of populations of agents following simple behavioral rules
  • How people and other animals search for resources in time and space, from sequential search for mates or jobs to foraging for prey or parking spaces
  • Artificial life approaches to music
  • Making decisions about food and eating, and cognition of consumption

Representative publications

Allen, C., Todd, P. M. & Weinberg, J. (2012). Reasoning and rationality. In R. Samuels, E. Margolis & S. Stich (Eds.) Oxford Handbook in Philosophy and Cognitive Science. 41-59. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Scheibehenne, B., Greifeneder, R. & Todd, P. M. (2011). Reply to Chernev, Böckenholt, and Goodman (2010), Choice overload: Is there anything to it? .Retrieved from: on November 15, 2013.

Lenton, A. P., Fasolo, B. & Todd, P. M. (2010). Who is in your shopping cart? Expected and experienced effects of choice abundance in the online dating context. In N. Kock (Ed.) Evolutionary psychology and information systems research: A new approach to studying the effects of modern technologies on human behavior. 149-167. New York: Springer.

Mata, J., Todd, P. M. & Lippke, S. (2010). When weight management lasts: Lower perceived rule complexity increases adherence. Appetite, 54(1), 37-43.

Place, S. S., Todd, P. M., Penke, L. & Asendorpf, J. B. (2010). Humans show mate copying after observing real mate choices. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31(5), 320-325.

Scheibehenne, B., Greifeneder, R. & Todd, P. M. (2010). Can there ever be too many options? A meta-analytic review of choice overload. Journal of Consumer Research, 37(3), 409-425.

Scheibehenne, B., Todd, P. M. & Wansink, B. (2010). Dining in the dark: The importance of visual cues for food consumption and satiety. Appetite, 55(3), 710-713.

Wilke, A. & Todd, P. M. (2010). Past and present environments: The evolution of decision making. Psicothema, 22(1), 4-8.

Dissertation Committee Service

Student names with an asterisk indicate a cognitive science standalone student.

Johns, Brendan:Language in Memory: Modeling the Influence of Linguistic Structure on Processing (August 2012), Jones, M. (Chair), Todd, P., Shiffrin, R., Yu, C.

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.

Hullinger, Richard: An Evolutionary Analysis of Selective Attention (August 2011), Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Sporns, O., Todd, P. (Co-Chair), Yaeger, 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.

Chadderdon III, George L: A Neurocomputational Model of the Functional Role of Dopamine in Stimulus Response Task Learning And Performance (March 2009), Sporns, O. (Chair), Brown, J., Townsend, J., Todd, P.

Denton, Stephen: Exploring Active Learning in a Bayesian Framework (September 2009), Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Busemeyer, J. (Co-Chair), Jones, M., Todd, P.

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.

Jessup, Ryan: Neural Correlates of the Behavioral Differences Between Descriptive and Experiential Choice: An Examination Combining Computational Modeling with FMRI (September 2008), Busemeyer, J. (Chair), Brown, J., Sporns, O., Todd, P.

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.

Weidemann, Christophe: Identifying brief stimuli: Perceptual, preferential, and decisional aspects (August 2006), Shiffrin, R. (Chair), Gold, J., Goldstone, R., Todd, P.

Hotaling, Jared: Decision field theory-planning: A cognitive model of planning and dynamic (November 2013), Busemeyer, J. (Chair), Shiffrin, R., Todd, P., Nosofsky, R.

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.

Tamara, Carolina: Route Learning And Its Interaction With Visual Landmarks (May 2013), Timberlake, W. (chair), Crystal, J., Goldstone, R., Todd, P.