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RAP opportunity at Naval Research Laboratory     NRL

Cognitive Models of Thinking and Reasoning


Naval Research Laboratory, DC, Information Technology

opportunity location
64.15.18.B8356 Washington, DC 203755321


name email phone
Sangeet S Khemlani 571.275.8107
John Gregory Trafton 202.767.3479


This interdisciplinary research focuses on the development of theoretical and computational cognitive theories of explanatory and deductive reasoning. We use techniques such as computational cognitive modeling, human subjects experimentation, eye-tracking, and protocol analysis to build models of how people reason. We also build interfaces and prototypes to explore computer science ideas advanced by our theoretical frameworks. Our group consists of cognitive psychologists and computer scientists. Its primary goal is to build psychological and computational theories of complex inferential behavior by attempting to scale up current theories to more complex embodied domains. We use what we know about cognition to build better artificial intelligence systems.


  • Hiatt L, Narber C, Bekele E, Khemlani S, Trafton G: Human modeling for human-robot collaboration. International Journal of Robotics Research 36: 580-596, 2017.
  • Johnson-Laird PN, Khemlani S, Goodwin GP: Logic, probability, and human reasoning. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 19: 201-214, 2015
  • Khemlani S: Automating human inference. Proceedings of the 2nd IJCAI Workshop on Bridging the Gap Between Human and Automated Reasoning, 1-4, 2016
  • Khemlani S, Johnson-Laird PN: Why machines don't (yet) reason like people. Ku¨nstliche Intelligenz, 2019.
  • Khemlani S, Harrison AM, Trafton JG: Episodes, events, and models. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9: 590, 1-13, 2015
  • Khemlani S, Mackiewicz R, Bucciarelli M, Johnson-Laird PN: Kinematic mental simulations in abduction and deduction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110: 16766-16771, 2013


key words
Reasoning; Cognition; Deduction; Mental models; Explanation; Thinking; Cognitive modeling; Cognitive science; Robotics; Causality;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$94,199.00 $3,000.00
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