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Edward Cokely

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Edward Cokely

Photographing happy people since 2006


Office: Dale Hall Tower 711



Dr. Cokely serves as Presidential Research Professor and Professor of Psychology at the University of Oklahoma. He specializes in cognitive abilities and decision making, mentoring graduate students in the Cognitive Psychology Ph.D. Program. Dr. Cokely is recognized as a leading expert on Risk Literacy (i.e., the ability to evaluate and understand risk) and related applications including risk communications, cognitive assessments, and training programs. He has co-authored nearly 100 academic papers and one book (Diversity and Disagreement; Feltz & Cokely, 2024), helping secure millions of dollars in funding for research, outreach, and student support (e.g., NSF, NAS, NOAA, Templeton, MedScape). He has received 20+ research and teaching honors including premier awards for “major contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior” and for “improving our understanding of the needs and processes of diverse decision makers in more than 50 countries” (e.g., FABBS 2017 Early Career Impact Award; NSF 2013 early CAREER award). He is a member of the editorial board of APA’s DECISION (2024-current), former board member for APA’s Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied (2017-2018), and former associate editor of SJDM’s Judgment and Decision Making (2014-2020). His research has been featured in Scientific American, New Scientist Magazine, Chronicle of Higher Education, BBC Futures, and New York Times and Wall Street Journal Online, among others.

Dr. Cokely’s main research and teaching interests include:

- Risk Literacy and Decision Psychology

- Heuristics, Biases, and Cognitive Abilities (e.g., Numeracy, Intelligence, Expertise)

- Skill Acquisition and Cognitive Training

- Risk Communication and Ethical Choice Architecture

- Human Factors, Engineering Psychology, and User Experience (UX)

Dr. Cokey’s research program centers on risk literacy, an acquired critical thinking skill that influences the quality of people’s judgment and decision making. To measure risk literacy, Dr. Cokely helped create the Berlin Numeracy Test (Cokely et al., 2012,2014), which has been used by more than 150,000 people from 175+ countries, contributing to hundreds of studies across medicine, business, psychology, engineering, education, public policy, meteorology, environmental science, and other fields (see Together with collaborators, Dr. Cokely discovered that statistical numeracy tests are the strongest predictors of general decision making skill, often doubling the predictive power of all other cognitive abilities including fluid intelligence. These and other findings led to the development of Skilled Decision Theory (Cokely et al., 2018, 2025; see also Cokely & Kelley, 2009), which provides an account of the primary cognitive mechanisms that give rise to superior judgment and decision making of experts and non-experts. For example, rather than inhibiting biased intuitions and emotions that might interfere with reasoning (e.g., overriding System 1 and using System 2 for abstract, logical reasoning), risk literate decision makers typically make higher quality decisions by deliberately improving their intuitive understanding and knowledge (e.g., using System 2 to educate System 1, which empowers heuristic reasoning). Dr. Cokely’s research was also among the first to establish that (i) specialized knowledge is by far the most influential driver of skilled decision making among experts and non-experts alike (e.g., the Knowledge is Power mechanism; Cokely et al., 2018; 2025; see also Cho et al., 2023), (ii) high levels of basic cognitive abilities are not generally required for skilled decision making, and (iii) transparent decision aids and brief training programs can eliminate large differences in decision quality for individuals who vary widely in abilities, educations, values, backgrounds, cultures, ages, and countries of residence (Garcia-Retamero & Cokely, 2013; 2017).

** Dr. Cokely is accepting applications for new graduate students in the Cognitive Ph.D. program.

For more on Risk Literacy see:

How well do you think about risk and uncertainty? (