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Edward Cokely

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Edward Cokely

Photographing happy people since 2006


Risk Institute Phone: 405-325-3698

Psychology Office: Dale Hall Tower 711

Risk Institute Office: Five Partners Place 2403



Dr. Edward Cokely serves as Presidential Research Professor and Professor of Psychology at the University of Oklahoma, and is co-founding faculty of the National Institute for Risk & Resilience. Dr. Cokely is recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts on the Psychology of Skilled Decision Making. He has published 75+ papers on Decision Psychology and Cognitive Engineering, securing millions in continuous grant funding for research, outreach, and student support (e.g., NSF, NAS, Tempelton, MedScape). He has received 19 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). His research has also been featured in Scientific American, New Scientist Magazine, Chronicle of Higher Education, and New York Times and Wall Street Journal Online, among others. His primary research specializations include:


- Risk Literacy and Science for Informed Decision Making

- Decision Vulnerability and Human Factors Engineering

- Risk Communication, Data Visualization, and Adaptive Decision Support

- Expert Performance, Skill Acquisition, and Training Technologies

- Decision Analytics, Data Science, and User Experience (UX)


Dr. Cokely is best known for developing the Berlin Numeracy Tests and Skilled Decision Theory. Together with collaborators, he was the first to discover that statistical numeracy tests tend to be the single strongest predictors of general decision making skill, often doubling the predictive power of fluid intelligence and other general cognitive ability tests across diverse decision makers and high-stakes choices (e.g., ignoring heart attacks, selecting financial products, responding to hazard warnings). His research was also among the first to establish that (i) high levels of basic cognitive abilities are not generally required for skilled decision making, (ii) deliberative heuristic strategies and specialized knowledge tend to be the primary drivers of differences in skilled decision making (e.g., representative understanding), and (iii) well-designed yet inexpensive decision aids can often eliminate large differences in decision quality for individuals who vary widely in ability, education, background, culture, age, and country of residence.  Since 2012, more than 100,000 people from 172 countries have taken one of the Berlin Numeracy Tests, contributing to hundreds of published studies on topics in medicine, business, psychology, ethics, engineering, education, public policy, sport sciences, meteorology, environmental sciences, and others.


Dr. Cokely also serves as Cognitive Ph.D. Program Coordinator in the Department of Psychology, Director of the Decision Analytics Lab, co-founder of OU’s cross-college Human Factors graduate specialization, and faculty co-advisor for OU’s Human Factors Chapter.  He is also an Affiliated Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Associate Editor of Judgment and Decision Making, editorial board member for the Journal of Experimental Psychology-Applied, and co-founding member of the project, which is dedicated to advancing inclusive science for informed decision making in collaboration with partners from around the world. 


Dr. Cokely will be accepting applications for new graduate students in the Cognitive Ph.D. program in Fall. 


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