Mathematical Psychology

Mathematical Psychology

The primary aim of this area of specialization is to encourage and develop the use of mathematical theory in psychology, cognition, and cognitive science. All of the mathematical modeling laboratories utilize computers to carry out construction and simulation of models, and as process-control and data acquisition devices. These computers operate in several independent laboratories, which include a full range of equipment for conducting research: closed-circuit television, high resolution display units, analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters, and speech synthesizers.

Additional hardware and software is available to provide very general and flexible experimental procedures. Students in the mathematical psychology program are trained in the use of computers and are encouraged to use them in their research.

Problems under current study by faculty and students in mathematical psychology:

  • Human learning and memory
  • decision processes
  • choice
  • measurement theory
  • perception
  • cognitive processes
  • neural models
  • computer simulation
  • statistical techniques

Students who elect mathematical psychology as a primary field of research and study are expected to have a research interest in at least one of the other major content areas of psychology offered by the department. Students are also encouraged to undertake ancillary study in mathematics, statistics, computer science, or cognitive science.


The curriculum in mathematical psychology deals with progressively deeper and more advanced application of mathematical thinking in psychology. Students must fulfill 18 credit hours in the modeling area, including the required Q550 (Models in Cognitive Science). Mathematically oriented courses and seminars in specialized topics such as learning, memory, attention, information processing, speech perception, psycholinguistics, perception, decision making, choice, categorization, scaling, and test theory are offered on a regular basis, as are advanced courses and seminars in computer applications, multivariate analysis, and advanced statistical theory.

Financial support – Training grant in mathematical modeling

The department has received funding for the training of pre-doctoral students and post-doctoral visitors in the mathematical modeling of cognition. The program offers twelve-month training fellowships for up to three years. Predoctoral fellowships typically last for one year, while postdoctoral fellowships usually occupy two years. Please indicate in the application for admission if you would like to be considered for such a fellowship.

Area Spokesperson: Michael Jones