Professor & Graduate Program Director, Cognitive Science
- Ph.D., Psychology, University of California at Berkeley
- M.A., Psychology, University of California at Berkeley
- A.B., Psychology, Lafayette College
Wayne Gray is director of the CogWorks Laboratory at Rensselaer and a researcher in the fields of computational cognitive modeling, cognitive neuroscience, interactive behavior, cognitive task analysis, cognitive workload, and human error.
In his current research, Gray has been studying the selection of strategies that occur in decisions made within a time space between 0.3 to 3 seconds. Such cognitive strategies – termed “heuristics” – are typically made beneath the level of our conscious awareness and deliberate control.
“Fundamentally, I am interested in the elementary units of cognitive control; how cognition, perception, and action come together in real time to do things that are meaningful,” Gray said “An elementary unit might be something as small as pointing to an icon with a mouse, pressing the brake of your car, or retrieving a name from memory in response to a face at a class reunion. Each of these units require cognition, perception, and action to come together and do something within the span of about 1/3 to 3 seconds and each unit is in service of a higher-order goal (e.g., driving to home from work). While we are aware of our higher-order goals, we are often not aware of these elementary units, and we are never aware of how these units are formed. Increasingly, our research has shown that features of the information or task environment of which we are unaware may bias how these elementary units are formed and lead to suboptimal or even maladaptive behavior.”
He has regularly published the results of his research, most recently with articles in NeuroImage, Cognitive Science, and Visual Cognition. And he has edited several volumes within his research area, most recently “Integrated Models of Cognitive Systems,” published by New York: Oxford University Press in 2007.
Gray was also recently awarded a Humboldt Research Award from the Germany-based Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, an honor which allowed him to devote a sabbatical semester to pursuing research at to pursue research at the Max Planck Institute Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition (ABC) in Berlin. Among other recent honors, he is also the Consulting Editor of the Psychological Review, and has been named a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.