Brief biographical sketch
Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, FAcSS, FAPS
Chair in Cognitive Science
University of Bristol
Professor Stephan Lewandowsky is a cognitive scientist at the University of Bristol. He was an Australian Professorial Fellow from 2007 to 2012, and was awarded a Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council in 2011. He held a Revesz Visiting Professorship at the University of Amsterdam in 2012, and received a Wolfson Research Merit Fellowship from the Royal Society upon moving to the UK in 2013. He was appointed a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science and a Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science in 2017. In 2016, he was appointed a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry for his commitment to science, rational inquiry and public education. In 2019, he received a Humboldt Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation in Germany.
His research examines people’s memory, decision making, and knowledge structures, with a particular emphasis on how people update information in memory. His most recent research interests examine the potential conflict between human cognition and the physics of the global climate, which has led him into research in climate science and climate modeling. As a result of his work in climate science he was appointed Visiting Scientist at the CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere laboratory in Hobart, Tasmania, in August 2017.
He has published around 220 scholarly articles, chapters, and books, including numerous papers on how people respond to corrections of misinformation and what variables determine people’s acceptance of scientific findings. (See www.cogsciwa.com for a complete list of scientific publications.)
Professor Lewandowsky is an award-winning teacher and was Associate Editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition from 2006-2008. He has also contributed nearly 90 opinion pieces to the global media on issues related to climate change “skepticism” and the coverage of science in the media. His personal blog is at http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/.
Brief first-person sketch
I am a cognitive scientist with an interest in computational modeling. That is, I try to understand how the mind works by writing computer simulations of our memory and decision-making processes. Recently, I have become particularly interested in how people update their memories if things they believe turn out to be false. This has led me to examine the persistence of misinformation and spread of “fake news” in society. I have become particularly interested in the variables that determine whether or not people accept scientific evidence, for example surrounding vaccinations or climate science. I also contribute to public debate through opinion pieces in the media.