Raymond S. Nickerson

Raymond S. Nickerson

Visiting Scholar
Psychology Building, Room 114
490 Boston Avenue, Medford, MA


Dr. Nickerson is a former senior vice president of Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. (BBN Technologies), from which he is retired. His PhD, in experimental psychology, is from Tufts University. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and the Society of Experimental Psychologists. A past chair of the National Research Council's Committee on Human Factors (now the NRC Board on Human-Systems Integration), and a recipient of the Franklin V. Taylor Award from the American Psychological Association, he was the founding editor of The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied and of Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics, a series published by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Dr. Nickerson's research interests include cognition, human factors and applied experimental psychology. His recent work at Tufts has focused primarily on probabilistic reasoning.


  • PhD, Tufts University, 1965


Cognition and Human Factors

Selected Publications and Presentations


Nickerson, R. S., Perkins, D. N., & Smith, E. E. (1985). The teaching of thinking. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum .

Nickerson, R. S. (1986). Using computers: Human factors in information systems. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Nickerson, R. S. (1986). Reflections on reasoning. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum .

Nickerson, R. S. (1992). Looking ahead: Human factors challenges in a changing world. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum .

Nickerson, R. S. (2003). Psychology and environmental change. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum .

Nickerson, R. S. (2004). Cognition and chance: The psychology of probabilistic reasoning. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum .

Nickerson, R. S. (2008). Aspects of rationality: Reflections on what it means to be rational and whether we are. New York: Psychology Press.

Nickerson, R. S. (2010). Mathematical reasoning: Patterns, problems, conjectures and proofs. New York: Psychology Press.

Edited books:

Nickerson, R. S. (Ed.). (1980). Attention and performance VIII. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum .

Nickerson, R. S. & Zodhiates, P. P. (Eds.). (1988). Technology in education: Looking toward 2020. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum .

Nickerson, R. S. (Ed.). (1995). Emerging needs and opportunities for human factors research. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Durso, F. (Ed.), Nickerson, R. S., Schvaneveldt, R. W., Dumais, S. T., Lindsay, D. S., & Chi, M. T. H. (Assoc. Eds.). (1999). The handbook of applied cognition. New York: Wiley.

Nickerson, R. S. (Ed.) (2006). Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics (Vol. 1). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Durso, F. (Sr. Ed.), Nickerson, R. S., Dumais, S. T., Lewandowsky, S., & Perfect, T. (Assoc. Eds.). (In press). The handbook of applied cognition (Second edition). New York: Wiley.

Selected recent articles:

Nickerson, R. S. (1999). How we know -- and sometimes misjudge -- what others know: Imputing one's own knowledge to others. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 737-759.

Nickerson, R. S. (2000). Null hypothesis statistical testing: A review of an old and continuing controversy, Psychological Methods, 5, 241-301.

Nickerson, R. S. (2001). The projective way of knowing: A useful heuristic that sometimes misleads. Current Directions in Psychological Research, 10, 168-172.

Nickerson, R. S. (2002). The production and perception of randomness. Psychological Review, 109, 330-357.

Nickerson, R. S. & Falk, R. (2006). The exchange paradox: Probabilistic and cognitive analysis of a psychological conundrum. Thinking and Reasoning, 12, 181-213.

Nickerson, R. S. (2007). Penney ante: Counterintuitive probabilities in coin tossing. Undergraduate Mathematics and its Applications (UMAP), 28, 503-532.

Nickerson, R. S. & Butler, S. F. (2008). Efficiency in data gathering: Set-size effects in the selection task. Thinking and Reasoning, 14, 60-82.

Butler, S. F., & Nickerson, R. S. (2008). Keep or trade? An experimental study of the exchange paradox. Thinking and Reasoning 14, 365-394.

Nickerson, R. S. (2009). Are social scientists harder on their colleagues than physical scientists were on theirs in the past? Comments on Great works of the past. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 79-83.

Nickerson, R. S. & Butler, S. F. (2009). On producing random binary sequences. American Journal of Psychology, 122, 141-151.