Professor Emeritus
M.A., Ph.D., Wayne State University, 1970
B.A., University of Chicago

Phone: 775-881-8843

Email: tweney@bgsu.edu

P O Box 667

Beatty, NV  89003


Research Interests:

  • Cognitive science of science
  • History of psychology
  • Visual representation in statistical reasoning
  • Representational effects in problem solving and inference

    I am interested in the "Cognitive Science of Science," the application of methods and theories derived from cognitive science to the understanding of real-world scientific thinking. My students and I have used methods ranging from experiments that simulate selected aspects of scientific inference and problem solving, to historical case studies based on cognitive frameworks. Just before retiring, following my discovery of a large number of microscopic slide specimens prepared by Michael Faraday, and described in Faraday's diary, we carried out some "historical chemistry', attempting to replicate the way he made these slides (see some of the results by checking the web page, above). We used this material to reconstruct the cognitive strategies used in Faraday's research. My interest in scientific cognition leads quite naturally to concerns about the nature of statistical methodology in psychology, a reflection of my ongoing studies of the role of instruments, mathematics, and graphic representations on scientific cognition. Most recently, I have worked on the use of mathematical representations by Faraday's intellectual successor, James Clerk Maxwell, developing an account of the metaphorical underpinnings of Maxwell's equations in physics.

Selected Publications:

R.D. Tweney (2017). Metaphor and model based reasoning in mathematical physics. In L. Magnani & T. Bertolotti (Eds.) Springer Handbook of Model-Based Science, pp.341-353. Heidelberg/Berlin: Springer

R.D. Tweney (2012). On the unreasonable reasonableness of mathematical physics: A cognitive view. In R.W. Proctor & E.J. Capaldi (Eds.), Psychology of science: Implicit and explicit processes, pp. 406-435.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

R.D. Tweney (2001). Scientific thinking: A cognitive-historical approach. In K. Crowley, C. D. Schunn, & T. Okada, (Eds.), Designing for Science: Implications from everyday, classroom, and professional settings (pp. 141-173). Mawah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Courses Taught:

  • PSYC 2700. Quantitative Methods I
  • PSYC 2900. Introduction to Laboratory Methods in Psychology
  • PSYC 3220. Cognitive Psychology II: Thinking and Problem Solving
  • PSYC 7001. History of Psychology I
  • PSYC 7020. History of Psychology II