Andrew Heathcote

Also known as: Andrew Heathcote
National Library of Australia
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Brief description

I graduated from the University of Tasmania with B.Sc. majoring in Physics and Psychology in 1983 and obtained a 1st Class Honours in Psychology in 1984. After commencing a PhD at University of Tasmania with Professor Don McNicol in 1985 I was awarded a Commonwealth Postgraduate Fellowship. This took me to Queen’s University in Canada to work with Professor Doug Mewhort, where I graduated with a PhD in Psychology in 1990. During 1991 I was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor Roger Ratcliff at Northwestern University in Chicago, and in 1992 I returned to Australia to take up a faculty position at the University of Newcastle. Over the next decade I have held a number of Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects grants and from 2002-2006 I was Deputy Head and then Head of the School of Psychology at Newcastle.  Subsequently I returned to a teaching, administration and research role, became a full Professor, and founded the Newcastle Cognition Laboratory ( In 2011 I was awarded a five-year Professorial Fellowship by the ARC, enabling me to pursue my research full time and in 2012 I was elected to the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. My research focuses on human memory and skill acquisition, and on the neural and cognitive processes that enable people to make rapid choices. Research ExpertiseMy research interests span a number of fields in Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science, including attention, skill acquisition and memory. In all of these domains I have focused on understanding something that humans do frequently every day, making rapid choices. With Scott Brown I have proposed and applied the Ballistic Accumulator (BA) and Linear Ballistic Accumulator (LBA) models. The LBA has excellent psychometric properties that have lead to it being widely applied across domains ranging from eye movements to higher level decisions about memory and linguistic knowledge. My most recent work has focused on developing even more easily applied models and using them as building blocks to understand difficult decisions (e.g., due to conflicting information), decisions about complex information (e.g., about objects with multiple attributes) and complex decisions (e.g., rating confidence in decisions). Teaching ExpertiseFrom 1992 to 2010 I taught courses in statistics and methodology and cognitive psychology across all undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Since 2011 I have been a research fellow with no teaching load, but I continue to supervise research students at the honours, masters and PhD levels. Recently I have developed an increasing interest in how to teach the Bayesian approach that I believe is the future of statistics for the behavioural sciences and neuroscience. Administrative ExpertiseI have been Deputy Head and Head of the School of Psychology at Newcastle, organised several Australasian Mathematical Psychology and Cognitive Science Conferences. I am presently a member of the Executive of the International Society for Mathematical Psychology.

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