Picture of Valerie Thompson

Valerie Thompson B.Sc., M.A., Ph.D.


Faculty Member in Psychology and Health Studies

Arts 181

Research Area(s)

  • Intuitive judgments and rational decisions
  • Thinking and decision-making
  • Metacognition - how we evaluate the accuracy of our thought processes
  • Experimental decision lab (EDL)
  • Using eyetracking and other process tracing methods to understand thinking and reasoning
  • Dual Process Theories of Reasoning

About me

Valerie Thompson is a Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan.  Her research interests include intuitive judgments, thinking and decision-making, and metacognition (that is, how we evaluate the accuracy of our thought processes).  She is currently Past President of the Canadian Society of Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science, and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal Thinking & Reasoning.  Her research program has been continously funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada since 1991.


Sample publications:

Thompson, V.A., Prowse-Turner, J., & Pennycook, G. (2011).  Intuition, Metacognition, and Reason.  Cognitive Psychology, 63, 107-140.

Ackerman, R. & Thompson, V.A. (In press).  Meta-reasoning:  What can we learn from meta-memory?  In A. Feeney and V.A. Thompson (Eds).  Reasoning as Memory.  Psychology Press, Sussex, UK.

Feeney, A. &Thompson, V.A. (In press, Eds) Reasoning as Memory.  Psychology Press:  Sussex, UK.

Thompson, V.A. & Johnson, S.J. (2014). Conflict, metacognition, and analytic thinking.  Thinking & Reasoning, 20(2), 215-244.  FREE ACCESS:  http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/zciqEfwDwiJY8tufPw4c/full#.U-ZnH2PG8r4

Pennycook, G., Trippas, D., Handley, S.J., & Thompson, V.A. (2014).  Base rates:  Both intuitive and neglected.  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 40(2), 544-554.

Other Publications:

Thompson, V.A. & Feeney, A. (In press).  Introduction:  Reasoning as Memory: A Case for Integration.  In A. Feeney and V.A. Thompson (Eds).  Reasoning as Memory.  Psychology Press, Sussex, UK.

Thompson, V.A. (2014).  What intuitions are...and are not.  The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 60, 35-75.

Thompson, V.A., Evans, J. St. B. T., & Campbell, J. I. C.  (2013) Matching bias on the selection task:  It’s fast and it feels good. Thinking & Reasoning,19(3-4), 431-452. 
DOI: 10.1080/13546783.2013.820220 FREE ACCESS:  http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/4jsVAGvg8fV68gPvDSzI/full

·         Thompson, V.A., Prowse Turner, J., Pennycook, G., Ball, L., Barak, H., Yael. O., & Ackerman, R. (2013).  The role of answer fluency and perceptual fluency in the monitoring and control of reasoning. Cognition, 128, 237-251.

T      Thompson, V.A., Ackerman, R., Sidi, Y., Ball, L.J., Pennycook, G.,  Prowse Turner, J.A. (2013).  The role of answer fluency and perceptual fluency in the monitoring and control of reasoning: Reply to Alter, Oppenheimer, and Eply (2013).  Cognition, 128, 256-258.

        Markovits, H., Brunet, M-L., Thompson, V.A., & Brisson, J. (2013).  Direct evidence for a dual process model of deductive inference.  Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39, 1213-1222.

        Thompson, V.A. (2013).  Why it matters: The implications of autonomous processes for dual process theories.  Perspectives in Psychological Sciences, 8(3), 253-256.

        Pennnycook, G. & Thompson V.A. (2012).  Reasoning with base-rates is routine, relatively effortless and context-dependent.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 19(3), 528-534.

        Beatty, E., & Thompson, V.A. (2012).  Effects of perspective and belief on analytic reasoning in a scientific reasoning task, Thinking & Reasoning. DOI:10.1080/13546783.2012.687892

        Thompson, V.A. & Morsanyi, K. (2012).  Analytic thinking:  Do you feel like it? Mind & Society, DOI 10.1007/s11299-012-0100-6.

        Campbell, J.I.D. & Thompson, V.A. (2012).  MorePower 6.0 for ANOVA with relational confidence intervals and Bayesian analysis. Behavior Research, Methods, Instruments, and Computers, DOI 10.3758/s13428-012-0186-0.

        Thompson, V.A. & Evans, J. St. B. T.  (2012). Belief bias in informal reasoning.  Thinking & Reasoning, 18, 278-310. FREE ACCESS: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/dUiWTuBts3jN4nby8fj9/full

        Thompson, V.A. (2011).  Normatisms vs mechanism.  Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 34(5), 272-273.

        Thompson, V. A. (2010). Towards a dual process model of conditional inference. In M. Oaksford (Ed.) The Psychology of Conditionals. Oxford University Press.

·         Thompson, V. A. (2009). Dual process theories: A metacognitive perspective. In J. Evans and K. Frankish (Eds.) In Two Minds: Dual Processes and Beyond. Oxford University Press.

·         Prowse Turner, J. A. & Thompson, V. A. (2008). The role of training, alternative models, and logical necessity in determining confidence in syllogistic reasoning. Thinking and Reasoning. 

·         Markovits, H., & Thompson, V. A. (2008). Different developmental patterns of simple deductive and probabilistic inferential reasoning. Memory & Cognition, 36(6), 1066-1078.

·         Schmidt, J., & Thompson, V. A. (2008). “At least one” problem with “some” formal reasoning paradigms. Memory & Cognition, 36(1), 217-229.

·         Evans, J. St. B.T., Handley, S. J., Hadjchristidis, C., Thompson, V. A., Over, D. E., & Bennett, S. (2007). On the basis of belief in causal and diagnostic conditionals. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60(5), 635-643.

·         Handley, S. J., Evans, J. St. B. T., & Thompson, V. A. (2006). The negated conditional: A litmus test for the suppositional conditional? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32, 559-569.

·         Fugelsang, J., Thompson, V. A., & Dunbar, K. (2006). Examining the representation of causal knowledge. Thinking & Reasoning, 12, 257-280.

·         Ohm, E., & Thompson, V. A. (2006). Conditional probability and pragmatic conditionals: Dissociating truth and effectiveness. Thinking & Reasoning. 12, 257-280.

·         Shynkaruk, J. M., & Thompson, V. A. (2006). Confidence and accuracy in deductive reasoning. Memory & Cognition, 34, 619-632.

·         Thompson, V. A., Evans, J. St. B. T., & Handley, S. J. (2005). Persuading and dissuading by conditional argument. Journal of Memory and Language, 53, 238-257.

·         Evans, J. St. B. T., & Thompson, V. A. (2004). Informal reasoning: Theory and method. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 58, 69-74.

·         Ohm E., & Thompson, V. A. (2004). Everyday reasoning with inducements and advice. Thinking & Reasoning, 10, 241-272.

·         Thompson, V. A., & Campbell, J. I. D. (2004). A power struggle: Between- vs within-subject designs in deductive reasoning research. Psychologia, 47, 277-296.

·         Thompson, V. A., Streimer, C. L., Reikoff, R., Gunter, R. W., & Campbell, J. I. D. (2003). Syllogistic reasoning time: Disconfirmation disconfirmed. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 10, 184-189.

·         Fugelsang J., & Thompson, V. A. (2003). A dual process model of belief and evidence interactions in causal reasoning. Memory & Cognition, 31, 800-815.

·         Campbell, J. I. D., & Thompson, V. A. (2002). More power to you: Simple power calculations for treatment effects with one degree of freedom. Behavior Research, Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 34, 332-337.

·         Thompson V. A., & Byrne, R. M. J. (2002). Reasoning counterfactually: Making inferences about things that didn’t happen. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 28, 1154-1170. 

·         Newstead, S. E., Thompson, V. A., & Handley, S. (2002). Generating alternatives: A key component in human reasoning? Memory & Cognition, 30, 129-137.  


Cognition & Neurosciences cognition decision-making intuitive vs analytic thinking metacognition reasoning

I am interested in the circumstances that determine when people make intuitive vs rational decisions.  That is, when do people go with their "gut" instinct, and wnen do they engage a more thoughtful analysis of the situation?  My current program of research has three main streams:  1) to investigate the properties of intuitive judgement that produce feelings of rightness in those judgments; 2) to investigate the relationship between those feelings and the probability and type of analysis that is engaged, and 3) to investigate individual differences in the propensity to rely on intuitive judgments.

Work on the this research program will be facilitated by the Experimental Decision Lab (EDL), a new research facility created with a CFI grant, on which I was a co-applicant.  The facility has 23 interlinked computers, some of which have eye-tracking capabilities, all of which are equipped with experimental software and hardware.  This is one of only five such facilities in Canada, and the only one with a mandate for cognitive science research.  The laboratory is part of the Social Sciences Research Lab:  http://ssrl.usask.ca/

Education & Training

BSc University of Calgary 1985

MA University of Western Ontario 1987

PhD University of Western Ontario 1991