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Associate Professor Jason Tangen
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Associate Professor Jason Tangen
Jason is a teaching and research academic in the School and explores the nature of expertise and the development of competence in professional practice. He has lead several large research programs in collaboration with police agencies, passports, and the reserve bank. In 2013, Jason developed UQ's first Massive Open Online Course called "The Science of Everyday Thinking," which attracted more than 250,000 enrolments.
+61 7 3365 4466
Postal Address:

School of Psychology
The University of Queensland
St Lucia, QLD 4072

Picture of 'Associate Professor Jason Tangen'
Associate Professor Jason Tangen

PhD (McMaster), BASc (Lethbridge)


Jason Tangen's research is broadly based on Expertise & Evidence. That is, the perceptual and cognitive changes that occur as we accumulate experiences. Jason has several projects underway on awareness, forensic reasoning, the perception of banknote features, and the flashed face distortion effect. Originally trained in philosophy and cognition, he did a PhD on causal learning at McMaster University in Canada and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of New South Wales. He regularly teaches courses on Critical Thinking, Judgement & Decision Making, and Consciousness & Cognition.

Picture of 'Associate Professor Jason Tangen'
Associate Professor Jason Tangen
Expertise, judgement, decision making, fingerprints, identification, learning, thinking, memory, bias, methodology.
Decisions, Fingerprints, Personal decisions, Awareness - psychology, Forensic professionals - decision making, Decision making - forensic professionals, Intelligence agencies - decision making, Human identification, Research methodology, Forensic reasoning
Course Coordinator:
  • Semester 1, 2017
    PSYC3052 - Judgment & Decision-Making
  • Semester 1, 2016
    PSYC2371 - Everyday Thinking
  • Semester 2, 2016
    PSYC3052 - Judgment & Decision-Making
  • Semester 1, 2015
    PSYC2371 - Everyday Thinking
  • Semester 1, 2014
    PSYC2371 - Everyday Thinking
  • Semester 1, 2013
    PSYC2371 - Everyday Thinking
  • Semester 1, 2012
    PSYC2371 - Everyday Thinking
  • Semester 2, 2012
    PSYC3052 - Judgment & Decision-Making
  • Semester 2, 2011
    PSYC3052 - Judgment & Decision-Making
  • Semester 2, 2010
    PSYC3052 - Judgment & Decision-Making
  • Semester 1, 2009
    PSYC4050 - Psychological Research Methodology IV
  • Semester 2, 2009
    PSYC3052 - Judgment & Decision-Making

Note: Coordinator roles prior to 2009 and tutor roles prior to 2006 are not included.

Research Area:
Judgement and Decision Making

I’ll be taking five honours students in 2017. Our work is broadly based on the perceptual and cognitive changes that occur as novices become experts. Some questions are more "pure" (e.g., what's the best way to learn the visual structure of a brand new category?), while others are more "applied" (e.g., how should forensic examiners testify in court?).

We have a bunch of really great projects lined up for the year. Our primary focus this semester is to test a range of novel training methods to turn novices into experts as efficiently as possible. Our ultimate goal is to design, build, and deploy a first-of-its-kind suite of learning methods to train identification experts in the context of matching fingerprints. This work will enable examiners to interpret evidence more effectively and efficiently, help to reduce the amount of time that it takes to train experts, aid in the development of a model of expert testimony that better captures the reality of their decision making processes, and ensure the integrity of forensics as an investigative tool available to police so the rule of law is justly applied.

Another project that we have available this year is how to detect an “Aha!” moment: Like a lightbulb turning on, it’s possible to solve a problem in a sudden and unexpected flash of insight. Many of the most famous scientific discoveries happen in this way, and many problems we encounter in day to day life are understood unexpectedly while having a shower, taking a walk, or riding a bike. However, to begin to understand insight moments and how to improve their accuracy and frequency, we first need to be able to detect when they happen. In this project, we will aim to elicit insight moments in the laboratory using creative problem-solving and then compare three different ways of measuring when they occur, including a novel visceral measure of insight employing a dynamometer.

I’ve been ridiculously fortunate to work with some amazing students in the past, many of whom have continued on to do a PhD afterward. If you’d like to be part of this group, feel free to contact me directly.

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