Interests

I am interested in behaviors related to the quality of thinking and decision making in the moments people face every day in the workplace:  quick judgments about people, judgments about patterns and trends, choosing what information to consider and evaluating this information in taking a decision. 

There is a long list of well-known thinking biases, recently brought into the public eye by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow.  Very little work has been done to document exactly how the most dangerous of these biases play out in the typical behavioral situations that we face at work -- what I call "Moments of Truth".  What are the most common moments of truth?  What are the behaviors that matter most to individual and team performance? What aspects of cognition -- our "mindware" -- are most challenged in these moments?  And perhaps most important, how can we train ourselves to think and perform better - and how can leaders create the conditions that allow people to perform at their best?  These are the questions that interest me most.

In the recent past, I have studied individual differences in decision making in a gambling game called the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). In this work I: (i) applied machine learning methods to reveal clusters of different decision making styles; (ii) conducted a behavioral study to characterize differences in decision style based on cognitive and personality correlates; and, (iii) used reinforcement learning models to study how decision styles differ in terms of decision mechanisms and parameters.

Fellowships, Awards & Honors

  • Marquis Award for Best Dissertation in Psychology, University of Michigan, 2009.  link
  • Allen Newell Student Paper Prize, International Conference on Cognitive Modeling, 2007.
  • Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, Rackham School of Graduate Studies, University of Michigan, 2006.  link
  • Regents Fellowship, University of Michigan, 2002.  link

Manuscripts in Progress

Newman, L.I., Park, J. & Polk, T.A. (in preparation). Nature, nurture, and faces: A computational account of multiple genetic influences on the neural substrates of face processing.

Newman, L.I., Bechara, A., Preston, S.P., Weller, J.A., and Polk, T.A. (in preparation). Reexamining performance in the Iowa Gambling Task: Disadvantageous or just different?

Papers in Refereed Journals

Polk, T.A., Lacey, H.P., Nelson, J.K., Demiralp E., Newman, L.I.*, et. al. (2009). The development of abstract letter representation for reading: Evidence for the role of context, Cognitive Neuropsychology 26(1), 70-90. (*Designed computational model, performed simulations, wrote modeling section of article.) [pdf[link]

Park, J., Newman, L.I.* & Polk, T.A. (2009). Face Processing: the interplay of nature and nurture, Neuroscientist) 15(5), 445-449. (*Contributed ideas, helped edit the article.) [link]

Sterman, J.D., Henderson, R., Beinhocker, E.D. & Newman, L.I.* (2007). Getting big too fast: Strategic dynamics with increasing returns and bounded rationality”, Management Science 53(4), 683-696. (*Article based on unpublished MIT Masters thesis by Newman & Beinhocker, advised by Henderson & Sterman). [link]

Papers in Refereed Conference Proceedings

Newman, L.I., Polk, T.A., & Preston, S.D. (2008). Revealing individual differences in the Iowa Gambling Task, In B. C. Love, K. McRae, & V. M. Sloutsky (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (1067-1072). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. [pdf]

Newman, L.I. & Polk, T.A. (2007). The emergence of semantic topography in a neurally-inspired computational model,Proceedings of ICCM, Eighth International Conference on Cognitive Modeling, (103-108). Oxford, UK: Taylor & Francis/Psychology Press. (Awarded Alan Newell Student Paper Prize) [pdf]

Conference Presentations

Newman, L.I., Park J., & Polk, T.A. (2009, March). “How nature shapes nurture: A computational account of genetic influences on the neural substrates of face processing”, poster presented at 14th Annual Meeting of Cognitive Neuroscience Society. San Francisco, CA. [pdf]

Newman, L.I., Polk, T.A., & Preston, S.D. (2008, September). “Modeling individual differences in the Iowa Gambling Task”, poster presented at Annual Conference of the Society for NeuroEconomics. Park City, UT. [pdf]

Newman, L.I., Polk, T.A., & Preston, S.D. (2008, July). “Revealing individual differences in the Iowa Gambling Task”, poster presented at 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Washington, DC.

Newman, L.I. & Polk, T.A. (2008, April). “The emergence of semantic topography and category-specific impairments in a neurally-inspired computational model”, poster presented at 13th Annual Meeting of Cognitive Neuroscience Society. San Francisco, CA. [pdf]

Newman, L.I. & Polk, T.A. (2007, July). “The emergence of semantic topography in a neurally-inspired computational model”, paper presented at 8th International Conference on Cognitive Modeling. Ann Arbor, MI. [talk slides]

Newman, L.I. & Polk, T.A. (2006, November). “The emergence of semantic representations from topographic sensory maps”, paper presented at Computational Cognitive Neuroscience Conference. Houston, TX.

Newman, L.I. & Polk, T.A. (2006, May). “Clusters, symbols, and cortical topography”, presentation at 26th Annual Soar Workshop. Ann Arbor, MI.

Book Chapters

Newman, L.I. & Polk, T.A. (2008). “The computational cognitive neuroscience of learning and memory: Principles and models”, in Guadagnoli, M., Benjamin, A., DeBelle, S., Etnyre, B. & Polk, T.A., Human Learning: Biology, Brain, and Neuroscience, (77-99). Oxford, UK: Elsevier Ltd. [link]