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Robin Thomas honored by international group

09/08/1998

OXFORD, Ohio - Robin Thomas, assistant professor of psychology at Miami University, has received the 1998 Young Investigator Award by the Society for Mathematical Psychology.

Thomas conducts research in Miami's perception and cognition lab on mathematical modeling of psychological processes with emphasis on models of perception and categorization.

"We try for a model of memory or other kinds of cognition, like how do you learn language, how do you learn what categories are, like a bird, a piece of furniture. We model them to test specific ideas, and to develop artificial intelligence," explains Thomas.

This summer she worked with the U.S. Air Force to come up with models of decision-making for the operators of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) performing surveillance. The Air Force has used UAVs in Bosnia and wants to use them more, says Thomas.

She has taught at Miami since 1995. Undergraduates and graduate students work with Thomas conducting experiments or creating computer models, and some have presented their work at professional meetings.

"This honor reflects Dr. Thomas' hard work and perseverance in tackling significant problems in the study of human cognition," says Leonard Mark, associate chair of psychology. "What makes her contributions especially notable is that she has worked unselfishly with graduate and undergraduate students in providing them with meaningful educational experiences and opportunities for professional development."

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