College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Robert J Youmans

Robert J Youmans

Robert J Youmans

Assistant Professor

Decision-making and Usability

Robert J. Youmans is a cognitive psychologist engaged in teaching and researching ways to uncover the cognitive mechanisms associated with creativity and innovation and to apply those cognitive mechanisms to design and engineering. Dr. Youmans earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2007 for his work on how physical prototyping and group work lead to more functional and creative engineering designs. He also earned a doctoral minor in industrial design. His M.A. degree in Experimental Psychology was awarded in 2003 by Wake Forest University for his work on human decision-making.

Dr. Youmans also has studied the role psychological factors may play in enhancing our understanding of the higher education experience. Included in his publications- press, print, and review- are articles and items examining: how students evaluate instructors, how students respond to quizzing, how students manage their time, how diversity on college campuses affects student behaviors, and how and why students plagiarize.

Dr. Youmans’ research focuses not simply on creative behaviors in design and engineering, but also on the basic cognitive and social mechanisms thought to be responsible for creative behaviors. These mechanisms include controlled attention, situation awareness, task-set switching, working memory, judgment and decision-making, language, and group processes. Dr. Youmans also conducts research on other applied cognitive topics including methods of enhancing learning in higher education, and the safe, efficient, and intuitive design of commercial products and systems.

Current Research

Current areas of research include: how attention and other cognitive traits affect creativity in the design process, how humans use technology, and how cognition and social behavior inform the safe, efficient, and fun design of technology and systems.