Distinguished Lecture Series in Psychology

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 3:30pm

Jesse Wrench Auditorium

Announcement of Nelson Cowan lecture on Nov. 5


"Too Much Confidence in Too Little Knowledge: Exemplifying How Awareness of Our Limits Might Improve Our Lives"

Nelson Cowan
Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri 
A person’s knowledge is limited in many ways, but people often overestimate what they know. The profound limitations on knowledge, including being oblivious to what information is missing, will be illustrated with respect to Cowan’s program of research on the limitation of working memory capacity to just a few independent, coherent thoughts at once and on working-memory development in childhood. He will also briefly describe how this research has contributed to a broader philosophical attitude suggesting that we could improve both our scientific work and our interpersonal relationships by trying to remain aware of our limitations.