Valerie Reyna is Professor of Human Development, Director of the Human Neuroscience Institute, Co-director of the Cornell University Magnetic Resonance Imaging Facility, and Co-director of the Center for Behavioral Economics and Decision Research. Her research integrates brain and behavioral approaches to understand and improve judgment, decision making, and memory across the life span. Her recent work has focused on the neuroscience of risky decision making and its implications for health and well-being, especially in adolescents; applications of cognitive models and artificial intelligence to improving understanding of genetics (e.g., in breast cancer); and medical and legal decision making (e.g., about jury awards, medication decisions, and adolescent culpability). She is a developer of fuzzy-trace theory, a model of the relation between mental representations and decision making that has been widely applied in law, medicine, and public health.
Dr. Reyna has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) and is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the oldest and most prestigious honorary society in experimental psychology. She is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Divisions of Experimental Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Educational Psychology, and Health Psychology of the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science. Dr. Reyna has been a Visiting Professor at the Mayo Clinic, a permanent member of study sections of the National Institutes of Health, and a member of advisory panels for the National Science Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences. For example, she is on the Advisory Committee of the National Research Council’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) which oversees 10 boards and standing committees, and serves as the Chief Scientific Liaison and representative to the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences of the Psychonomic Society.
Taking a leave from academia, Dr. Reyna helped create a new research agency in the U.S. Department of Education, where she oversaw grant policies and programs. Her service has also included leadership positions in organizations dedicated to equal opportunity for minorities and women, and on national executive and advisory boards of centers and grants with similar goals, such as the Arizona Hispanic Center of Excellence, National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, and Women in Cognitive Science (supported by a National Science Foundation ADVANCE leadership award).
Dr. Reyna is the Editor of Psychological Science in the Public Interest and sits on the editorial board of such journals as Decision and Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, leading journals in psychology. Dr. Reyna has received many years of research support from private foundations and U.S. government agencies, and currently serves as principal investigator of several grants and awards (e.g., from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health).
|Current Professional Activities:|
Editor, Psychological Science in the Public Interest
Associate Editor, Developmental Review
Editorial Board, Psychological Review, Decision, Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making
Advisory (steering) Committee, National Research Council's Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Academy of Sciences.
Chief Scientific Liaison, Governing Board of the Psychonomic Society.
Chair, Communications Committee, Governing Board of the Psychonomic Society.
MacArthur Foundation’s Law and Neuroscience Network, Group to Individual Project
Roundtable and Advisory Committee, Research Center for Excellence in Clinical Preventive Services, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2011-present.
Editorial Advisory Board, Biennial Bronfrenbrenner Conference Series.
National Advisory Board, Center for Learning and Human Development, Miami University.
Reyna, V. F., Corbin, J. C., Weldon, R. B., & Brainerd, C. J. (2016). How fuzzy-trace theory predicts true and false memories for words, sentences, and narratives. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 5(1), 1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jarmac.2015.12.003
Reyna, V. F., Hans, V. P., Corbin, J. C., Yeh, R., Lin, K., & Royer, C. (2015). The gist of juries: Testing a model of damage award decision making. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 21(3), 280-294. doi: 10.1037/law0000048
Reyna, V. F., Nelson, W. L., Han, P. K., & Pignone, M. P. (2015). Decision making and cancer. American Psychologist, 70(2), 105-118. doi: 10.1037/a0036834
Reyna, V. F., Weldon, R. B., & McCormick, M. J. (2015). Educating intuition: Reducing risky decisions using fuzzy-trace theory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(4), 392-398. doi: 10.1177/0963721415588081
Reyna, V. F., Chick, C. F., Corbin, J. C., & Hsia, A. N. (2014). Developmental reversals in risky decision-making: Intelligence agents show larger decision biases than college students. Psychological Science, 25(1), 76-84. doi: 10.1177/0956797613497022
Reyna, V. F., & Mills, B. A. (2014). Theoretically motivated interventions for reducing sexual risk taking in adolescence: A randomized controlled experiment applying fuzzy-trace theory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(4), 1627-1648. doi: 10.1037/a0036717
Reyna, V. F., & Zayas, V. (Eds.). (2014). The neuroscience of risky decision making. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Reyna, V. F., Croom, K., Staiano-Coico, L., Lesser, M. L., Lewis, D., Frank, J., & Marchell, T. (2013). Endorsement of a personal responsibility to adhere to the minimum drinking age law predicts consumption, risky behaviors, and alcohol-related harms. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 19(3), 380-394.
Reyna, V. F. (2012). A new intuitionism: Meaning, memory, and development in fuzzy-trace theory.Judgment and Decision Making, 7(3), 332-359.
Reyna, V.F. (2012). Risk perception and communication in vaccination decisions: A fuzzy-trace theory approach. Vaccine, 30, 3790-3797. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.11.070
Reyna, V.F., Chapman, S., Dougherty, M., Confrey, J. (2012) The adolescent brain: Learning, reasoning, and decision making. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
Reyna, V. F., Estrada, S. M., DeMarinis, J. A., Myers, R. M., Stanisz, J. M., & Mills, B. A. (2011). Neurobiological and memory models of risky decision making in adolescents versus young adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 37(5), 1125-1142.doi:10.1037/a0023943
Reyna, V. F., & Brainerd, C. J. (2011). Dual processes in decision making and developmental neuroscience: A fuzzy-trace model. Developmental Review, 31,180-206. doi: 10.1016/j.dr.2011.07.004
Reyna, V. F., Nelson, W., Han, P., & Dieckmann, N. F. (2009). How numeracy influences risk comprehension and medical decision making. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 943-973.
Lloyd, F. J., & Reyna, V. F. (2009). Clinical gist and medical education: Connecting the dots. Journal of the American Medical Association, 302(12):1332-1333.
Reyna, V. F. (2008). A theory of medical decision making and health: Fuzzy-trace theory. Medical Decision Making, 28, 850-865.
Reyna, V. F., & Farley, F. (2006). Risk and rationality in adolescent decision making: Implications for theory, practice, and public policy. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 7, 1-44.
Reyna, V.F., & Lloyd, F. (2006). Physician decision making and cardiac risk: Effects of knowledge, risk perception, risk tolerance, and fuzzy processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 12, 179-195.
Reyna, V.F. (2004). How people make decisions that involve risk. A dual-processes approach. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 13, 60-66.