Charles Brainerd, Director

Portrait of Charles Brainerd

Dr. Brainerd holds B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in experimental and developmental psychology. He has published over 200 research articles and chapters, and he has also published over 20 books. His research covers areas such as human memory and decision-making, statistics and mathematical modeling, cognitive neuroscience, learning, intelligence, cognitive development, learning disability and child abuse. Dr. Brainerd's current research program centers on the relation between memory and higher reasoning abilities in children and adults, and it also focuses on false-memory phenomena. Together with another Cornell Professor, Valerie Reyna, he is the co-developer of fuzzy-trace theory, a model of the relation between memory and higher reasoning that has been widely applied within medicine and law.


  • Ph.D. Michigan State University - Psychology
  • M.A. Michigan State University - Psychology
  • B.S. Michigan State University - Psychology

Valerie Reyna, Collaborator

Portrait of Valerie Reyna

Dr. Reyna is Professor of Human Development and Psychology at Cornell University, and a Co-director of the Center for Behavioral Economics and Decision Research. Dr. Reyna holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Rockefeller University. Her research encompasses human judgment and decision making, numeracy and quantitative reasoning, risk and uncertainty, medical decision making, social judgment, and false memory. 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. Her recent work has focused on aging, neurocognitive impairment, and genetic risk factors (e.g., in Alzheimers disease); rationality and risky decision making, particularly risk taking in adolescence; and neuroimaging models of framing and decision making. She has also extended fuzzy-trace theory to risk perception, numeracy, and dual processes in medical decision making by both physicians and patients. Dr. Reyna also teaches an undergraduate and a graduate seminar on Risk and Rational Decision Making and is the director of the Laboratory for Rational Decision Making.


  • Ph.D. Rockefeller University - Experimental Psychology

  • B.A. Clark University - Psychology

Laboratory Leaders

Daniel Bialer

Daniel Bialer

Daniel Bialer is a dual JD/PhD student in Law, Psychology and Human Development.  He graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in Psychology in 2015 and from University College London with an MSc in Social Cognition in 2017.  He is interested in the application of research in false memory to legal contexts, especially eyewitness identification.  He currently is working on research examining the relationship between confidence and accuracy in eyewitness identification.   

Minyu Chang

Minyu Chang

Minyu Chang is a PhD student in the Human Development Department. She graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a BSocSc in 2017.  She is interested in false memory, metamemory and aging. She is currently working on examining metamemory illusions using a dual-process approach.

Undergraduate lab leader:

Philip Martinez

Undergraduate lab members:

Amber Haywood
Kyle Biggins
Lina Cheung
Prashasti Upadhyay
Sarah Kim
Shayda Daneshvari
Shupti Biswas
Sydney Katz


Carlos Gomes
Koyuki Nakamura
Sarah Bookbinder
Amber John