Jeffrey K. Bye

Jeffrey K. Bye

Lecturer, Educational Psychology

University of Minnesota


I am a Lecturer in the Educational Psychology department at the University of Minnesota, as well as a Research Associate with the Research Methodology Consulting Center, and a Research Scientist in the Math & Numeracy Lab.

My academic background is grounded in cognitive science and experimental psychology. As an undergraduate at Pomona College, I received a BA in Cognitive Science with a subconcentration in Computer Science and minor in Philosophy. I then received my MA and PhD in Cognitive Psychology at UCLA, with a specialization in Computational Cognition.

My research blends cognitive science, learning science, and educational psychology approaches to understanding how people learn and think about math and data. I also love teaching, and have taught over 20 classes as instructor or teaching assistant. During graduate school, I was president of Psychology in Action, where I also blogged and organized five interdisciplinary symposia.


  • Math Learning
  • Mathematical Cognition
  • Causal Learning
  • Open Source Programming
  • Open Science


  • PhD in Cognitive Psychology, 2016

    University of California, Los Angeles

  • MA in Cognitive Psychology, 2011

    University of California, Los Angeles

  • BA in Cognitive Science, 2009

    Pomona College



Lecturer & Research Scientist

College of Education & Human Development,
University of Minnesota

Jan 2019 – Present Minneapolis, MN


Visiting Assistant Professor

Psychology Department, Macalester College

Sep 2018 – Dec 2018 Saint Paul, MN
Taught introductory psychology and cognitive science courses.

Postdoctoral Scholar & Lecturer

Psychology Department, UCLA

Jul 2016 – Jun 2018 Los Angeles, CA

  • Postdoctoral Scholar with Patricia Cheng in the Reasoning Lab researching causal learning and developing multimedia video lessons to teach algebraic concepts.
  • Taught multiple undergraduate classes in cognitive psychology, research methods, and MATLAB programming in the Psychology Department.

Recent Publications

Attention to numerosity varies across individuals and task contexts

When asked to identify one or more matches to a target picture from an array of four options, the frequency with which preschoolers and adults identify a numerosity-based match varies as a function of the features on which the remaining match options are based.

Teaching the purpose and meaning of algebraic variables through systems-of-equations story problems: Multimedia approaches

Varying instructional method across conditions, we developed multimedia story sequences with systems-of-equations problems whose solution requires using variables.

Dynamic mesolimbic dopamine signaling during action sequence learning and expectation violation

Prolonged dopamine concentration changes were detected that ramped up as rats executed each action sequence and declined after earned reward collection. With learning, dopamine concentration began to rise increasingly earlier in the execution of the sequence and ultimately backpropagated away from stereotyped sequence actions, becoming only transiently elevated by the most distal and unexpected reward predictor.

Anticipating an effect from predictive visual sequences: Development of infants’ causal inference from 9 to 18 months

We report an experiment in which 9- to 18-month-old infants viewed visual sequences consisting of three looming shapes, one after another. Half of the sequences (causes) were predictive of an attention-getting reward (effect), and the other half were non-predictive.

Recent Posts

Psychology Classics: Wason Selection Task (Part II)

Part II of the history of the Wason Selection Task and what it tells us about reasoning.

Psychology Classics: Wason Selection Task (Part I)

Part I of the history of the Wason Selection Task and what it tells us about reasoning.

Music Cognition

Short summary of music cognition research.

Desirable Difficulties in Math Teaching

How desirable difficulties apply to math education.

Desirable Difficulties in the Classroom

When making learning harder makes learning last.




An R package with Ethan C. Brown for tidyverse-friendly simulations and power analysis.


  • +1 (612) 301-3067
  • 250 Education Sciences Building, 56 East River Rd, Minneapolis, MN 55455
  • Enter building and go down to level 1, office 167 on the street side.