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 Affiliate Faculty of the Learning Informatics Lab and Faculty Member of the Center for Cognitive Sciences.

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 as instructor or teaching assistant for over 10 years. 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 (Computational Cognition), 2016

    University of California, Los Angeles

  • MA in Cognitive Psychology, 2011

    University of California, Los Angeles

  • BA in Cognitive Science, 2009

    Pomona College




Department of Educational Psychology,
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

Causal invariance as a tacit aspiration: Analytic knowledge of invariance functions

Given the same prior knowledge and training data, people make different intuitive causal judgments according to their perception of the outcome variable type as either continuous or binary. Our causal invariance hypothesis explains why this reasoning is adaptive to our representation-dependent mind.

Categorical Perception of p-Values

Statistically trained graduate students are more likely to judge two p-values as being different (vs. similar) when they cross the traditional .05 significance boundary (e.g., .046 vs. .052), compared to when they did not (.026 vs. .032), after controlling for known numerical cognition effects. This is consistent with a categorical perception effect for p-values at the .05 boundary.

The role of clustering in the efficient solution of small Traveling Salesperson Problems

We report an experiment in which U.S. undergraduate participants completed the same Traveling Salesperson Problem instances twice. On average, participants produced 77% of the same tour edges across solutions, with higher reliability when TSP problems had higher cluster structure.

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 (i.e., how salient they are).

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.

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.