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Cynthia Sifonis, Ph.D.


Associate Professor
Office: 222 Pryale Hall
Phone: 248-370-4680
Fax: 248-370-4612
E-mail: [email protected]

Major Field
Cognitive psychology: Category Learning/Use; Creativity; Analogy

B.A. Bemidji State University
M.S. Texas A&M University
Ph.D Texas A&M University

Research Interests
The relationship between category representation and category use. Specifically, the manner in which the use of category knowledge affects the representation of that knowledge and how the category representation affects category use.

Creativity: How concepts and categories are used when creating novel products and how examples constrain creativity when viewed immediately before generating new ideas.

Analogy: How a person's understanding and representation of a problem interact with the characteristics of the prior knowledge during analogical problem solving.

My graduate training at Texas A&M University emphasized the creative cognition approach to creativity. This approach examines how people use normal cognitive processes such as analogy and their knowledge of the world they live in to produce creative products and ideas.

Following graduation, I took the opportunity to further refine my research skills in the area of Cognitive Science with two years of post-doctoral training at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

During the past ten years, I have used these skills daily to further both basic and applied laboratory research examining the various factors influencing the creative process. A main area of focus for this research is determining the processes underlying analogical reasoning and how people use existing knowledge to innovate.

Other Interests
I love exploring the use of new technologies to improve my pedagogy. I podcast my classes:
Creativity and Innovation
Research Method and Design
Cognitive Psychology
Here is information on how to create your own podcast.
I am also exploring the use of the virtual world of Second Life in my creativity class.
For more information about Second Life visit my Second Life Links page

Other Information
I have a blog - the Creativity and Analogy blog in which I discuss some of the things that I find interesting.

External Web Links

  • Research Methods Main Page (Psy 250)
  • Basic Psychological Processes Main Page (Psy 215)
  • Cognitive Psychology Main Page (Psy 316)
  • Creativity and Innovation Main Page (Psy 305 /Ent 305)

Department of Psychology

Pryale Hall, Room 111
654 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2300
Fax: (248) 370-4612