Keith Holyoak


Distinguished Professor
Ph.D.: Stanford University
Primary Area: Cognitive Psychology
Address: 7542 Pritzker Hall
Phone: (310) 206-1646
Lab Website:

Research and Teaching Interests:

Keith J. Holyoak conducts research in human reasoning, learning, decision making, and problem solving. Much of his work is concerned with the role of analogy in thinking. One of the major themes is the way in which analogy serves as a psychological mechanism for learning and transfer of knowledge. More broadly, Dr. Holyoak conducts research on the nature of the relational knowledge that underlies analogy, causal learning, and deduction. He investigates how relational knowledge is used to reason in domains ranging from law and politics to matematics and science. Dr. Holyoak’s research combines studies of thinking in normal adults with computational modeling and neuroimaging. A central focus is on the role of the prefrontal cortex in complex human reasoning.

Dr. Holyoak has published over 200 scientific papers, and is co-author or editor of several books, including Induction: Processes of Inference, Learning and Discovery (MIT Press, 1986), Mental Leaps: Analogy in Creative Thought (MIT Press, 1995), The Analogical Mind (MIT Press, 2001), Oxford Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning (Oxford University Press, 2012), and The Spider’s Thread: Metaphor in Mind, Brain, and Poetry (MIT Press, 2019).

Curriculum Vitae

Publications at reasoninglab website