NATHAN WHEELER

nathan

BSc, University of Missouri-Columbia (2016)
MA, University of Toronto (2018)

Imagine someone who considers themselves somewhat intelligent has just made a stupid mistake. In reconciling their blunder, they have two choices. Either they can update their prior understanding of their intelligence to become more complex, admitting, for example, that they sometimes make stupid mistakes. Or they can find some way to excuse the blunder for the sake of reinforcing their prior belief in their own intelligence. The choice they make will shape their future conception of themselves and how they deal with similarly averse information in the future. Thus understanding the mechanisms that shape our resolution of dissonant information, as well as the factors that influence this resolution one way or the other is essential to understanding optimal decision-making and well-being in a world that does not pander to our beliefs. For this reason, my primary research interest is to study the mechanisms that direct our resolution of prediction errors, and the affective and motivational components and consequences of this resolution.