Welcome on my homepage! Have a look around and contact me if you wish.


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Iris_photo_homepagePhoto: David van Haren

I am Professor of Computational Cognitive Science at the School of Artificial Intelligence in the Faculty of Social Sciences at Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. I am Principal Investigator at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and lead the Computational Cognitive Science research group.

For the next few years, I am also a Guest Professor at the Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science, and Semiotics, and the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University, Denmark. I will be visiting regularly to set up collaborations in education and research.

I obtained my Masters degree in 1998 in Experimental Psychology at Radboud University and my PhD degree in 2003 in Cognitive Psychology at University of Victoria, Canada. From 2003-2006 I was a postdoctoral fellow and from 2006-2007 Assistant Professor at Eindhoven University of Technology in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

My research interests lie at the interface of psychology, philosophy and theoretical computer science. I’m particularly fascinated by the computational scope and limits of cognition (including scientists’ cognition).

You can also find me on twitter: @irisvanrooij

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My research focuses on the computational foundations of cognitive science.


Many of our best theories of cognition posit intractable (NP-hard) computations. One of my research goals is analyzing the nature and causes of this intractability in order to deepen our understanding of the computational scope and limits of cognition.

Formal modeling

In my investigations I consider all major modeling approaches in cognitive science, including symbolic, neural network, probabilistic/Bayesian, dynamical, heuristic, robotic, agent– and logic-based models of cognition.

Complex cognition

I study various cognitive capacities that pose substantial computational challenges. These include intentional communication, analogy, problem solving, abduction (or inference to the best explanation), adaptive decision-making, social cognition.



Click on photo for an interview about my research (`making invisible problems visible ‘).
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Selected publications

van Rooij, I., & Baggio, G. (2021). Theory before the test: How to build high-verisimilitude explanatory theories in psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 16(4) 682–697.

van Rooij, I., Blokpoel, M., Kwisthout, J., Wareham, T. (2019). Intractability and Cognition: A guide to classical and parameterized complexity analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

van Rooij, I., Wright, C., Kwisthout, J., & Wareham, T. (2018). Rational analysis, intractability, and the prospects of ‘as if’-explanations. Synthese, 195(2), 491–510

van Rooij, I., Evans, P., Müller, M., Gedge, J. & Wareham, T. (2008). Identifying sources of intractability in cognitive models: An illustration using analogical structure mapping. In B. C Love, K. McRae, and V . M. Sloutsky (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society (pp. 915-920).

van Rooij, I. (2008). The Tractable Cognition thesis. Cognitive Science, 32, 939-984.

See my Publications page for a complete list.

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Iris van Rooij
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour
Centre for Cognition
Radboud University Nijmegen
Thomas van Aquinostraat 4
6525 GD Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Room: MM 03.375
Email: iris.vanrooij (when using @donders.ru.nl) or i.vanrooij (when using @me.com)