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


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I am an Associate Professor at the School of Psychology and Artificial Intelligence at Radboud University Nijmegen. I lead the Computational Cognitive Science  group at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour.

I obtained my Masters degree in Experimental Psychology at Radboud University and my PhD degree in Cognitive Psychology at University of Victoria, Canada. Previously, I was a postdoctoral fellow and Assistant Professor at Eindhoven University of Technology in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

My research interests span the cognitive sciences, including psychology, philosophy, artificial intelligence and cognitive neuroscience. I’m particularly fascinated by the computational scope and limits of 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., 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

Otworowska, M., Blokpoel, M., Sweers, M., Wareham, T., & van Rooij, I. (2017). Demons of ecological rationality. Cognitive Science, online first, 19.

Kwisthout, J., Wareham, T., & van Rooij, I. (2011). Bayesian intractability is not an ailment that approximation can cure. Cognitive Science, 35(5), 779-784.

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
Montessorilaan 3
6525 HR Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)24 3612645
Fax: +31 (0)24 3616066
Room: Spinozabuilding B.1.20
Email: i.vanrooij (either @donders.ru.nl and/or @me.com)