Daniel N. Osherson
Department of Psychology, Green Hall, Princeton University, Princeton NJ 08540.
tel: 609-258-8009. email: osherson@princeton.edu


University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D., 1973, Psychology
University of Pennsylvania, M.A., 1971, Psychology
University of Chicago, B.A., 1970, Psychology

Academic Employment

2003-present Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Princeton University
2000-2003, Professor (joint), Dept. of Computer Science, Rice University
1997-present, Autry Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Rice University
1996-1997, Docente, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan
1995-1997, Director,  Unità di Razionalità e Decisione, San Raffaele, Italy
1991-1994, Director, Institut d'Intelligence Artificielle, Martigny, Switzerland
1978-1991, Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, M.I.T.
1986-1991, Professor, Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy, M.I.T.
1977-78, Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Psychology, U/Pennsylvania
1975-77, Assist. Prof., Dept. of Psychology, U/Pennsylvania
1973-75, Assist. Prof., Dept. of Psychology, Stanford University

Editorial Boards (current)

Information and Computation
Memory & Cognition
Cahiers de Psychologie Cognitive

Research interests

Exploiting lexical databases in automated text processing
Management of subjective estimates of chance
Inductive and abductive logic
Neurobiology of reasoning
Psychology of probabilistic thinking
Concepts and categories
Development of scientific reasoning in children
Adolescents' assessment of risk
Semantics of conditional statements

Selected Publications

Computational Learning Theory

Daniel Osherson and Scott Weinstein. Criteria of language learning. Information and Control, 52:123-138, 1982.

Daniel Osherson, Michael Stob, and Scott Weinstein. Aggregating inductive expertise. Information and Control, 70(1):69-95, 1986.

Daniel Osherson, Michael Stob, and Scott Weinstein. Systems that Learn. M.I.T. Press, Cambridge MA, 1986.

Daniel Osherson, Michael Stob, and Scott Weinstein. Synthesizing inductive expertise. Information and Computation, 77(2):138-161, 1988.

Sanjay Jain, Daniel Osherson, James Royer, and Arun Sharma. Systems that Learn. Second Edition. M.I.T. Press, Cambridge MA, 1999.

Theory of Scientific Discovery

Daniel Osherson and Scott Weinstein. Paradigms of truth-detection. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 18:1-42, 1989.

Daniel Osherson, Michael Stob, and Scott Weinstein. A universal inductive inference machine. Journal of Symbolic Logic, 56(2):661-672, 1991.

Eric Martin and Daniel Osherson. Elements of scientific inquiry. M.I.T. Press, Cambridge MA, 1998.

Eric Martin and Daniel Osherson. Belief revision in the service of scientific discovery. Mathematical Social Sciences, 36(1):57-68, 1998.

Eric Martin and Daniel Osherson. Induction by enumeration. Information and Computation, 171:50-68, 2001.

Eric Martin and Daniel Osherson. On Line Inductive Logic Textbook.  URL: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~osherson/IL/ILpage.htm


Daniel Osherson. Computer Output. Cognition, 20:261-4, 1985.

Daniel Osherson, Michael Stob, and Scott Weinstein. Mechanical learners pay a price for Bayesianism. Journal of Symbolic Logic, 53(4):1245-1251, 1988.

Daniel Osherson and Scott Weinstein. On charitable translation. Philosophical Studies, 56:127-134, 1989.

Haim Gaifman, Daniel Osherson, and Scott Weinstein. A reason for theoretical terms. Erkenntnis, 32:149-159, 1990.

Daniel Osherson and Scott Weinstein. Relevant consequence and scientific discovery. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 22:437-448, 1993.

Eric Martin and Daniel Osherson. Scientific Discovery from the Perspective of Hypothesis Acceptance. Philosophy of Science, 69 (September) 2002

Daniel Osherson and Eric Martin. A psychologist looks hopefully to logic. Logic Colloquium ’00. Edited by Rene Cori, Alexander Razborov, Stevo Todorcevic, and Carol Wood. Lecture Notes in Logic, 2004. Association for Symbolic Logic.


Elliott Lieb, Daniel Osherson, and Scott Weinstein. 2005. Elementary Proof of a Theorem of Jean Ville. http:arxiv.org/PS_cache/cs/pdf/0607/0607054.pdf, July 2006.


Daniel Osherson and Scott Weinstein. 2006. Recognizing Strong Random Reals. Manuscript.


Psychology of Reasoning

Daniel Osherson, Edward E. Smith, Ormand Wilkie, Alexandro Lòpez, and Eldar Shafir. Category based induction. Psychological Review, 97(2):185-200, 1990.

Eldar Shafir, Edward E. Smith, and Daniel Osherson. Typicality and reasoning fallacies. Memory and Cognition, 18(3):229-239, 1990.

Daniel Osherson. Probability judgment. In Edward E. Smith and Daniel Osherson, editors, Invitation to Cognitive Science: Thinking (Second Edition). M.I.T. Press, Cambridge MA, 1995.

Daniel Osherson, Daniela Perani, Stefano Cappa, Tatiana Schnur, Franco Grassi, and Ferruccio Fazio. Distinct brain loci in deductive versus probabilistic reasoning. Neuropsychologia, 36(4):369 - 376, 1998.

Laura Macchi, Daniel Osherson, and David H. Krantz. Superadditive probability judgment. Psychological Review, 106:210-214, 1999.

Lawrence M. Parsons and Daniel Osherson. New evidence for distinct right and left brain systems for deductive vs probabilistic Reasoning. Cerebral Cortex. 2001, Volume 11, Number 10, pages 954-965.

L. C. Idson, D. H. Krantz, D. Osherson, and N. Bonini. The Relation between Probability and Evidence Judgment: An Extension of Support Theory. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 2001.

A. Sides, D. Osherson, N. Bonini and R. Viale. On the reality of the conjunction fallacy. Memory & Cognition, 30(2):191-198, 2002.

S. Blok, D. L. Medin and D. Osherson. Probability from similarity. AAAI Conference on Commonsense reasoning (Stanford University, 2003).

K. Tentori, N. Bonini and D. Osherson. The conjunction fallacy: a misunderstanding about conjunction? Cognitive Science. Volume 28(3), pp. 467-477. 2004.

N. Bonini, K. Tentori and D. Osherson. A different conjunction fallacy. Mind & Language. Volume 19 Issue 2 Page 199  - April 2004

Parsons, LM, Monti, M, Martinez, MJ, Osherson, DN (2004). Brain basis of deduction: Effects of argument validity and content. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 372.4.

Monti, MM, Parsons LM, Martinez MJ, Osherson DN. 2005. Neural Correlates of Deductive Inference: A Language Independent Distributed Network. Cognitive Neuroscience Society Abstracts: E180.


Parsons LM, Monti MM, Martinez MJ, Osherson DN. 2005. Core and Support Neural Mechanisms for Deductive Inference. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts: 877.25.

Katya Tentori, Vincenzo Crupi, Nicolao Bonini, and Daniel Osherson. Comparison of Confirmation Measures.  Cognition. In press.


Sergey Blok, Douglas Medin and Daniel Osherson. From Similarity to Chance. 2005. In Evan Heit and Aidan Feeney (editors) Inductive Reasoning, Cambridge University Press, in press.


Sergey Blok, Douglas Medin and Daniel Osherson. Induction as Conditional Probability Judgment. Memory & Cognition, in press.


Monti MM, Osherson DN and Parsons LM. The effects of content on deduction: a multi-voxel pattern analysis of neural similarity. Poster  presentation at the 2007 CNS Annual meeting in New York.


Katya Tentori, Vincenzo Crupi, and Daniel Osherson. Confirmation may depend on more than probability. Psychonomics Bulletin and Review. In press.


Concepts and Categories

Daniel Osherson and Edward Smith. On the adequacy of prototype theory as a theory of concepts. Cognition, 9:35-58, 1981. (Reprinted in E. Margolis and S. Laurence (eds.), Concepts: Core Readings, MIT Press, 1999.).

Daniel Osherson and Edward E. Smith. Gradedness and conceptual combination. Cognition, 12:299-318, 1982.

Edward E. Smith and Daniel Osherson. Conceptual combination with prototype concepts. Cognitive Science, pages 337-61, 1984. (Reprinted in A.\ Collins. \& E.\ Smith (eds.), Readings in Cognitive Science: Perspectives from Psychology and Artificial Intelligence, Morgan Kaufmann, 1988.).

 Daniel Osherson. New axioms for the contrast model of similarity. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 31(1):93-103, 1987.

Edward E. Smith, Daniel Osherson, Lance Rips, and Margaret Keane. Combining prototypes: A selective modification model. Cognitive Science, 12:485-527, 1988. (Reprinted in E. Margolis and S. Laurence (eds.), Concepts: Core Readings, MIT Press, 1999.).

Daniel Osherson and Edward Smith. On typicality and vagueness. Cognition, 64:189 - 206, 1997.

Nicolao Bonini, Daniel Osherson, Riccardo Viale, and Tim Williamson. On the psychology of vague predicates. Mind and Language, December, 1999, Volume 14(4), pp. 377-393.

Jordan Boyd-Graber, Christiane Fellbaum, Daniel Osherson, and Robert Schapire. Adding Dense, Weighted Connections to WORDNET.  Proceedings of the Third Global WordNet Meeting, Jeju, Korea,  Jan. 2006. Seoul: Korean Advanced Institute of Science.


Vishne T, Levitin D, Osherson D. Music perception among schizophrenia
patients. Presented at the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research,
Colorado 2007.


Daniel Osherson, Michael Stob, and Scott Weinstein. Social learning and collective choice. Synthese, 70:319-347, 1987.

Eldar Shafir, Daniel Osherson, and Edward E. Smith. An advantage model of choice. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 2:1-23, 1989.

Franco Montagna and Daniel Osherson. Learning to coordinate: A recursion theoretic perspective. Synthese, 118(3): 363-382, 1999.

Katya Tentori, Daniel Osherson, Lynn Hasher, and Cynthia May. Wisdom and aging: Irrational preferences in college students but not older adults. Cognition 81/3 (2001), pp. B87-B96.

Martin Monti, Simon Grant and Daniel Osherson. A note on concave utility functions. Mind and Society. 2005. Vol. 4. No. 1. Pp. 85-96.

Language Acquisition

Daniel Osherson and Scott Weinstein. A note on formal learning theory. Cognition, 11:77-88, 1982.

Daniel Osherson, Michael Stob, and Scott Weinstein. Learning theory and natural language. Cognition, 17(1):1-28, 1984.(Reprinted in Robert Matthews (ed.), Language Acquisition and Learnability, Reidel, 1990.).

Daniel Osherson and Scott Weinstein. On the study of first language acquisition. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 39(2):129 - 145, 1995.

Cognitive Development

Daniel Osherson. Organization of Length and Class Concepts: Empirical Consequences of a Piagetan Formalism. John Wiley, New York, NY, 1974.

Daniel Osherson. Logic and models of logical thinking. In R. J. Falmagne (ed.), Reasoning: Representation and Process. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, 1975.

Daniel Osherson and Ellen Markman. Language and the ability to evaluate contradictions and tautologies. Cognition, 3(3):213-226, 1975.

Yafen Lo, Ashley Sides, Joseph Rozelle, and Daniel Osherson. Evidential diversity and premise probability in young children's inductive judgment, Cognitive Science 26 (2002), pp. 181-206.

Knowledge Engineering

Randy Batsell, Lyle Brenner, Daniel Osherson, Moshe Vardi, Spyros Tsvachidis. Eliminating Incoherence from Subjective Estimates of Chance. Proceedings of the Ninth International Workshop on Knowledge Representation, 2002.

Daniel Osherson and Moshe Vardi. Aggregating disparate estimates of chance. Games and Economic Behavior. July 2006, Pages 148-173.


J. B. Predd, S. R. Kulkarni, H. V. Poor and D. Osherson. Scalable Algorithms for Aggregating Disparate Forecasts of Probability.  Ninth International Conference on Information Fusion, Florence, Italy, July 10-13, 2006



Richard Grandy and Daniel Osherson. Sentential Logic for Psychologists. Textbook. (Available through http://www.princeton.edu/~osherson)

Daniel Osherson (General Editor),
An Invitation to Cognitive Science (second edition)
Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press, 1995


Volume 1

L. R. Gleitman & M, Liberman (eds)



Volume 2

M. Kosslyn & D. Osherson (eds)

Visual Cognition

Volume 3

E. E. Smith & D. Osherson (eds)


Volume 4

S. Sternberg & D. Scarborough (eds)

Conceptual Foundations

Eric Martin and Daniel Osherson. On Line Inductive Logic Textbook.  URL: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~osherson/IL/ILpage.htm

(Available through http://www.princeton.edu/~osherson)

Osherson, D. “Order Dependence and Jeffrey Conditionalization.” 2002

Osherson, D. “No Method of Ampliative Inference Respects Conditionalization.” 2002

Osherson, D. “Note on an observation by Neil Tennant.” 2005

Recent Teaching


2003 – 2004: Two undergraduate courses plus the Graduate Proseminar in Cognitive Psychology.


2004 – 2006:

  • Psychology 214 (Human Self-Identity in the Age of Neuroscience and Computer Science (The “Luce Course”), Autumn
  • Psychology 255 (Cognitive Psychology), Spring


Recent Funding


National Science Foundation, Division of Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS), Information and Data Management (IDM). Constructing Probability Models for Large Corpora of Well-Informed but Probabilistically Incoherent Judgments. (9/00 – 8/04) (including one year extension).


National Science Foundation, Division of Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS),
section "Human Language and Communication." Constructing an Enhanced Version of WordNet. 9/04 – 8/-5. Amount: $100,000.


The Henry Luce Foundation (ongoing)


With Robert Schapire and Christiane Fellbaum: Google Corporation: Two years of funding for a Computer Science graduate student. Obtained in 2005.


Recent Service


Faculty Associate at Forbes College.

Committee on the Library and Computing


Recent Talks

Rutgers University Business School. Random Reals and Ville’s Theorem. 2005.