My research focuses on human cognition, creativity, reasoning, the relation between thinking and technology, and applied behavioural science.
My research has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals and edited books, and I’ve authored a number of research reports for the Bank of Canada. In 2020, our research team was the recipient of two Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada grants that feature unique fusions of applied behavioural science and art/design.
I’ve presented my work at international conferences like The Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, the Society for the Neuroscience of Creativity Conference, and the International Conference on Thinking. I regularly act as a reviewer for academic journals and conferences, and am a member of the Board for the University of Toronto at Mississauga Psychedelic Studies Research Program.
In 2016, we received the Ig Nobel Peace Prize for our paper On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit (Some coverage of the event: The Guardian; Business Insider; Globe and Mail), and I received the 2018 Sheridan College People Award for Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activities (the college’s top institutional honour for excellence in research).
NSERC College-Community Social Innovation Fund (2020)- Community Ideas Factory: Behavioural Insights Unit ($360,000/3 yrs)
NSERC College and Community Innovation Program, Applied Research Rapid Response to COVID-19 Grants (2020)- Optimizing Interventions to Combat COVID-19 Misinformation Online ($75,000/1 yr)
Barr, N., Beaty, R. & Seli, P. (2020). Autonomy and Control Across Cognition: Insights from Creativity, Memory, Mind Wandering, and Reasoning Research. In J.C. Kaufman & D. Preiss (Ed.). Mind Wandering and Creativity. Academic Press: Explorations in Creativity Research Series.
Maloney, E. A., Barr, N., Risko, E. F., & Fugelsang, J. A. (2019). Verbal Working Memory Load Dissociates Common Indices of the Numerical Distance Effect: Implications for the Study of Numerical Cognition. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 5(3), 337-357.
Barr, N. (2018). Intuition, reason, and creativity: An integrative dual-process perspective. In G. Pennycook (Ed.). The New Reflectionism in Cognitive Psychology: Why Reason Matters. Routledge: Current Issues in Thinking and Reasoning Series.
Barr, N. & Pennycook, G. (2018). Why Reason Matters: Connecting Research on Human Reason to the Challenges of the Anthropocene. In G. Pennycook (Ed.). The New Reflectionism in Cognitive Psychology: Why Reason Matters. Routledge: Current Issues in Thinking and Reasoning Series.
Barr, N., Pennycook, G., Stolz, J.A., & Fugelsang, J.A. (2018). Reasoned connections: A dual-process perspective on creative thought. In K. Gilhooley, L. Macchi, & L.J. Ball (Eds.). Insight & Creativity in Problem Solving. Routledge: Current Issues in Thinking and Reasoning Series. (peer-reviewed article adapted for book)
Ralph, B.C.W., Wammes, J., Barr, N., & Smilek, D. (2017). Wandering minds and wavering goals: Examining the relation between mind wandering and grit in everyday life, the laboratory, and the classroom. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(2), 120-132.
Pennycook, G., Cheyne, J.A., Barr, N., Koehler, D.J. & Fugelsang, J.A. (2015) On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit. Judgment and Decision Making, 10, 549-563.
Pennycook, G., Cheyne, J.A., Barr, N., Koehler, D.J. & Fugelsang, J.A. (2016) It’s still bullshit: Reply to Dalton. Judgment and Decision Making, 11, 123-125.
Barr, N., Pennycook, G.*, Stolz, J.A., & Fugelsang, J.A. (2015). The brain in your pocket: Evidence that Smartphones are used to supplant thinking. Computers in Human Behavior. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.02.029 *co-first author
Barr, N., Pennycook, G., Stolz, J.A., & Fugelsang, J.A. (2015). Reasoned Connections: A dual-process perspective on creative thought. Thinking & Reasoning (Special Issue on Insight and Creative Problem Solving). doi:10.1080/13546783.2014.895915
Pennycook, G., Cheyne, J.A., Barr, N., Koehler, D.J. & Fugelsang, J.A. (2014). Cognitive style and religiosity: The role of conflict detection. Memory and Cognition, 42(1), 1-10.
Pennycook, G., Cheyne, J.A., Barr, N., Koehler, D.J. & Fugelsang, J.A. (2013). The role of analytic thinking in moral judgements and values. Thinking & Reasoning (Special Issue on Dual-process Theories), 1-27.