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Dr Aidan Feeney

Photo of Aidan Feeney

Senior Lecturer



Room 02.518, David Keir Building
School of Psychology
Queen's University Belfast
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK


+44 (0)28 9097 4299

I finished my first degree at Trinity College Dublin in 1992, and after a year spent in France, went to the Centre for Thinking and Language at the University of Plymouth where I was awarded a PhD in 1997. In 1998 I moved to the University of Durham where I was first a lecturer, and then from 2005, a senior lecturer. I came to Queen’s in February 2009.

School of Psychology Administrative Roles

  • Director of Education

PSY3089 Psychology of Thinking


Member of the Cognition, Development and Education Research Cluster

I am interested in high-level cognition. I study both how we make inductive generalisations from specific examples, and how we reason deductively. I am also interested in how we think about counterfactual alternatives to reality, and how consideration of those alternatives is related to the experience of regret. I am involved in projects on the development of thinking and I have studied how the ability to generalise develops. I am also interested in linguistic pragmatics and in how sensitivity to certain types of pragmatic inference emerges during the course of development, as well as how politeness considerations impact on implicature detection in adults. My work has been funded by several grants from the ESRC and from the British Council in Paris.

I have collaborators in the UK (Simon Handley, University of Plymouth; David Over, University of Durham), France ( Jean- Francois Bonnefon, CNRS Toulouse), and North America (Evan Heit, University of California, Merced; John Coley, Northeastern University; Patrick Shafto, University of Louisville).


Feeney, A. & Heit, E. (Eds.). (2007). Inductive reasoning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Selected Recent Journal Articles, Book Chapters and Commentaries

Feeney, A. & Handley, S.J. (in press). Suppositions, conditionals, and causal claims. To appear in C. Hoerl & T. McCormack (Eds.) Understanding Counterfactuals and Causation: Issues in Philosophy and Psychology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

McNair, S. & Feeney, A. (in press). Norms and high-level cognition: Consequences, trends and antidotes. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Feeney, A. & Heit, E. (2011). Features of the diversity effect in category-based inductive reasoning. Thinking and Reasoning, 17, 156-181.

Feeney, A., Coley, J.D. & Crisp, A.K. (2010). The relevance framework for category-based induction: Evidence from garden path arguments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 36, 906-916.

Feeney, A. & Crisp, A.K. (2010). A conjunction of fallacies: What different types of causal conjunction error reveal about dual processes for thinking. In K. Manktelow, D.E. Over & S. Elqayam (Eds.), The science of reason: A Festschrift for Jonathan St. B.T. Evans. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Crisp, A.K. & Feeney, A. (2009). Causal conjunction fallacies: The roles of causal strength and mental resources. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62, 2320-2337.

Atkinson, L., Bell, D. & Feeney, A. (2009). The relationship between counterfactual thinking and emotional reactions to event outcomes: Does one account fit all? Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 16, 724-728.

Bonnefon, J.F., Feeney, A. & Villejoubert, G. (2009). When some is actually all: Scalar inferences in face-threatening contexts. Cognition, 112, 249-258.

Davison, I.M. & Feeney, A. (2008). Regret as autobiographical memory. Cognitive Psychology, 57, 385-403.

Feeney, A., Crisp, A.K. & Wilburn C.J. (2008). Inductive reasoning and semantic cognition: More than just different names for the same thing? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 31, 715-716.

Feeney, A., Evans, J,St.B.T. & Venn, S. (2008). Rarity, pseudodiagnosticity and Bayesian reasoning. Thinking and Reasoning, 14, 209-230.

Feeney, A. & Wilburn, C.J. (2008). Deciding between theories of how reasoning develops is hard. Cognition, 108, 507-511.

Wilburn, C.J. & Feeney, A. (2008). Do development and learning really decrease memory? On similarity and category-based induction in adults and children. Cognition, 106, 1451-1464.

Feeney, A. (2007a). How many processes underlie category-based induction? Effects of conclusion specificity and cognitive ability. Memory & Cognition, 35, 1830-1839.

Feeney, A. (2007b). Individual differences, dual processes, and induction. In A. Feeney & E. Heit (Eds.), Inductive Reasoning (pp 302-327). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Feeney, A., Shafto, P. & Dunning, D. (2007). Who is susceptible to conjunction fallacies in category-based induction? Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 14, 884-889.

Handley, S.J. & Feeney, A. (2007a). Representation, pragmatics and process in model-based reasoning. In W. Schaeken, A. Vandierendonck, W. Schroyens, & G. d’Ydewalle (Eds.), The Mental Models theory of Reasoning: Refinement and Extensions (pp. 25-52). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Handley, S.J. & Feeney, A. (2007b). Semi-factual: Byrne’s account of even-if. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 30, 458-459.

Selected Recent Refereed Conference Proceedings and Book Reviews

Bonnefon, J. F., De Neys, W., & Feeney, A. (2011). Processing scalar inferences in face-threatening contexts. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Crisp-Bright, A.K. & Feeney, A. (2010). The effects of domain and type of knowledge on category-based induction. In Camtrabone, R. & Ohlsson, S. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Feeney, A. & Heit, E. (2010). Does all thinking involve the same different processes? Review of Evans, J.St.B.T. Hypothetical thinking: Dual processes in reasoning and judgement. American Journal of Psychology, 123, 121-124.

Dr Aidan Feeney's Full Publications List