Department of Psychology

Dale Cohen

faculty photo
Educational background and contact information

Dr. Dale Cohen, Professor

Ph.D. & M.A. University of Virginia, 1993
B.A. & B.F.A. Alfred University, New York

Teaching Lab Building, Room 3082

601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403

(910) 962-3917 | | lab website

Everyday, we make hundreds of decisions.  Most of those decisions are mundane.  For example, we may decide what to eat for breakfast, or which route to take to work or school.  Other decisions are more consequential: Who to date, whether to go to the doctor, and who to vote for in the next election.  

I research how we make decisions.  I have developed a theory that predicts decisions in a large number of situations:  Psychological Value Theory (PVT).  PVT predicts dating decisions, moral judgments, health decisions, economic decisions, and more.  

I also research numbers.  I'm interested in how people perceive and derive meaning from numbers. Information is often presented as a number.  But numbers are symbols, and symbols are deceptive.  Their meaning appears obvious, but we misunderstand them without realizing it. This often leads to bad or biased decisions.  So, my research on numerical cognition also informs my research on decision making.  

I study how people make art.  I like art and I have a fine arts degree. 

To see my full list of publications, please visit my Google Scholar page.

Below are some select publications that may be of interest:

Cohen, D. J., Cromley, A. R., Freda, K. E., & White, M. (2021). Psychological value theory: The psychological value of human lives and economic goods. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Advance online publication.

Cohen, D. J., Blanc‐Goldhammer, D., & Quinlan, P. T. (2018). A mathematical model of how people solve most variants of the number‐line task. Cognitive Science, 42(8), 2621-2647.

Cohen, D. J., & Quinlan, P.T. (2016). How Numbers Mean: Comparing random walk models of numerical cognition varying both encoding processes and underlying quantity representations. Cognitive Psychology, 91, 63-81.

Cohen, D.J., & Ahn, M. (2016). A subjective utilitarian model of moral reasoning.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(10), 1359-1381.

Cohen, D. J., Blanc-Goldhammer, D. (2011). Numerical Bias in Bounded and Unbounded Number Line Tasks. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 18, 331-338.

Berliner, T., & Cohen, D. J. (2011). The Illusion of Continuity:  Active Perception and the Classical Editing System. Journal of Film and Video, 63, 44-63.

Cohen, D. J. (2009). Integers do not automatically activate their quantity representation.  Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 16, 332-336. ttps://

Cohen, D. J., & Bennett, S. (1997). Why can’t most people draw what they see? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 23, 609-621.