ISO (a few good graduate students and post-docs)

I am always searching for a few good people to join me as grad students or post-docs in the CogWorks Laboratory (CWL). Graduate students are easier to support than post-docs, but I have taken post-docs in the past and will likely do so sometime in the future (but no plans or funding to do so right now). If you are interested in working with me, it is best to contact me via email and send me your CV and a brief discussion of how your skill set might fit into what is needed in the CWL. My research focus can still be summarized by the phrases: dynamic decision making, milliseconds matter, and interactive behavior but lately we have transitioned from mostly short term studies to longer term studies of extreme expertise using the expertise distributed among the undergraduate population in games such as Tetris and the Big Data available on the web from games such as League of Legends.

Skills and Expertise: What I am looking for in a grad student or post-doc

Research in cognitive science requires skills and expertise. Many of these you will acquire in grad school but some of these are things it would be good to have before you arrive. Some of the skills needed by Grad Students or Post-Docs in the CogWorks Laboratory are those that our Department lists as Math and Science Requirements for our undergraduate Cognitive Science Major. These include: Other skills are those that we use in our daily work in the lab. These include:

I realize that this list is a bit off-putting but do not despair! Few (any? none?) of the CogWorkers come to the lab already equipped with these sets of skills and none come to the lab with expertise in all of them. However, if this list scares you, if you do not think you will be able to acquire skills, as needed, in these areas, then perhaps you should consider another graduate program.

Please note that I am looking for a new graduate student or post-doc to start in Fall 2017. If after reading this page, my research overviews, and browsing the other material (such as reading lists from recent seminars and current publications) you think you may be interested in joining us, please send an email to me at:

Also, note that I am especially interested in recruiting female students and students who represent historically underrepresented minorities.

In much of my research, we proceed by building simulated task environments (Gray 2002). Simulated task environments may be as complex as a flight simulator or may be as simple as a VCR (Gray, 2000). In recent years, we have begun studying the real-time, immediate behavior, cognitive skills required by video games such as Tetris® and Space Fortress. Our switch to video games has been driven by the realization that the college population at Rensselaer consists of many people who are experts or even extreme experts at such tasks. This helps us to avoid the paradox of the laboratory researcher; namely, the conundrum that:

  • In field research there is too much complexity to allow for definite conclusions; whereas, in laboratory research there is too little complexity to allow for interesting conclusions (Brehmer & Dörner, 1993)
  • Back to Wayne Gray's home page / To Gray's Downloadable Publications Page . / The CogWorks Lab Cognitive Science Department


    Last changed: 2016-11-09 wdg