Keith Holyoak

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Keith James Holyoak
Keith Holyoak.jpg
Keith Holyoak
Born (1950-01-16) January 16, 1950 (age 71)
Alma materUniversity of British Columbia,
Stanford University
Scientific career
Fieldscognitive science
Doctoral advisorGordon H. Bower

Keith James Holyoak (born January 16, 1950) is a Canadian-American researcher in cognitive psychology and cognitive science, working on human thinking and reasoning. Holyoak's work focuses on the role of analogy in thinking.[1] His work showed how analogy can be used to enhance learning of new abstract concepts by both children and adults,[2] as well as how reasoning breaks down in cases of brain damage.[3]

Holyoak is also a poet. He has published four collections of his own poems, My Minotaur, Foreigner, The Gospel According to Judas, and Oracle Bones, as well as a collection of translations of classical Chinese poetry by Li Bai and Du Fu, Facing the Moon.


Holyoak was born in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, in 1950. He received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 1971, and his PhD in Psychology from Stanford University in 1976. His doctoral advisor was Gordon Bower.

He was on the faculty of the University of Michigan from 1976 to 1986, and then joined the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles, where he is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology.

He served as Chair of the Governing Board of the Cognitive Science Society (1994–95) and Editor of the journals Cognitive Psychology (1995–99) and Psychological Review (from 2016). Holyoak is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1991,[4] and a James McKeen Cattell Fellowship in 1999. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association for Psychological Science, the Cognitive Science Society, and the Society of Experimental Psychologists.

Books and recordings[edit]

Cognitive science[edit]

  • Holyoak, K. J. (2019). The Spider’s Thread: Metaphor in Mind, Brain, and Poetry. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, ISBN 978-0-26-203922-2.
  • Holland, J.H., Holyoak, K.J., Nisbett, R.E., & Thagard, P. (1986). Induction: Processes of Inference, Learning, and Discovery. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, ISBN 0-262-58096-9.


Selected publications[edit]

  • Mental leaps: Analogy in creative thought.[5]
  • Analogical problem solving[6]
  • Schema induction and analogical transfer[7]
  • Induction: Processes of Inference, Learning, and Discovery[8]
  • Pragmatic reasoning schemas[9]
  • Analogical mapping by constraint satisfaction[10]


  1. ^ Gick, M. L., & Holyoak, K. J. (1980). "Analogical Problem Solving." Cognitive Psychology 12: 306-355.
  2. ^ Richland, L. E., Zur, O., & Holyoak, K. J. (2007). "Cognitive Supports for Analogy in the Mathematics Classroom." Science 316: 1128-1129.
  3. ^ Waltz, J. A., et al. (1999). "A System for Relational Reasoning in Human Prefrontal Cortex." Psychological Science 10: 119-125.
  4. ^ See list of Guggenheim Fellows on the Guggenheim Foundation website.
  5. ^ "PsycNET". Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  6. ^ Gick, Mary L.; Holyoak, Keith J. (1980-07-01). "Analogical problem solving". Cognitive Psychology. 12 (3): 306–355. doi:10.1016/0010-0285(80)90013-4. hdl:2027.42/23210. ISSN 0010-0285.
  7. ^ Gick, Mary L.; Holyoak, Keith J. (1983-01-01). "Schema induction and analogical transfer" (PDF). Cognitive Psychology. 15 (1): 1–38. doi:10.1016/0010-0285(83)90002-6. hdl:2027.42/25331. ISSN 0010-0285.
  8. ^ Holland, J. H.; Holyoak, K. J.; Nisbett, R. E.; Thagard, P. R.; Smoliar, S. W. (1987). "Induction: Processes of Inference, Learning, and Discovery". IEEE Expert. 2 (3): 92–93. doi:10.1109/MEX.1987.4307100. ISSN 0885-9000.
  9. ^ Cheng, Patricia W; Holyoak, Keith J (1985-10-01). "Pragmatic reasoning schemas". Cognitive Psychology. 17 (4): 391–416. doi:10.1016/0010-0285(85)90014-3. hdl:2027.42/25556. ISSN 0010-0285. PMID 4064622. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Holyoak, Keith J.; Thagard, Paul (1989). "Analogical Mapping by Constraint Satisfaction". Cognitive Science. 13 (3): 295–355. doi:10.1207/s15516709cog1303_1. ISSN 1551-6709.

External links[edit]