Thomas C Ormerod

Thomas C Ormerod
University of Sussex · School of Psychology

BSc, MSc, PhD

About

123
Publications
60,421
Reads
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4,087
Citations
Citations since 2017
31 Research Items
1482 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
Additional affiliations
April 1994 - September 2013
Lancaster University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
October 1989 - March 1994
Loughborough University
Position
  • Lecturer in Ergonomics
Education
October 1983 - June 1987
Sunderland Polytechnic
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (123)
Article
Full-text available
Objective Develop and investigate the potential of a remote, computer-mediated and synchronous text-based triage, which we refer to as InSort, for quickly highlighting persons of interest after an insider attack. Background Insiders maliciously exploit legitimate access to impair the confidentiality and integrity of organizations. The globalisatio...
Article
Full-text available
Assuring the best interests of the child (BIC) in child custody cases after parental separation is a hard task for the legal actors involved. Many factors play a role by modifying and shaping legal decision- making processes. Depending on the dynamic of such factors, the decision-making process can be more or less difficult. This paper presents a n...
Article
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A preservação dos melhores interesses da criança/adolescente (MICA) nos casos de disputa de guarda e convivência após a separação conjugal é uma tarefa difícil para os atores jurídicos envolvidos nesses casos. Existem alguns fatores que desempenham um papel significativo nesse contexto, ao modificar e/ou moldar o processo legal e o processo de toma...
Article
Full-text available
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Preprint
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This article presents a new interpretation of the structure of subjective Bayesian probability spaces. Rather than assuming the linear space of classical statistical theory, it is proposed that Bayes' theorem demands a curved, non-linear probability space. This finding challenges over 250 years of accepted assumptions about Bayes Theorem and necess...
Article
Aviation security measures rely on public acceptance of the trade-off between civil liberties and public protection. Currently, all aviation passengers travelling to the US on an American carrier from non-U.S. locations undergo screening interview based on detection of suspicious signs, an approach which is not supported by psychological research....
Article
Understanding whether a person of interest is being truthful during an investigative interview is a constant challenge and is of concern to numerous criminal justice professionals, most of whom are not involved in conducting the interview itself. Here, we investigated police observers’ veracity detection performance having viewed interviews with tr...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter addresses Bronfenbrenner's Bioecological Theory applied to child custody after parental separation. It is argued that 'the best interests of the child' principle is, essentially, a developmental construct and that the best approach to it would be a bioecological one.
Article
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Despite widespread recognition that coercive methods for intelligence gathering are unethical and counterproductive, there is an absence of empirical evidence for effective alternatives. We compared 2 noncoercive methods-the Modified Cognitive Interview (MCI) and Controlled Cognitive Engagement (CCE)-adapted for intelligence gathering by adding a m...
Article
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Os melhores interesses da criança/adolescente (PMICA) devem ser considerados primordialmente em qualquer situação que envolva crianças/ adolescentes. Assim, o PMICA é comumente adotado como princípio, doutrina ou recurso para ponderar a tomada de decisão envolvendo crianças/adolescentes. Este estudo consiste em uma revisão integrativa da literatura...
Article
Full-text available
The best interests of the child (BIC) should be of primary consideration in any situation involving children. Thus, BIC is commonly adopted as a principle, doctrine or test to weight decision-making regarding children. This study consists of an integrative literature review of English and Portuguese publications aimed at investigating how various s...
Article
Full-text available
Asking unanticipated questions in investigative interviews can elicit differences in the verbal behaviour of truth-tellers and liars: When faced with unanticipated questions, liars give less detailed and consistent responses than truth-tellers. Do such differences in verbal behaviour lead to an improvement in the accuracy of interviewers’ veracity...
Data
Post-interview question anticipation questionnaire given to interviewees in the anticipated question condition. (DOCX)
Data
Post-interview question anticipation questionnaire given to interviewees in the planning question condition. (DOCX)
Data
Question used for anticipated, unanticipated planning and unicipated spatial and temporal conditions. (DOCX)
Data
Post-interview questionnaire given to the interviewer. (DOC)
Data
Post-interview questionnaire given to the interviewee. (DOCX)
Data
Post-interview question anticipation questionnaire given to interviewees in the spatial/temporal question condition. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
It is a widely held belief that questioning vulnerable witnesses is a specialist skill. In England and Wales vulnerable witness advocacy training built around ‘20 Principles’ has been developed and is being delivered. The 20 Principles do not cite a tested theoretical framework(s) or empirical evidence in support. This paper considers whether the 2...
Article
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Two studies explored triage decision-making in a welfare fraud investigation, specifically decisions concerning what evidence to collect when deciding whether to pursue a case to prosecution or to issue a warning only. An observational study revealed that triage decisions appear to be determined by subjective estimates of the ease of evidence colle...
Article
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Recently, Henry et al. (2017) found no evidence for the use of Verbal labels, Sketch Reinstatement of Context and Registered Intermediaries by forensic practitioners when interviewing children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. We consider their claims, noting the limited ecological validity of the experimental paradigm, the impacts of r...
Article
Despite analogy playing a central role in theories of problem solving, learning and education, demonstrations of spontaneous analogical transfer are rare. Here, we present a theory of heuristic change for spontaneous analogical transfer, tested in four experiments that manipulated the experience of failure to solve a source problem prior to attempt...
Article
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Objective To study decision making by detectives when investigating serious crime through the examination of decision logs to explore hypothesis generation and evidence selection. Background Decision logs are used to record and justify decisions made during serious crime investigations. The complexity of investigative decision making is well docume...
Article
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The success of witness interviews in the criminal justice system depends on the accuracy of information obtained, which is a function of both amount and quality of information. Attempts to enhance witness retrieval such as mental reinstatement of context have been designed with typically developed adults in mind. In this article, the relative benef...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to calculate precise likelihood ratios is fundamental to many STEM areas, such as decision-making theory, biomedical science, and engineering. However, there is no assumption-free statistical methodology to achieve this. For instance, in the absence of data relating to covariate overlap, the widely used Bayes' theorem either defaults to...
Article
Full-text available
Analogical problem solving requires using a known solution from one problem to apply to a related problem. Sleep is known to have profound effects on memory and information restructuring, and so we tested whether sleep promoted such analogical transfer, determining whether improvement was due to subjective memory for problems, subjective recognitio...
Article
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Deficits in episodic free-recall memory performance have been reported in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), yet best practice dictates that child witness/victim interviews commence with a free-recall account. No ‘tools’ exist to support children with ASD to freely recall episodic information. Here, the efficacy of a novel retrieval tech...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence for incubation effects in problem-solving is increasing, but the mechanisms that underlie incubation are unclear. An experiment tested two hypotheses about incubation: Spreading activation and opportunistic assimilation. Participants solved easy or difficult remote associates tasks without incubation period, or with an incubation period fi...
Article
Full-text available
Current aviation security systems identify behavioral indicators of deception to assess risks to flights, but they lack a strong psychological basis or empirical validation. We present a new method that tests the veracity of passenger accounts. In an in vivo double-blind randomized-control trial conducted in international airports, security agents...
Article
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The act of conducting an insider attack carries with it cognitive and social challenges that may affect an offender's day-to-day work behavior. We test this hypothesis by examining the language used in e-mails that were sent as part of a 6-hr workplace simulation. The simulation involved participants (N = 54) examining databases and exchanging info...
Article
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Planning is fundamental to successful problem solving, yet individuals sometimes fail to plan even one step ahead when it lies within their competence to do so. In this article, we report two experiments in which we explored variants of a ball-weighing puzzle, a problem that has only two steps, yet nonetheless yields performance consistent with a f...
Article
Full-text available
Research examining detection of verbal deception reveals that lay observers generally perform at chance. Yet, in the criminal justice system, laypersons that have not undergone specialist investigative training are frequently called upon to make veracity judgements (e.g., solicitors; magistrates; juries). We sought to improve performance by manipul...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has shown that performance on problem solving improves over a period of sleep, as compared with wakefulness. However, these studies have not determined whether sleep is beneficial for problem solving or whether sleep merely mitigates against interference due to an interruption to solution attempts. Sleep-dependent improvements hav...
Article
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Lee and Vickers (2000) suggest that the results of Mac-Gregor and Ormerod (1996), showing that the response uncertainty to traveling salesperson problems (TSPs) increases with increasing numbers of nonboundary points, may have resulted as an artifact of constraints imposed in the construction of stimuli. The fact that similar patterns of results ha...
Article
Preference reversals are frequently observed in the lab, but almost all designs use completely transparent prospects, which are rarely features of decision making elsewhere. This raises questions of external validity. We test the robustness of the phenomenon to gambles that incorporate realistic ambiguity in both payoffs and probabilities. In addit...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we discuss three crime contexts in which expert investigators undertake sense-making, a critical component of decision-making expertise. The first context, initial assessment in criminal investigations, illustrates the process of explanation-building. We present preliminary results showing how salient cues elicit legally-defined scrip...
Book
This book presents the latest work in the area of naturalistic decision making (NDM) and its extension into the area of macrocognition. It contains 18 chapters relating research centered on the study of expertise in naturalistic settings, written by international experts in NDM and cognitive systems engineering. The objective of the book is to pres...
Article
An experimental mock eyewitness study is reported that compared Free and reverse order recall of an empirically informed scripted crime event. Proponents of reverse order recall suggest it facilitates recovery of script incidental information and increases the total amount of information recalled. However, compared with free recall it was found to...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper reports the DScenT (Detecting Scent Trails) project, which brought together technologists and behavioural scientists to design and evaluate novel methods for countering terrorism in public places. Through a mixture of prototyping and empirical evaluations, we developed and assessed an immersive environment for detecting and investigating...
Article
Full-text available
The relationship between creativity and susceptibility to associative memory illusions in the Deese/Roediger–McDermott procedure was investigated using a multiple regression analysis. Susceptibility to false recognition was significantly predicted by performance on a measure of convergent thinking (the Remote Associates Task) but not by performance...
Article
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Four experiments explored effects on analogical transfer of evaluating solutions to base problems. In contrast to reports of positive effects of explanation, evaluation consistently reduced transfer rates and impaired mental representations of base material. This effect was not ameliorated by encoding for a later memory test, summarizing, or engagi...
Article
Full-text available
Enhanced memorability for first-sentence information was used as a probe to examine the mental representations underpinning the processing of spatial descriptions, with a focus on analogue, mental model representations versus propositional representations. In Experiment 1 rotating the visual layout of a spatial description slowed its recognition, a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Developers must often diagnose anomalies in programs they only have a partial knowledge of. As a result, they must simultaneously reverse engineer parts of the system they are unfamiliar with while interpreting dynamic observation data (performance profiling traces, error-propagation channels, memory leaks), a task particularly difficult. To suppor...
Article
Full-text available
Insurance fraud is a growing problem. This article describes a project that aimed to specify and develop a suite of computer-based tools to support the early detection and subsequent investigation of potentially fraudulent claims. System requirements were informed by ethnographic studies focusing on: (1) understanding current fraud detection practi...
Article
Full-text available
A meta-analytic review of empirical studies that have investigated incubation effects on problem solving is reported. Although some researchers have reported increased solution rates after an incubation period (i.e., a period of time in which a problem is set aside prior to further attempts to solve), others have failed to find effects. The analysi...
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments tested whether spreading activation or cue assimilation underlie incubation effects in problem solving. After initial attempts to solve remote associates tasks, participants performed lexical decision tasks that included solution words, and attempted the remote associates again, either immediately, after a delay with no interpolated...
Article
Full-text available
Results on human performance on the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) from different laboratories show high consistency. However, one exception is in the area of individual differences. While one research group has consistently failed to find systematic individual differences across instances of TSPs (Chronicle, MacGregor and Ormerod), another group...
Book
This book presents the latest work in the area of naturalistic decision making (NDM) and its extension into the area of macrocognition. It contains 18 chapters relating research centered on the study of expertise in naturalistic settings, written by international experts in NDM and cognitive systems engineering. The objective of the book is to pres...
Article
Full-text available
Laboratory-based studies of problem solving suggest that transfer of solution principles from an analogue to a target arises only minimally without the presence of directive hints. Recently, however, real-world studies indicate that experts frequently and spontaneously use analogies in domain-based problem solving. There is also some evidence that...
Article
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Two experiments are reported which compare conditional reasoning with three types of rule. These consist of two types of rule that have been widely studied previously, if p then q and p only if q, together with a third type, q if p. In both experiments, the p only if q type of rule yields a different pattern of performance from the two other types...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Creative Problem-Solving Research Group (CPSRG) at Lancaster University is a collaboration between psychologists and computer scientists conducting research into creativity, problem-solving and design at the interface between humans and computer systems. Our aim is to develop theoretical understandings and practical interventions that address h...
Article
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Congenitally blind individuals are generally less accurate at mentally manipulating objects than sighted people. However, they often score higher on tests of short- and long-term verbal memory, and it has been suggested that an enhanced propositional representation compensates for inefficiencies in analogue visuospatial representation. Here, congen...
Article
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We compared the performance of three heuristics with that of subjects on variants of a well-known combinatorial optimization task, the Traveling Salesperson Problem (TSP). The present task consisted of finding the shortest path through an array of points from one side of the array to the other. Like the standard TSP, the task is computationally int...
Article
Full-text available
The two-dimensional Traveling Salesperson Problem (TSP) requires finding the shortest tour through n locations. Untrained adults are adept at the task, and reliably outperform simple construction algorithms for n up to 60. Performance may stem from a specific, inherent ability. Alternatively, it may reflect general spatial intelligence, whether inh...
Article
Full-text available
Human performance on instances of computationally intractable optimization problems, such as the travelling salesperson problem (TSP), can be excellent. We have proposed a boundary-following heuristic to account for this finding. We report three experiments with TSPs where the capacity to employ this heuristic was varied. In Experiment 1, participa...
Article
Full-text available
Insurance fraud is a serious and growing problem, and there is widespread recognition that traditional approaches to tackling fraud are inadequate. Studies of insurance fraud have typically focused upon identifying characteristics of fraudulent claims and claimants, and this focus is apparent in the current wave of forensic and data-mining technolo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We report the specification and evaluation of a browser designed to support sharing of digital photographs. The project integrated outcomes from experiments, ethnographic observations, and single-case immersive observations to specify and evaluate browser technologies. As well as providing and evaluating new browser concepts, a key outcome of our r...
Article
Although analogical reasoning is claimed to play a central role in creative cognition and the development of expertise, few studies have explored the nature and prevalence of spontaneous analogising in design contexts. We report an experimental comparison of analogy use by expert and novice design engineers. Concurrent think-aloud protocols were an...
Article
Full-text available
Untrained adults appear to have access to cognitive processes that allow them to perform well in the Euclidean version of the traveling salesperson problem (E-TSP). They do so despite the famous computational intractability of the problem, which stems from its combinatorial complexity. A current hypothesis is the humans' good performance is based o...
Article
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Four experiments investigated transformation problems with insight characteristics. In Experiment 1, performance on a version of the 6-coin problem that had a concrete and visualizable solution followed a hill-climbing heuristic. Experiment 2 demonstrated that the difficulty of a version of the problem that potentially required insight for solution...
Article
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We describe the application of ethnography and experimentation to the specification and evaluation of a browser to support collaborative sharing of photographs in family contexts. In an extension of this mixed-method approach, we adopted an ethnographic stance to the post-hoc analysis of couples' interactions recorded during the experimental studie...
Article
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Designers increasingly recognise the need for user-centred approaches to system specification, yet the last thing they want is for yet another design method to be imposed upon them. To receive widespread use, task analysis methods must be an integrated and primary part of the design process. This chapter describes the Sub-Goal-Template (SGT) method...
Article
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A theory of how individuals construct mental models to draw inferences from single premises was tested in three experiments. Experiment 1 confirmed a counterintuitive prediction that it is easier to generate inferences between conditionals and disjunctions than it is to evaluate them. Experiment 2 replicated this finding, but an advantage found in...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We describe a Mass Detection Tool (MDT) for early detection of insurance fraud. Ethnography was used to specify needs and process, capture expertise, and design an interface for triggering fraud indicators while capturing unexpected anomalies detected by claims handlers. The MDT uses a dynamic Bayesian Belief Network of fraud indicators, whose weig...