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Institute of Applied Data Science


Dr Magda Osman

Magda Osman

Reader in Experimental Psychology & Turing Fellow

Department School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
 Room 2.25, Fogg Building
+44 (0)20 7882 5903


decision making, problem solving in complex dynamic environments, safety critical systems, moral behavior


Magda's main research interests concern understanding the underlying mechanisms involved in learning, decision making, and problem solving in complex dynamic environments (e.g. biological (fitness), economic (stock market), ecological (rainforest), industrial (nuclear power plant), mechanical (automobile), management (company), and safety critical (automated-pilot) systems). Broadly, what these situations share in common is that a number of elements will vary from one point in time to another, not always reliably so, and not always as a direct consequence of the actions that we choose to make.


Publications of specific relevance to Applied Data Science


gold N, Lin Y, Osman M and Ashcroft R (2020). ‘Better off, as judged by themselves’: do people support nudges as a method to change their own behavior? Cambridge University Press (Cup)  Behavioural Public Policy  10.1017/bpp.2020.6
Fenton N, Osman M, Mclachlan S and Neil M (2020). COVID-19 infection and death rates: the need to incorporate causal explanations for the data and avoid bias in testing. Taylor & Francis (Routledge)  Journal of Risk Research  10.1080/13669877.2020.1756381
Freestone M, Osman M and Ibrahim Y (2020). On the uses and abuses of narcissism as a public health issue. The British Journal of Psychiatry  10.1192/bjp.2020.70
Johansen MK and Osman M (2020). Coincidence judgment in causal reasoning: How coincidental is this? Elsevier  Cognitive Psychology  vol. 120, 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2020.101290
Osman M, rytersk A and Jahanshahi M (2020). Redefining the Relationship Between Effort and Reward: Choice-Execution Model of Effort-Based Decisions. Elsevier  Behavioural Brain Research  10.1016/j.bbr.2020.112474


Osman M (2019). Overstepping the boundaries of free choice: Folk beliefs on free will and determinism in real world contexts. Elsevier  Consciousness and Cognition  vol. 77, 10.1016/j.concog.2019.102860
Osman M, Ayton P, Bouder F, Pidgeon N and Lofstedt R (2019). Evidence based uncertainty: what is needed now? Taylor & Francis  Journal of Risk Research  10.1080/13669877.2019.1646316
Osman M and Thornton K (2019). Traffic light labelling of meals to promote sustainable consumption and healthy eating. Appetite  vol. 138, 60-71. 10.1016/j.appet.2019.03.015
Neil M, Fenton N, Osman M and Lagnado D (2019). Causality, the critical but often ignored component guiding us through a world of uncertainties in risk assessment. Journal of Risk Research  10.1080/13669877.2019.1604564
Osman M and Nelson W (2019). How can food futures insight promote change in consumers’ choices, are behavioural interventions (e.g. nudges) the answer? Futures  10.1016/j.futures.2019.04.008


Xhakollari V, Canavari M and Osman M (2018). Factors affecting consumers' adherence to gluten-free diet, a systematic review. Trends in Food Science and Technology  vol. 85, 23-33. 10.1016/j.tifs.2018.12.005
Osman M, Radford S, Lin Y, Gold N, Nelson W and Löfstedt R (2018). Learning lessons: how to practice nudging around the world. Journal of Risk Research  10.1080/13669877.2018.1517127
Meder B, Fleischhut N and OSMAN M (2018). Beyond the Confines of Choice Architecture: A critical analysis. Elsevier  Journal of Economic Psychology  10.1016/j.joep.2018.08.004
lin Y, OSMAN M, Harris A and Read D (2018). Underlying Wishes and Nudged Choices. American Psychological Association  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied  10.1037/xap0000183
Vadillo MA, Gold N and Osman M (2018). Searching for the bottom of the ego well: Failure to uncover ego depletion in Many Labs 3. Royal Society Open Science  vol. 5, (8) 10.1098/rsos.180390
Osman M, Fenton N, Pilditch T, Lagnado D and Neil M (2018). Whom Do We Trust on Social Policy Interventions? Basic and Applied Social Psychology  10.1080/01973533.2018.1469986
Schoppek W, Kluge A, Osman M and Funke J (2018). Editorial: Complex problem solving beyond the psychometric approach. Frontiers in Psychology  vol. 9, (JUL) 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01224
OSMAN M, LV J and Proulx M (2018). Can Empathy Promote Cooperation when Status and Money Matter? Taylor & Francis (Routledge)  Basic and Applied Social Psychology  10.1080/01973533.2018.1463225
Osman M (2018). Persistent Maladies: The Case of Two-Mind Syndrome. Trends in Cognitive Sciences  vol. 22, (4) 276-277. 10.1016/j.tics.2018.02.005
Osman M, Eacott B and Willson S (2018). Arts-based interventions in healthcare education. Medical Humanities  vol. 44, (1) 28-33. 10.1136/medhum-2017-011233
Wong RS, Osman M, Wong WH, Lin Y and Ho K (2018). Saving for a Better Retirement: How Risk Attitudes Affect Choice of Retirement Scheme. Psychol Rep  33294118755-33294118755. 10.1177/0033294118755093


OSMAN M (2017). Nudge: How Far Have We Come? ŒConomia. History, Methodology, Philosophy  vol. 6, 557-570.
Holt DV and Osman M (2017). Approaches to Cognitive Modeling in Dynamic Systems Control. Frontiers Media  Front Psychol  vol. 8, 2032-2032. 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02032
Osman M, Lin Y and Ashcroft R (2017). Nudging: A Lesson in the Theatrics of Choice. Basic and Applied Social Psychology  1-6. 10.1080/01973533.2017.1375929
Lin Y, Osman M and Ashcroft R (2017). Nudge: Concept, Effectiveness, and Ethics. Basic and Applied Social Psychology  vol. 39, (6) 293-306. 10.1080/01973533.2017.1356304
Osman M and Wiegmann A (2017). Explaining Moral Behavior. Exp Psychol  vol. 64, (2) 68-81. 10.1027/1618-3169/a000336
Osman M, Heath AJ and Löfstedt R (2017). The problems of increasing transparency on uncertainty. Public Underst Sci  96366251771-96366251771. 10.1177/0963662517711058
OSMAN M and Wiegmann M (2017). Explaining moral behavior:A minimal moral model. Hogrefe  Experimental Psychology  10.1027/1618-3169/a000336
Lofstedt R, McLoughlin M and Osman M (2017). Uncertainty analysis: results from an empirical pilot study. A research note. Journal of Risk Research  1-11. 10.1080/13669877.2017.1313768
Spence C, OSMAN M and McElligott AG (2017). Theory of Animal Mind: Human Nature or Experimental Artefact? Elsevier  Trends in Cognitive Sciences  10.1016/j.tics.2017.02.003
Wiegmann A and Osman M (2017). Factors Guiding Moral Judgment, Reason, Decision, and Action. Exp Psychol  vol. 64, (2) 65-67. 10.1027/1618-3169/a000360
Glass BD and Osman M (2017). Positive explorers: modeling dynamic control in normal aging. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition  vol. 24, (1) 62-79. 10.1080/13825585.2016.1171290
OSMAN M, Pupic D and Baigent N (2017). How Many Slaps is equivalent to One Punch? New Approaches to Assessing the Relative Severity of Violent Acts Psychology of Violence. Psychology of Violence  10.1037/vio0000079


OSMAN M (2016). Making a meal out of uncertainty. Taylor &Amp; Francis (Routledge): Ssh Titles  Journal of Risk Research  10.1080/13669877.2016.1240708
Petervari J, Osman M and Bhattacharya J (2016). The Role of Intuition in the Generation and Evaluation Stages of Creativity. Frontiers Media  Frontiers in Psychology  10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01420
vadillo M, Gold N and Osman M (2016). The Bitter Truth About Sugar and Willpower: The Limited Evidential Value of the Glucose Model of Ego Depletion. Psycholgical Science  10.1177/0956797616654911


OSMAN M, Glass B and Hola Z (2015). Approaches to Learning to Control Dynamic Uncertainty. Mdpi Ag  Systems  vol. 3, 211-236. 10.3390/systems3040211
Johansen MK and Osman M (2015). Coincidences: A fundamental consequence of rational cognition. New Ideas in Psychology  vol. 39, 34-44. 10.1016/j.newideapsych.2015.07.001
OSMAN M and Osman M (2015). Moral Judgment: Truth, Order and Consequence. Scientific Research Publishing 
Puranam P, Stieglitz N, OSMAN M and Pillutla M (2015). Modelling Bounded Rationality in Organizations: Progress and Prospects. The Academy of Management Annals  vol. p, (1) 337-392. 10.1080/19416520.2015.1024498
Osman M (2015). Future-minded: The role of prospection in Agency, Control, and other goal-directed processes. Frontiers in Psychology  vol. 6, (FEB) 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00154
Osman M (2015). Does our unconscious rule? Psychologist  vol. 28, (2) 114-117.
Osman M (2015). Consciousness complexity. Psychologist  vol. 28, (5)
Osman M (2015). Dynamic Moral Judgments and Emotions. Scientific Research Publishing, Inc.  Psychology  vol. 06, (08) 922-931. 10.4236/psych.2015.68090


Kittler J, Christmas W, de Campos T, Windridge D, Yan F, Illingworth J and Osman M (2014). Domain Anomaly Detection in Machine Perception: A System Architecture and Taxonomy. Ieee Transactions On Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence  vol. 36, (5) 845-859. 10.1109/TPAMI.2013.209
OSMAN M (2014). Future-Minded: The Psychology of Agency and Control. Palgrave 
Osman M (2014). What are the essential cognitive requirements for prospection (thinking about the future)? Front Psychol  vol. 5, 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00626
Ryterska A, Jahanshahi M and Osman M (2014). Decision-making impairments in Parkinson's disease as a by-product of defective cost-benefit analysis and feedback processing. Neurodegener Dis Manag  vol. 4, (4) 317-327. 10.2217/nmt.14.23
Osman M, Ryterska A, Karimi K, Tu L, Obeso I, Speekenbrink M and Jahanshahi M (2014). The effects of dopaminergic medication on dynamic decision making in Parkinson's disease. Neuropsychologia  vol. 53, 157-164. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.10.024


Ryterska A, Jahanshahi M and Osman M (2013). What are people with Parkinson's disease really impaired on when it comes to making decisions? A meta-analysis of the evidence. Neurosci Biobehav Rev  vol. 37, (10 Pt 2) 2836-2846. 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.10.005
OSMAN M and Wim deNeys (2013). New Approaches in Reasoning Research (Current Issues in Thinking and Reasoning). Psychology Press 
Taya S, Windridge D and Osman M (2013). Trained Eyes: Experience Promotes Adaptive Gaze Control in Dynamic and Uncertain Visual Environments. Plos One  vol. 8, (8) 10.1371/journal.pone.0071371
Meder B, Le Lec F and Osman M (2013). Decision making in uncertain times: what can cognitive and decision sciences say about or learn from economic crises? Trends in Cognitive Sciences  vol. 17, (6) 257-260. 10.1016/j.tics.2013.04.008
Osman M (2013). A Case Study: Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition-Commentary on Evans & Stanovich (2013). Perspectives On Psychological Science  vol. 8, (3) 248-252. 10.1177/1745691613483475
Osman M (2013). Reasoning research: Where was it going? where is it now? where will it be going? New Approaches in Reasoning Research  10.4324/9781315879857


Hagmayer Y and Osman M (2012). From colliding billiard balls to colluding desperate housewives: causal Bayes nets as rational models of everyday causal reasoning. Synthese  vol. 189, 603-614. 10.1007/s11229-012-0162-3
Harris AJL and Osman M (2012). The illusion of control: A Bayesian perspective. Synthese  vol. 189, 615-624. 10.1007/s11229-012-0090-2
Osman M (2012). The effects of self set or externally set goals on learning in an uncertain environment. Learning and Individual Differences  vol. 22, (5) 575-584. 10.1016/j.lindif.2011.09.012
Osman M (2012). Monitoring, control and the illusion of control. Psychology of Self-Regulation 
Osman M and Speekenbrink M (2012). Prediction and control in a dynamic environment. Front Psychol  vol. 3, 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00068
Osman M (2012). The role of reward in dynamic decision making. Front Neurosci  vol. 6, 10.3389/fnins.2012.00035
Taya S, Windridge D and Osman M (2012). Looking to score: the dissociation of goal influence on eye movement and meta-attentional allocation in a complex dynamic natural scene. Plos One  vol. 7, (6) 10.1371/journal.pone.0039060


Osman M and Speekenbrink M (2011). Cue utilization and strategy application in stable and unstable dynamic environments. Cogn Syst Res  vol. 12, (3-4) 355-364. 10.1016/j.cogsys.2010.12.004
De Neys W, Cromheeke S and Osman M (2011). Biased but in Doubt: Conflict and Decision Confidence. Plos One  vol. 6, (1) 10.1371/journal.pone.0015954


Van Opstal F, Cevers W, Osman M and Verguts T (2010). Unconscious task application. Conscious Cogn  vol. 19, (4) 999-1006. 10.1016/j.concog.2010.05.002
Taya S, Windridge D, Kittler J and Osman M (2010). Rule-based modulation of visual attention allocation. Perception  vol. 39, 81-81.
Osman M (2010). Controlling Uncertainty: A Review of Human Behavior in Complex Dynamic Environments. American Psychological Association  Psychological Bulletin  vol. 136, (1) 65-86. 10.1037/a0017815
Hagmayer Y, Meder B, Osman M, Mangold S and Lagnado D (2010). Spontaneous causal learning while controlling a dynamic system. Bentham Science  Open Psychology Journal  vol. 3, 145-162. 10.2174/1874350101003010145
Osman M (2010). Controlling Uncertainty: How we learn about, and make decisions in complex worlds. Wiley-Blackwells 


Osman M, Channon S and Fitzpatrick S (2009). Does the truth interfere with our ability to deceive? Psychon Bull Rev  vol. 16, (5) 901-906. 10.3758/PBR.16.5.901


Osman M (2008). Positive transfer and negative transfer/antilearning of problem-solving skills. J Exp Psychol Gen  vol. 137, (1) 97-115. 10.1037/0096-3445.137.1.97
Osman M (2008). Observation can be as effective as action in problem solving. Cognitive Sci  vol. 32, (1) 162-183. 10.1080/03640210701703683
Osman M, Wilkinson L, Beigi M, Castaneda CS and Jahanshahi M (2008). Patients with Parkinson's disease learn to control complex systems via procedural as well as non-procedural learning. Neuropsychologia  vol. 46, (9) 2355-2363. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.03.009
Osman M (2008). Seeing is as Good as Doing. The Journal of Problem Solving 


Osman M (2007). Can tutoring improve performance on a reasoning task under deadline conditions? Mem Cognit  vol. 35, (2) 342-351. 10.3758/bf03193455
Osman M (2007). SHOULD ACTION BE AWARDED A SPECIAL STATUS IN LEARNING? Progress in Educational Psychology Research , Editors: Galwye VN. Nova Science Pub Inc 


Osman M and Stavy R (2006). Development of intuitive rules: evaluating the application of the dual-system framework to understanding children's intuitive reasoning. Psychon Bull Rev  vol. 13, (6) 935-953. 10.3758/bf03213907
Flach R, Osman M, Dickinson A and Heyes C (2006). The interaction between response effects during the acquisition of response priming. Acta Psychol (Amst)  vol. 122, (1) 11-26. 10.1016/j.actpsy.2005.09.001


Osman M and Shanks DR (2005). Individual differences in causal learning and decision making. Acta Psychol (Amst)  vol. 120, (1) 93-112. 10.1016/j.actpsy.2005.04.003
Osman M, Bird G and Heyes C (2005). Action observation supports effector-dependent learning of finger movement sequences. Exp Brain Res  vol. 165, (1) 19-27. 10.1007/s00221-005-2275-0
Bird G, Osman M, Saggerson A and Heyes C (2005). Sequence learning by action, observation and action observation. Br J Psychol  vol. 96, (Pt 3) 371-388. 10.1348/000712605X47440


Osman M (2004). An evaluation of dual-process theories of reasoning. Psychon Bull Rev  vol. 11, (6) 988-1010. 10.3758/bf03196730
Collins DJ and Osman M (2004). Judgements of causality are independent of the category prior information but choice behaviour isn't. Aust J Psychol  vol. 56, 110-110.


Osman M and Laming D (2001). Misinterpretation of conditional statements in Wason's selection task. Springerlink  Psychological Research  vol. 65, (2) 128-144. 10.1007/s004260000023
Osman M (2001). How rational is deception? Pantaneto 


Grants of specific relevance to Applied Data Science
OSIRIS: Optimising Shared decision-makIng for high-RIsk major Surgery
Osman M
£2,238,252 National Institutes of Health (03-09-2018 - 02-09-2024)
Communication of Uncertainty
Osman M
£238,179 Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology (01-10-2019 - 31-03-2021)

Behavioural Science Approaches to Examining Product Safety & Standards
Osman M
£300,000 Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy (01-10-2019 - 01-10-2020)
Putting in effort for the benefit of all
Osman M
£48,888 Economic and Social Research Council (30-09-2019 - 29-07-2020)
Improved Understanding of Causal Models in Dynamic Decision-making
Osman M
£383,510 Leverhulme Trust (09-01-2017 - 13-01-2020)
Understanding decision-making under uncertainty
Osman M
£30,000 Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology (01-01-2019 - 31-03-2019)
human-algorithm interface
Osman M
£60,000 ministry of justice UK (07-10-2019 - 31-03-2019)