Evan F. Risko

Associate Professor; Associate Chair Graduate Affairs
head shot of Dr. Evan Risko

B.A., M.A., Ph.D. (Waterloo)

Contact information

Cognition and Natural Behaviour Laboratory

Named Canada Research Chair in Embodied and Embedded Cognition

Recipient of an Early Career Award from the Psychonomic Society

Recipient of the Early Career Award from the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science

Recipient of an Early Career Award from the Province of Ontario

Recipient 2014 and 2018 Outstanding Performance Award  

Dr. Risko’s research is funded by grants from the:

  • Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation
  • Ontario Research Fund
  • Province of Ontario
  • Canada Research Chairs Program

Research interests

Distributed Cognition. Human cognition often involves, as an integral part, the manipulation of the body and/or physical environment. For example, we tilt our head to help us perceive ambiguous images, and we use our smartphones to store and search for information. In all such cases, internal processes are closely coupled to external ones. From this perspective, we are trying to provide a deeper understanding of how we use our body and physical artifacts to help us think and how this coupling ultimately shapes our thinking.

Effort Perception. We are often described as cognitive misers. That is, we tend toward minimizing our cognitive effort. While this idea plays a central role in cognitive science, we know little about how individuals perceive effort and make decisions based on it. As such, we are trying to better understand how individuals understand effort and decide how effortful given lines of action might be.

Education and Training. We are also interested in using research in cognitive psychology to help improve practices in education and training. In particular, we have an active line of research investigating the characteristics of recorded lectures (e.g., like the ones used in online courses) that optimize learning. For example, we are interested in how various features of lectures impact mind wandering, affect, metacognition, and learning.

Recent publications:

For an up-to-date list of publications check out Dr. Risko's Google Scholar profile

You can also find copies of more recent papers

Lastly, for data, code, pre-registrations and materials for recent papers you can check out our OSF page