Shane Littrell

Graduate Student

I received Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Psychology and Journalism from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After several years in the corporate world, I returned to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where I received my Master of Science in Research/Experimental Psychology in 2016. In 2017, I moved to Canada to pursue my PhD in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Waterloo.

My research interests are rather broad but generally focus on the ways in which irrational beliefs and reasoning processes can disrupt critical thinking and goal-pursuit.  I’m principally interested in answering two key questions: 1) Why do people avoid doing things they know they need to do? 2) Why do smart people believe stupid things despite disconfirming evidence?

With respect to the first question, I’m investigating the breakdown in academic goal-pursuit and task completion (commonly known as Academic Procrastination) as a conditional process resulting from the interplay between situational context and beliefs related to self-worth, competence, frustration, and uncertainty.  As to the second question, I’ve recently become interested in exploring the ways in which reasoning processes related to forming and maintaining scientific and political beliefs are influenced by intelligence, expertise, and ego protection and whether those reasoning processes become biased in the presence of domain-conflicting beliefs.