Paul Feltovich

Senior Research Scientist

Paul J. Feltovich, Ph.D., is a Research Scientist at IHMC. Previously, he served as Professor in the Departments of Medical Education and Psychiatry, and as Director of the Cognitive Science Division within Medical Education at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL.

Dr. Feltovich received a B.S. in mathematics from Allegheny College (Pennsylvania), and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1981. He was also a post-doctoral fellow in Cognitive Psychology at the Learning, Research, and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh, from 1978 to 1982.

He has conducted research and published on topics such as expert-novice differences in complex cognitive skills, and conceptual understanding and misunderstanding for complex knowledge and novel means of instruction in complex and ill-structured knowledge domains (Cognitive Flexibility Theory and Reductive Bias Theory, with Rand Spiro and Richard Coulson).

Since joining IHMC, he has been investigating (with Dr. Jeff Bradshaw and others) coordination, regulation and teamwork in mixed groups of humans and intelligent software agents. These studies employ a “cultural” approach to controlling and modeling software agent activity, based on the utilization of diverse policy systems ranging from formal pertinent law to group traditions, standards of practice, and norms for acceptable every day behavior (e.g., various codes of etiquette). The work also addresses Human-Agent coordination in mixed teams and factors that contribute to making software agents acceptable to humans as partners in complex and consequential work.

Dr. Feltovich has authored nearly one hundred professional articles and two books. In particular, he is co-author (with Micki Chi and Robert Glaser) of a designated Science Citation Classic paper on problem solving in physics that contributed to the development of human expertise as a field of study in cognitive science. He was chosen to write one of the articles on expertise for the Third International Encyclopedia for the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

He is also co-editor (with Dr. Ken Ford and Dr. Robert Hoffman of IHMC) of “Expertise in Context: Human and Machine” (AAAI/MIT), and (with Ken Forbus) “Smart Machines in Education” (AAAI/MIT). He has served as editor of Teaching and Learning in Medicine: An International Journal, and has served on several editorial boards, including the Educational Researcher, the Journal of the Learning Sciences, and Advances in Health Sciences Education.


Bradshaw, J.M., Beautment, P., Breedy, M.R., Bunch, L., Drakunov, S.V., Feltovich, P.J., Hoffman, R.R., Jeffers, R., Johnson, M., Kulkarni, S., Lott, J., Raj, A. K., Suri, N., & Uszok, A. (2004). Making agents acceptable to people. In N. Zhong & J. Liu (Eds.), Intelligent technologies for information analysis: Advances in agents, data mining and statistical learning (pp. 355-400). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Bradshaw, J. M., Feltovich, P. J., Jung, H., Kulkarni, S., & Taysom, W. & Uszok, A. (in press). Dimensions of adjustable autonomy and mixed-initiative interaction. In M. Klusch, G. Weiss, & M. Rovatsos (Ed.), Computational Autonomy. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.

Bradshaw, J. M., Feltovich, P. J., Jung, H., Kulkarni, S., Allen, J., Bunch, L. Chambers, N. Galescu, L. Jeffers, R., Johnson, M. Sierhuis, M., Taysom, W., Uszok, A. & Van Hoof, R. (2004). Policy-based coordination in joint human-agent activity. Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, The Hague, The Netherlands, 10-13 October.

Chi, M., Feltovich, P., & Glaser, R. (1981). Categorization and representation of physics problems by experts and novices. Cognitive Science, 5(2), 121-152.

Feltovich, P.J. (2001). Expert memory: Psychology of. Third International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, pp. 5124-5128 .

Feltovich, P.J., Bradshaw, J.M., Jeffers, R., Suri, N. & Uszok, A. (2004). Social order and adaptability in animal and human cultures as analogues for agent communities: Toward a policy-based approach. In Omacini, A., Petta, P., & Pitt, J. (Eds.), Engineering societies for agents world IV (pp.21-48). Lecture Notes in Computer Science Series. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer-Verlag.

Feltovich,P., Coulson, R., & Spiro R. (2001). Learners’ (mis)undestanding of important and difficult concepts: A challenge to smart machines in education. In K. D. Forbus & P. J. Feltovich (Eds.), Smart machines in education (pp. 349-375). Menlo Park, CA: AAAI/MIT Press.

Feltovich, P.J., Hoffman, R.R.,Woods, D., & Roesler, A. (May-June, 2004). Keeping it too simple: How the reductive tendency affects cognitive engineering. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 90-94.

Feltovich, P.J., Johnson, P.E., Moller, J.H., and Swanson, D.B. (1984). LCS: The role and development of medical knowledge in diagnostic expertise. In W.J. Clancey & E.H. Shortliffe (Eds.), Readings in medical artificial intelligence: The first decade (pp. 275-319). Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.

Feltovich,P., Spiro, R., & Coulson, R. (1989). The nature of conceptual understanding in biomedicine: The deep structure of complex ideas and the development of misconceptions. In D. Evans & V. Patel (Eds.), Cognitive science in medicine: Biomedical modeling. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Feltovich,P., Spiro, R., & Coulson, R. (1997). Issues of expert flexibility in contexts characterized by complexity and change. In P. J. Feltovich, K. M. Ford, & R. R. Hoffman (Eds.), Expertise in context: Human and machine (pp. 125-146). Menlo Park, CA: AAAI/MIT Press.

Klein, G., Feltovich, P.J., Bradshaw, J.M., & Woods, D. D. (in press). Common ground and coordination in joint activity. In W.R. Rouse & K.B. Boff (Eds.), Organizational simulation. New York: Wiley.

Lesgold, A.M., Rubinson, H., Feltovich, P.J., Glaser, R., and Klopfer, D. (1988). Expertise in a complex skill: Diagnosing x-ray pictures. In M.T.H. Chi, R. Glaser, & M. Farr (Eds.), The nature of expertise. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Spiro, R., Coulson, R., Feltovich, P., & Anderson, D. (1988). Cognitive flexibility theory: Advanced knowledge acquisition in ill-structured domains. In Proceedings of the 10th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.