At the nexus of learning and innovation
Micah G Profile Picture

Dr. Goldwater received his BA in Linguistics from the University of Rochester in 2003, completed his PhD in Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin in 2009, and then held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern University until joining the University of Sydney in 2013.

Dr. Goldwater's research investigates the nature, acquisition, and use of knowledge. This work focuses on how children and adults can look past the superficial to recognize when disparate situations, problems, or ideas share deep structural commonalities. He examines both basic processes of cognition and development, their underlying neural mechanisms, and develops applications to improve education. To achieve these broad research goals, Dr. Goldwater investigates a number of interrelated topics, including:

-How knowledge changes with learning and development

-Improving students' ability to transfer what they have learned to novel contexts.

-How the prefrontal cortex supports complex cognition, and how brain-behaviour associations change throughout child development

-The interplay of knowledge and executive function in fostering learning, reasoning, and decision-making.

-Differences between how experts and novices think.

-How concepts are represented, and how the meanings of words are understood.

-The reciprocity between how children direct their own learning, and how they learn from others.

-How children acquire their first language.

Recent publications

Lai, P., Jacobson, M., Goldwater, M. (2018). Learning nanoscience concepts through a nanoscale experience. 13th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2018), London: International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Goldwater, M., Don, H., Krusche, M., Livesey, E. (2018). Relational Discovery in Category Learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147(1), 1-35. [More Information]

Davis, T., Goldwater, M., Ireland, M., Gaylord, N., Van Allen, J. (2017). Can you catch Ebola from a stork bite? Inductive reasoning influences generalization of perceived zoonosis risk. PloS One, 12(11), 1-21. [More Information]

Davis, T., Goldwater, M., Giron, J. (2017). From Concrete Examples to Abstract Relations: The Rostrolateral Prefrontal Cortex Integrates Novel Examples into Relational Categories. Cerebral Cortex, 27(4), 2652-2670. [More Information]

Goldwater, M. (2017). Grammatical Constructions as Relational Categories. Topics in Cognitive Science, 9(3), 776-799. [More Information]

Dekel, S., Burns, B., Goldwater, M. (2017). Leaping across the mental canyon: Analogical retrieval across disparate task domains. 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017), Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.Livesey, E., Goldwater, M., Colagiuri, B. (2017). Will human-like machines make human-like mistakes? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 40, 1-5. [More Information

Contact information

P: +61 2 9351 5453

E[email protected]


University of Sydney Staff Profile