A picture of the thinker statue beside a functional MRI of someone in the thinker pose.

About Nick Byrd

I am a philosopher-scientist—think physician-scientist, but for philosophy rather than medicine. After studying cognitive science, philosophy, and religion at Palm Beach Atlantic University, University of Colorado, and Florida State University, I completed a Ph.D. in 2020.

I study how reasoning works—what kinds of reasoning are more rational, how rational thinking impacts other outcomes such as philosophical tendencies or well-being, and how technology can impact our reasoning. I also test short-term and longer-term methods for improving reasoning among individuals and groups (e.g., debiasing, depolarization, and de-stressing). Beyond research and teaching, I co-manage the Brains blog (with Dan Burnston) and write for Psychology Today.

Over $550,000 has been provided for my research by the US Intelligence Community, the John Templeton Foundation, and various universities. Hundreds of thousands of people from 195 countries have found the research via this website. More found it via presentations on at least three continents or in articles, podcasts, videos, radio segments, or press releases from venues like Nature, NPR, the American Philosophical Association.

For more information, including free copies and audio of my latest papers, see byrdnick.com/cv. To find out more, see below, follow me online, or contact me.

Daily Activities

I post about research and education daily on social media. I also share my newest publications and events on academic social networks. You can follow along at the links below:

Free Time

When I am not working, I am spending time with my spouse, exercising outside, learning, traveling, watching stand-up comedy, and—on good days—going to bed early. You can follow some of these activities on Instagram and Strava. [Jump To Top]

Some History

  • ParentsMy mother was an accountant, a jeweler, and a social worker. My father was a restaurant owner and restaurant product salesman. I grew up in Massachusetts and South Florida.
  • ChildhoodSince I was a kid, I have enjoyed building things and taking them apart —e.g., Lego, K’Nex, bikes, boats, arguments, etc. One of my first (and favorite) jobs was building and remodeling homes. As a teenager, my favorite classes involved building stuff, using computers, arguing, or some combination thereof. Beyond that I tried track, cross country, soccer, football, band, church, theatre, video games, or some kind of volunteering.
  • Education. As a teenager, I enjoyed — among other things — discoverying how things work. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to do this full-time. So I majored in Engineering and Religion. (I guess I thought that those were the paths to figuring out how things work.) A few years into college, I realized that philosophy is more foundational than either engineering or religion: a sort of meta-engineering and meta-religion. So I became a philosophy major. A few more years passed and, in graduate school, I realized that cognitive science is even more foundational than philosophy: it can predict and perhaps even explain how we think about philosophy (and many other things!). So cognitive science has become the keystone in my research. [Jump To Top]

Has anyone ever told you…?

Yes. I have been told that I look like Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Kerr, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., but only when I’m not at home. And no: it’s not annoying. I probably benefit from associations with well-liked, talented people.