About Nick Byrd

I am a philosopher-scientist studying how differences in reasoning relate to differences in judgments, decisions, and well-being. This research has been funded by institutions like the US Intelligence Community, the John Templeton Foundation, and various universities. My primary goal is to better understand and—where possible—improve human decision-making. Here are some example research questions:

  • How are our evaluations of arguments and evidence biased?
  • How do our biases relate to our philosophical beliefs about morality, politics, religion, etc.?
  • How does our sense of identity bias our reasoning, for better or worse?
  • How do our biases impact ours and others’ well-being?
  • How can we debias each others’ reasoning, judgments, and behavior?
  • How might technology help us create, reinforce, or overcome bias?

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. In just the past few years, hundreds of thousands of people from 195 countries have visited this website. My research has been presented in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Nature, NPR, and the American Philosophical Association have featured my work via podcasts, radio segments, press releases, op-eds, and social media posts. In addition to teaching and research, I write for Psychology Today and co-manage the Brains blog (with Dan Burnston).

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 with my spouse, our cat, exercising, getting outside, learning, watching stand-up comedy, traveling, 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, erector sets, 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. When I wasn’t at school or at work, I was doing track, soccer, football, band, church, theatre, video games, or some kind of volunteering.
  • Education. As a teenager, I enjoyed — among other things — reading and writing about 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 reveals how philosophical thinking actually works. 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.