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Steve FranconeriDirector of the Northwestern Cognitive Science ProgramProfessor of Psychology, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences


Steve Franconeri is a Professor of Psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern, a Professor of Design by Courtesy, a Kellogg Professor of Leadership by Courtesy. He also serves as Director of the Northwestern Cognitive Science Program.

Steven Franconeri conducts research on visual thinking, visual communication, and the psychology of data visualization. He is Principal Investigator of the Visual Thinking Laboratory, where a team of researchers explore how leveraging the visual system - the largest single system in your brain - can help people think, remember, and communicate more efficiently.  

Franconeri's undergraduate training was in computer science and cognitive science at Rutgers University, followed by a PhD in Experimental Psychology from Harvard University, and postdoctoral research at the University of British Columbia. His work on both Cognitive Science and Data Visualization has been funded by the National Science Foundation, as well as the Department of Education, and the Department of Defense. He has received a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award, given to researchers who combine excellent research with outstanding teaching, and he has received a Psychonomic Society Early Career award for his research on visual thinking.


PhD, Psychology, Cognition, Brain, & Behavior, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

MA, Psychology, Cognition, Brain, & Behavior, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

BA, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ

Research Interests

Visual thinking; Visual communication; Effective communication of analytic accounts; Data visualization; Graph Comprehension
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