Thomas B. Ward is professor of Psychology at the University of Alabama. His research focuses on the nature of concepts, including how they are acquired, structured, combined, and used in creative and noncreative endeavors. Dr. Ward's most recent line of research examines the ways in which people apply existing knowledge to new situations, including tasks as diverse as imagining life on other planets and designing practical products. He has also conducted basic and applied studies concerned with increasing the creative potential of new ideas. Dr. Ward has also published broadly on categorization. He has served as Associate Editor of Memory & Cognition and currently serves as Executive Officer of the Cognitive Science Society and Editor of the Journal of Creative Behavior.
Creative Cognition: This research examines the role of fundamental conceptual structures and processes in guiding creative or generative thought. It is driven by the goals of understanding the nature and origins of novel ideas in human thought, of broadening our understanding of basic conceptual structures and processes, and of using the theoretical knowledge obtained to foster the development of creativity. The work examines the factors governing the retrieval of concept instances and the projection of properties of those instances onto novel entities.
Categories and Concepts: This research examines how people of different ages and abilities learn new categories both intentionally and incidentally, how those categories are structured, and how conceptual information is combined.
Books (including links to publishers)Professional Organizations:
Articles and Chapters
Articles available as pdf files
American Psychological Association
American Psychological Society
Cognitive Science Society
Society for Research in Child Development