Dan Johnson Associate Professor of Psychology

Dan Johnson

Parmly 234
Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. - University of Oklahoma (2009), Psychology
M.S. - University of Oklahoma (2005)
B.A. - Luther College (2003), Psychology and Biology


We study metacognition and its role in self-directed learning, arguments about socio-political issues, and creativity. We examine questions related to improving how well one can know what they know. How can reflecting about one’s ideas and current knowledge improve learning outcomes, argument effectiveness, and even one’s creative output? We also investigate the role of reading narrative fiction in the development of empathy and inferential abilities.


  • PSYC 112: Cognition
  • PSYC 114: Social Psychology
  • PSYC 118: Psychology Mythbusters
  • PSYC 120: Quantitative Literacy in the Behavioral Sciences
  • PSYC 250: Research Design and Analysis Lecture and Lab
  • PSYC 259: Cognition and Emotion
  • PSYC 359: Advanced Methods in Cognition and Emotion Research

Selected Publications

Johnson, D. R., **Tynan, M. E., **Cuthbert, A. S., & **Q’Quinn, J. K. (in press). Metacognition in argumentgeneration: The misperceived relationship between emotional investment and argument quality. Cognition and Emotion.

Johnson, D. R. (2017). Bridging the political divide: Highlighting explanatory power mitigates biased evaluation of climate arguments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 51, 248-255.

**Heinen, D. J., & Johnson, D. R. (in press). Semantic distance: An automated measure of creativity that is novel and appropriate. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.

Gavaler, C., & Johnson, D. R. (in press). The genre effect: A science fiction (vs. realism) manipulation decreases inference effort, reading comprehension, and perception of literary merit. Scientific Study of Literature.

Johnson, D. R., **Murphy, M., & **Messer, R. (2016). Reflecting on explanatory ability: Detecting gaps in causal knowledge. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145, 573-588.

Johnson, D. R., **Huffman, B., & **Jasper, D. (2014). Changing race boundary perception by reading narrative fiction. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 36, 83-90.

Johnson, D. R., **Jasper, D. M., **Griffin, S., & **Huffman, B. (2013). Reading narrative fiction reduces Arab-Muslim prejudice and offers a safe haven from intergroup anxiety. Social Cognition, 31, 578-598.

Johnson, D. R., **Cushman, G., **Borden, L., & **McCune, M. (2013). Potentiating empathic growth: Generating imagery while reading fiction increases empathy and prosocial behavior. The Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 7, 306-312.

Johnson, D. R. (2013). Transportation into literary fiction reduces prejudice against and increases empathy for Arab-Muslims. Scientific Study of Literature, 3, 77-92.

Johnson, D. R., & Whiting, W. L. (2013). Detecting subtle expressions: Older adults demonstrate automatic and controlled positive response bias in emotional perception. Psychology and Aging, 28, 172-178.

Johnson, D. R., & **Borden, L. A. (2012). Participants at your fingertips: Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to increase student-faculty collaborative research. Teaching of Psychology, 39, 245-251.

Data Science Links

Want to learn how to program and do data science in R?  Check out datacamp.



Want to learn Bayesian statistics?  Check out John Kruschke's and Eric-Jan Wagenmaker's work.