Rakefet Ackerman is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion, Israel. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Haifa, held a Post-Doctoral position at Ben-Gurion University
Prof. Ackerman’s work has been published in leading journals, such as the Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Journal of Experimental Psychology (General; Learning, Memory, & Cognition; Applied), Cognition, and Computers in Human Behavior. Her current research is mostly funded by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF).
Before her graduate studies, Prof. Ackerman worked in the software development industry, as a product development manager and system analyst.
Prof. Ackerman’s research is based on the metacognitive approach, by which subjective assessment of knowledge guides the activities people perform for achieving their goals. Understanding the factors that affect the reliability of this subjective knowledge assessment and the cases that are particularly prone to biases offers a foundation for developing effective work environments and techniques.
Main ongoing research domains
Meta-Reasoning: Prof. Ackerman takes part in establishing a new research domain, Meta-Reasoning. This domain deals with the metacognitive processes involved in reasoning and problem solving. She is interested in factors that may bias people’s confidence regarding their problem solutions and the effort they invest when facing cognitive challenges. For instance, what guides people in their decisions to invest additional effort or to cease investing effort.
Metacognitive aspects of Human-Computer Interaction: Prof. Ackerman’s research deals with the challenges people face when working and learning in online environments. Her research aims to explain why people show screen inferiority when learning online relative to learning in traditional ways, it provides tools for analyzing usability of computerized applications, it explains the processes that guide people in investing efforts in web search, etc.
Answering challenging questions: When facing challenging questions people engage in regulatory decisions in addition to retrieving information from memory. Prof. Ackerman studies when people answer by “I don’t know”, seek for external help, and recall their previous answers.
Illustrations by Sara Rotkop Haramaty