Paul Ward

Paul Ward


Psychological Sciences
Education and Behavioral Sciences

Contact Information

McKee Hall 14
Office Hours
Monday - Thursday by appointment
Mailing Address
University of Northern Colorado
Psychological Sciences
Campus Box 94
Greeley, CO 80639


Post Doc - Florida State University, USA

Post Doc - University of Central Florida, USA

Ph.D. - Liverpool John Moores University, UK

M.Sc. -  Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

B.Sc. (Hons) - University of Wolverhampton, UK

Professional/Academic Experience

Paul Ward joined the University of Northern Colorado in 2017 as Director of the School of Psychological Sciences and Professor of Applied Cognitive Science.  After his PhD, he moved to the USA to complete his post-doctoral work. He subsequently held appointments as Assistant and Associate Professor of Psychology at Florida State and Michigan Technological Universities. In 2013, he returned to the UK, where he held Professorial Chair positions at the Universities of Greenwich and Huddersfield. Currently, he is also an adjunct Professor at Michigan Tech and has previously held visiting Professor appointments in Norway. He has held several leadership positions throughout his career, including Head of Centre, Graduate Program Director, Research Director, and Faculty Senator.

Dr. Ward is internationally known for his pioneering research on the study of expertise, accelerated learning and training. He has attracted approximately $3 million in grant funding throughout his career, published over 100 scientific papers, and presented numerous invited lectures worldwide. He recently co-authored a Psychology Press book entitled Accelerated Expertise and is the lead editor for an upcoming Oxford University Press volume: The Oxford Handbook of Expertise. His research has been featured in the mainstream media including NPR talk radio, Nature Online, BBC, and ESPN magazine.

Dr. Ward is recognized in the UK as a Chartered Psychologist, Scientist, Ergonomist and Human Factors Specialist by the Royal Charter. He is also a Fellow of the UK Ergonomics and Human Factors Society. He routinely serves on National Science Foundation grant review panels and is a member of the UK Economic and Social Research Council’s Peer Review College. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Expertise and serves on the editorial board for the journal Human Factors.

Research/Areas of Interest

Dr. Ward has taught a range of undergraduate and graduate classes, including Cognition, Human Factors, and Research Methods. He has also taught varied seminar courses on topics such as Cognitive Task Analysis, the Study of Expertise, and Training.

His research focuses on understanding the cognitive system that supports skilled performance and its acquisition in complex domains, and on improving human performance through training and technological design. His research has been conducted in a range of occupational and professional domains including defense, law enforcement, cyber security, elite sports and healthcare, and in several areas of psychological science: 

Publications/Creative Works

Recent Representative Publications

Harris, K. R., Eccles, D. W., Freeman, C., & Ward, P. (2017). “Gun! Gun! Gun!”: An exploration of law enforcement officers’ performance under stress during actual events. Ergonomics, 60 (8), 1112-1122, DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2016.1260165

Jøsok Ø., Knox B.J., Helkala K., Lugo R.G., Sütterlin S., Ward P. (2016) Exploring the hybrid space. In: D. Schmorrow, & C. Fidopiastis (Eds.), Foundations of Augmented Cognition: Neuroergonomics and Operational Neuroscience. AC 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 9744. Springer, Cham.

Gore, J., & Ward, P. (Eds.) (2017). Naturalistic decision making and uncertainty—Proceedings of the 13th Bi-annual International Conference on Naturalistic Decision Making.Bath, UK: University of Bath. ISBN: 978-0-86197-194-7

Hoffman, R. R., Ward, P., Feltovich, P. J., DiBello, L., Fiore, S. M., & Andrews, D. (2014). Accelerated expertise: Training for high proficiency in a complex world. New York, NY: Psychology Press.

Militello, L., Klein, G., Wears, R., Ward, P., & Hoffman, R. R. (2017). “The War on Experts”, Panel presented at the Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 61st Annual Meeting, Austin, TX, USA. October 9-13, 2017.

Parkinson, S., Ward, P., Miller, J., & Wilson, K. (2017). Cyber threats facing autonomous and connected vehicles: Future challenges.IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Transactions. DOI: 10.1109/TITS.2017.2665968

Ward, P., Hoffman, R. R., Conway, G., Schraagen, J. M., Peebles, D., Hutton, R., Petushek, E. (Eds.) (2016). Macrocognition: The science and engineering of sociotechnical work systems. Frontiers in Psychology (Cognitive Science Section—Research Topic), 8 (515), doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00515

Ward, P., Hutton, R., Hoffman, R. R., Gore, J., Anderson, T., & Leggatt, A. (2016). Developing skilled adaptive performance: A scoping study (Final Technical Report v3). O-DHCSTC_I2_T_T2_077_002. Yeovil, UK: BAE Systems.

Ward, P., Belling, P., Petushek, P., & Ehrlinger, J. (2016). Does talent exist? A Re-evaluation of the Nature-Nurture Debate. In J. Baker, S. Cobley, J. Schorer and N. Wattie (Eds.), Routledge handbook of talent identification and development in sport (pp.19-34). London, UK: Routledge.