Robert Youmans

Former Lecturer


Cognition; User Interface Design; Product Development; Design Fixation


Dr. Robert J. Youmans is a cognitive psychologist who directs product-development research at Google. Prior to joining Google, Rob was the Director of the Creative Design and User Experience (CDUX) laboratory at George Mason University (2011-2014), and an Assistant Professor of Applied Cognition at California State University, Northridge (2007-2011). Rob earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology with a doctoral minor in Industrial Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago (2007) for his research on links between physical prototyping and creative design. His M.A. degree in Experimental Psychology was awarded in 2003 by Wake Forest University for his research investigating human decision-making.

Current Research

Youmans, R. J., Smith, M. A., Gartenberg, D., Sarbone, B., Liu, S., Higgins, J., Lee, P., Penaranda, N., & Liu, S. (2014). Fleet: A Distributed Information Gathering and Processing System for the Alleviation of Commercial Air Travel Anxiety. The Journal of Air Traffic Control.

Youmans, R. J., & Arciszewski, T. (2014). Design fixation: Classifications and modern methods of prevention. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis, & Manufacturing.

Ramsburg, J. T., & Youmans, R. J. (2013). Meditation in the higher-education classroom: Meditation training improves student knowledge retention during lectures. Mindfulness, 1-11.

Youmans, R. J. (2011). Design fixation in the wild: design environments and their influence on fixation. Journal of Creative Behavior, 45, 101-107.

Youmans, R. J. (2011). Does the adoption of plagiarism detection software in higher education reduce plagiarism? Studies in Higher Education, 36, 749-761.

Youmans, R. J. (2010). The effects of physical prototyping and group work on the reduction of design Fixation. Design Studies, 32, 115-138. 

Other Research

Rob is currently the Head of Research Science at YouTube.


Doctorate of Philosophy (09/2007) University of Illinois at Chicago Experimental Psychology Dissertation: Reducing the Effects of Fixation in Creative Design

Masters of Arts (09/2003) Wake Forest University Experimental Psychology Thesis: Finding the Utility of Cognitive Information Feedback

Bachelor of Arts (09/1999) North Carolina State University Psychology

Last updated:

May 30, 2024