Paul Ward

Faculty | Staff | Adjunct Faculty

Paul Ward

Associate Professor of Psychology

PhD, Applied Experimental Psychology
Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom, 2002

Psychology Division
105 Meese Center
G07 Meese Center
Phone: 906.487.2065
FAX: 906.487.1094


Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors PhD program


Applied Cognition & Expertise (ACE) Laboratory

Recent Courses

Human Factors (PSY3850)
Human Factors (PSY5850)

Professional Biography

After completing his graduate education in the UK, Paul Ward began his post-doctoral research in Applied Experimental and Human Factors Psychology at the University of Central Florida (2002-2003). He continued his post-doctoral work in Applied Cognitive Science at Florida State University at the Learning Systems Institute's Center for Expert Performance Research (2004-2006). In 2006, he became Assistant Professor of Psychology (in the Cognitive program) at Florida State University. In 2010, he took up his current position as Associate Professor of Psychology, and Director of the Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors PhD program in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences at Michigan Technological University.

Applied Cognition & Expertise (ACE) Laboratory


Research conducted in Dr. Ward’s Applied Cognition and Expertise (ACE) Lab is focused on identifying the cognitive and situational factors that affect performance in complex and stressful environments, such as law enforcement, emergency health care and sports. Our aim is to identify the kinds of thinking (e.g., anticipation, situational assessment, decision making) responsible for superior and successful performance, and identify how this is acquired and/or trained. Our research adopts a use-inspired approach with two primary goals: To increase understanding of the cognitive system that supports skilled performance and its acquisition, and to improve human performance through instructional and technological design.

For more information, see the Applied Cognition & Expertise (ACE) Laboratory.

Research Interests

  • Expert cognition and superior performance
  • Expert Performance-based Training (ExPerT) and perceptual-cognitive skill acquisition
  • Skilled Performance under stress

Selected Publications

  1. Eccles, D. W., Ward, P., Goldsmith, E. (2011). How do we make financial education policy work? How research on personal financial practices associated with wealth accumulation can enhance the effectiveness of financial educational programs. In Proceedings of the Annual Conference of American Council on Consumer Interests, Washington, DC. April 13-15, 2011.
  2. Eccles, D. W., Ward, P., Woodman, T., Janelle, C. M., Le Scanff, C., Ehrlinger, J., Castanier, C. & Coombes, S. (2011). Human factors and sport psychology: Advancing the science of human performance. Human Factors, 53, 180-202. DOI: 10.1177/0018720811403731
  3. McRobert, A, Ward, P., Eccles, D. W., & Williams, A. M. (2011). The effect of manipulating context-specific information on perceptual-cognitive processes during a simulated anticipation task. British Journal of Psychology. Advanced copy available online March 8th, 2011. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.2010.02013.x
  4. North, J., Ward, P., Ericsson, K. A., & Williams, A.M. (2011). Mechanisms underlying skilled anticipation and recognition in a dynamic and temporally constrained domain. Memory, 19 (2), 155-168. 
  5. Pastel, R. & Ward, P. (2011). Orienting Graphical Objects on Computer Displays Using Indented Mouse Wheels. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 55th Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV. September 19-23, 2011. Santa Monica, HFES. 
  6. Ward, P. Suss, J., Eccles, D. W., Williams, A. M., & Harris, K. R. (2011). Skill-based differences in option generation in a complex task: A verbal protocol analysis. Cognitive Processing: International Quarterly of Cognitive Science. Advanced copy available online April 2nd, 2011. DOI: 10.1007/s10339-011-0397-9
  7. Ward, P., Gabbard, S. R., Watamaniuk, S. N. J., Macquet, A-C., Araujo, D., Veinott, E. S., Mueller, S. T., & Fadde, P. (2011). Symposium on recognition, prediction and decision making in sport. In Proceedings of The 10th International Conference on Naturalistic Decision Making, Orlando, FL. May 31-June 3, 2011.
  8. Ward, P. (2011). Prediction and option generation in sport. In Proceedings of The 10th International Conference on Naturalistic Decision Making, Orlando, FL. May 31-June 3, 2011. 
  9. Basevitch, I., Ward, P., Ericsson, K. A., Ehrlinger, J., & Filho, E. (2010). Practice habits, self-beliefs, self-evaluations and soccer-skill level.Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 32, S57-S58.
  10. Eccles, D. W., Ward, P., Goldsmith, E. (2010). The relationship between household wealth and householders’ lifetime personal financial and investing practice. In Proceedings of the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education, Denver, CO November 17-19, 2010. 
  11. Suss, J. & Ward, P. (2010). Skill-based differences in the cognitive mechanisms underlying failure under stress. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 54th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA. September 27-October 1, 2010. Santa Monica, HFES.
  12. Ward, P., Harris, K. R., Eccles, D. W., Suss, J., & Ehrlinger, J. (2010). Domain-general, domain-specific and study-related predictors of performance in Advanced Placement science. In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association, Denver, CO. April, 30-May 4, 2010.
  13. Ward, P., Torof, J., Whyte, J., Eccles, D. W., & Harris, K. R. (2010). Option generation and decision making in critical-care nursing. InProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 54th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA. September 27-October 1, 2010. Santa Monica, HFES.
  14. Whyte, J., Hauber, R., Cormier, E., Grubbs, L. & Ward, P.  (2010). A study of the relationship of nursing interventions and cognitions to the physiologic outcomes of care in a simulated task environment. Applied Nursing Research, 23, e1-e8. 
  15. Williams, A. M., Ford, P., Eccles, D. W., & Ward, P. (2010). Perceptual-cognitive expertise in sport and its acquisition: Implications for applied cognitive psychology. Applied Cognitive Psychology. Advanced copy available online June 28th, 2010. DOI: 10.1002/acp.1710
  16. Eccles, D., Ward, P, & Woodman, T. (2009). Competition-specific preparation and expert performance. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 10,96-107.
  17. Ericsson, K. A., Perez, R., Eccles, D. W., Lang, L., Baker, E., Bransford, J., VanLehn, K. & Ward, P. (2009). The measurement and development of professional performance: An introduction to the topic and the organization of this book. To appear in Ericsson, K. A. (Ed.) (2009), Development of professional expertise: Toward measurement of expert performance and design of optimal learning environments (pp.1-24). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  18. Ford, P., Ward, P., Hodges, N. J., & Williams, A. M. (2009). The role of deliberate practice and play in career progression in sport: The early engagement hypothesis. High Ability Studies, 20 (1), 65-75.
  19. North, J. S., Williams, A. M., Hodges, N. J., Ward, P., & Ericsson, K. A. (2009). Perceiving patterns in dynamic action sequences: The relationship between pattern recognition and anticipation skill. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 23, 1-17.
  20. McRobert, A, Williams, A. M., Ward, P., & Eccles, D. W. (2009). Tracing the process of expertise in a simulated anticipation task.Ergonomics, 52, 474-483.
  21. Ward, P., Suss, J. & Basevitch, I. (2009). Expertise and expert performance-based training (ExPerT) in complex domains. Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning, 7 (2), 121-145.
  22. Whyte, J., Ward, P., & Eccles, D. W. (2009). The relationship between knowledge and clinical performance in novice and experienced critical care nurses: An application of the expert performance approach. Heart & Lung: The Journal of Acute and Critical Care, 38 (6), 517-525. 
  23. Eccles, D. W., Ward, P., Janelle, C. M., Woodman, T., & Le Scanff, C. (2008). Shared interests in solving common problems: How the field of sport psychology might inform the future of human factors and ergonomics. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 52nd Annual Meeting, New York, NY, CD-ROM (ISBN 978-0-945289-32-6). Santa Monica, HFES
  24. Ward, P., Farrow, D., Harris, K. R., Williams, A. M., Eccles, D. W., & Ericsson, K. A. (2008). Training perceptual-cognitive skills: Can sport psychology research inform military decision training? Military Psychology, 20, S71-S102.
  25. Williams, A. M., Ericsson, K. A., Ward, P., & Eccles, D. W. (2008). Research on expertise in sport: Implications for the military. Military Psychology, 20, S123-S145.
  26. Williams, A. M., Ward, P., Ward, J., & Smeeton, N. J. (2008). Task specificity, position specificity, and expert performance. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport,79, 428-433.
  27. Duley, A., Ward, P., & Hancock, P. (2007). Setting up a laboratory for the measurement of complex performance. In J. M. Spector, M. D. Merrill, J. J. G. van Merriënboer, and M. P. Driscoll (Eds.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (3rd ed.) (pp.789-800). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  28. Ericsson, K. A., & Ward, P. (2007). Capturing the naturally-occurring superior performance of experts in the laboratory: Toward a science of expert and exceptional performance. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16 (6), 346-350. 
  29. Ericsson, K. A., Whyte, J., & Ward, P. (2007). Expert performance in nursing: Reviewing research on expertise within the framework of the expert-performance approach. Advances in Nursing Science, 30 (1), E58-E71.
  30. Mann, T. Y., Janelle, C. M., Williams, A. M., & Ward, P. (2007). Perceptual-cognitive expertise in sport: A meta-analysis. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 29, 457-478.
  31. Ward, P., Harris, K. R., Ericsson, K. A., Eccles, D. W., Tashman, L., & Lang, L. (2007). Cognitive basis for expert and superior performance in law enforcement. In D. S. McNamara & J. G. Trafton (Eds.), Proceedings of the 29th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (p. 1884). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society
  32. Ward, P., Hodges, N. J., Starkes, J. L., & Williams, A. M. (2007). The road to excellence: Deliberate practice and the development of expertise.High Ability Studies, 18 (2), 119-153.
  33. Williams, A. M., & Ward, P. (2007). Anticipation and decision making: Exploring new horizons. In G. Tenenbaum, and R. Eklund (Eds.),Handbook of sport psychology (3rd ed.) (pp. 203-223). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.
  34. Crosby, M., Scholtz, J., & Ward, P. (2006) (Eds.). Special issue of interacting with computers: Symbiotic performance between humans and intelligent systems. Interacting with Computers [Special Issue], 18(6).
  35. Harris, K. R., Tashman, L., J., Ward, P., Ericsson, K. A., Eccles, D. W., Williams, A. M., Ramrattan, J. & Hassler, L. (2006). Planning, evaluation, and cognition: Exploring the structure and mechanisms of expert performance in a representative dynamic task. In Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 26-29th July (pp.327-332). Vancouver, BC, Canada: CSS
  36. Laurent, E., Ward, P., Williams, A. M., & Ripoll, H. (2006). Expertise in basketball modifies perceptual discrimination abilities, underlying cognitive processes, and visual behaviors. Visual Cognition, 13 (2), 247-271.
  37. Tashman, L. S., Harris, K. R., Ramrattan, J., Ward, P., Eccles, D. W., Ericsson, K.A., & Lang, L. B. (2006). Expert performance in law enforcement: Are skilled performers more effectively constraining the situation to resolve representative dynamic tasks than novices? InProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 50th Annual Meeting, (pp.1213-1217). Santa Monica, HFES
  38. Ward, P., & Eccles, D. W. (2006). A commentary on ‘Team cognition and expert teams: Emerging insights into learning and performance for exceptional teams’. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 4, 463-483.
  39. Ward, P., Williams, A. M., & Hancock, P. A. (2006). Simulation for performance and training. In K.A. Ericsson, N. Charness, R. Hoffman, and P. Feltovich (Eds.), Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance (pp. 243-262). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  40. Eccles, D. W., Ericsson, K. A., Harris, K., Sacks, D. N., Ward, P., & Williams, A. M. (2005) From the “don’t know” to the “damn konfident”: Contrasting the efficacy of concurrent “think aloud”, immediate retrospective, delayed retrospective, and conventional interview methods. InProceedings of the 11th World Congress of Sport Psychology (CD). Sydney, Australia: International Society of Sport Psychology.
  41. Savelsbergh, G.J.P., van der Kamp, J. Williams, A.M., & Ward, P. (2005). Anticipation and visual search behaviour in expert soccer goalkeepers. Ergonomics, 11-14, 1686-1697.
  42. Smeeton, N. J., Williams, A. M., Hodges, N. J., & Ward, P. (2005). The relative effectiveness of various instructional approaches in developing anticipation skill. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 11 (2), 98-110.
  43. Ward, P., Ericsson, K. A., Eccles, D. W., & Hassler, L. (2005). Task analyses, protocol analyses, and Situation models: Implications for perceptual-cognitive expertise research. In Proceedings of the 11th World Congress of Sport Psychology (CD). Sydney, Australia: International Society of Sport Psychology.
  44. Ward, P., Hodges, N. J., Williams, A. M., & Starkes, J. L. (2004). Deliberate practice and expert performance: Defining the path to excellence. In A.M. Williams and N.J. Hodges (Eds.), Skill acquisition in sport: Research, theory and practice (pp. 232-258). London: Routledge. 
  45. Ward, P., & Williams, A. M. (2003). Perceptual and cognitive skill development in soccer: The multidimensional nature of expert performance.Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 25 (1), 93-111.
  46. Williams, A. M., & Ward, P. (2003). Perceptual expertise: Development in sport. In J. L. Starkes and K. A. Ericsson (Eds.), Expert performance in sport: Advances in research on sport expertise (pp. 220-249). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  47. Williams, A.M., Ward, P., Knowles, J., & Smeeton, N. (2002). Anticipation skill in a real-world task: Measurement, training, and transfer in tennis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 8 (4), 259–270.