Irina Baetu

Senior Lecturer
Irina Baetu
  Org Unit Psychology
  Telephone +61 8 8313 6102
  Location Floor/Room 5 09 ,  Hughes Building ,   North Terrace

2009 Ph.D., Department of Psychology, McGill University, Advisor: Dr. A.G. Baker

2001 B. Science, Department of Psychology, McGill University, Major in Psychology, Minor Concentration in German Studies


2014-2017 Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, Australian Research Council, project title: "Associative learning and fluid intelligence: Computational and neurogenetic analyses"

2010-2012 Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies (held at the University of Cambridge).

2010 New Investigator Award, American Psychological Association Division of Experimental Psychology, for "Human judgments of positive and negative causal chains." Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 35, 153-168.

2006-2009 Postgraduate Scholarship, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (held at McGill University).

2005-2006 McGill Major Fellowship, McGill University.


I am interested in discovering plausible mechanisms by which the brain can infer and represent the relationship between causes and effects. To do so, I use computational models that are inspired by some characteristics of the nervous system to simulate existing data on learning phenomena and generate novel, testable, predictions. I use behavioural and psychophysiological measures to study how people detect statistical regularities in their environment and how this influences the way they allocate their attention. I am also interested in studying brain disorders that involve learning and attention abnormalities.

Lab website


Baetu, I., & Baker, A.G. (in press). Human learning about causation. In R.A. Murphy and R. Honey (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Baetu, I., Burns, N.R., Urry, K., Barbante, G.G., & Pitcher, J.B. (in press). Commonly-occurring polymorphisms in the COMT, DRD1 and DRD2 genes influence different aspects of motor sequence learning in humans. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

Urry K, Burns N, Baetu I (2015) Accuracy-based measures provide a better measure of sequence learning than reaction time-based measures. Frontiers in Psychology, 6.

Barberia, I, Baetu, I., Sansa, J. & Baker, A.G. (2014). When is a cause the "same"? Incoherent generalization across contexts. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Baetu, I., & Baker, A.G. (2012). Are preventive and generative causal reasoning symmetrical? Extinction and competition. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65, 1675-1698.

Baetu, I., Barberia, I., Murphy, R.A., & Baker, A.G. (2011). Maybe this old dinosaur isn't extinct: What does Bayesian modeling add to associationism? Reply to Jones & Love. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 34, 190-191.

Barberia, I., Baetu, I., Murphy, R.A., & Baker, A.G. (2011). Do associations explain mental models of cause? International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 24, 365-388.

Barberia, I, Baetu, I., Sansa, J. & Baker, A.G. (2010). Choosing optimal causal backgrounds for causal discovery. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63, 2413-2431.

Baetu, I., & Baker, A.G. (2010). Extinction and blocking of conditioned inhibition in human causal learning. Learning & Behavior, 38, 394-407.

Baetu, I., & Shultz, T. R. (2010). Development of prototype abstraction and exemplar memorization. In S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 814-819). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Baetu, I., & Baker, A.G. (2009). Human judgments of positive and negative causal chains. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 35, 153-168.

Baker, A.G., Baetu, I. & Murphy, R.A. (2009). Propositional learning is a useful research heuristic but it is not a theoretical algorithm. Reply to Mitchell, De Houwer & Lovibond. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 32, 199-200.

Darredeau, C., Baetu, I., Baker, A.G., & Murphy, R.A. (2009). Competition between multiple causes of a single outcome in causal reasoning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 35, 1-14.

Baetu, I., Baker, A.G., Darredeau, C. & Murphy, R.A. (2005). A comparative approach to cue competition with one and two strong predictors. Learning & Behavior, 33, 160-171.

Baker, A.G., Murphy, R., Mehta, R., & Baetu, I. (2005). Mental models of causation: A comparative view. Wills, A. J. (Ed). New directions in human associative learning. (pp. 11-40). 260 pp. Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

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Entry last updated: Saturday, 7 Oct 2017

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