The Reasoning Lab is housed in the Laboratory of Autonomous Systems building as well as the Information Technology Division building at NRL headquarters in Washington, DC.

The Reasoning Lab at the Naval Research Laboratory focuses on building AI systems capable of rich inferential interactions based on interpreting the environment into meaningful representations. The lab conducts basic research into how people reason in a variety of domains (spatiotemporal, causal, explanatory, probabilistic, and epistemic reasoning). It investigates the constrained, iconic mental simulations that people rapidly build, as well as their ability to overcome potential reasoning errors.

The lab develops cognitively plausible computational simulations of human performance in deductive, inductive, and explanatory reasoning tasks. AI systems equipped with the ability to reason like humans should better interact with human counterparts in real-world environments.

Current lab members

Dr. Sangeet “Sunny” Khemlani (
Principal investigator

Dr. Laura Kelly (
Postdoctoral researcher (2018 – present)

Dr. Hillary Harner (
Postdoctoral researcher (2019 – present)

Dr. Greg Trafton (
Section Head, Human and Machine Intelligence Section

Lab alumni

Neha Bhat
Summer Intern, Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (2019)

Dr. Zach Horne
Postdoctoral researcher (2016-2017)
Now: Assistant Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University

Nikhil Khosla
Summer Intern, Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (2017, 2018)
Now: Undergraduate at University of Michigan

Dr. Joanna Korman
Postdoctoral researcher (2016-2018)
Now: Social Cognitive Scientist at MITRE Corporation