Cognitive Program Graduate Students

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Leigh Alexander

  • Advisor: Akira Miyake
  • Education: BA, University of Alabama (Neuropsychology and Consciousness Studies)
  • MA, University of Colorado Boulder (Psychology)
  • leigh.alexander@colorado.edu
  • Web:

Research Interests: Behavioral, neuroscientific, and genetic indices of cognitive control; applying ex-Gaussian analysis to study of task-switching; the role of inner speech in task-switching.

Lee Altamirano

  • Advisor: Akira Miyake
  • Education: BA, University of California, Berkeley (Physics)
  • MA, University of Colorado Boulder (Psychology)
  • lee.altamirano@colorado.edu
  • Web:

Research Interests: Lee’s current research explores individual differences in goal neglect, a phenomenon where task demands are clearly understood, yet temporarily ignored. In contrast to previous characterizations of goal neglect as a unitary construct, this research aims to identify dissociable cognitive mechanisms underlying distinct types of goal neglect.

Lindsay Anderson

  • Advisor: Alice Healy
  • Education: BA, Colorado State University (Psychology)
  • MA, University of Colorado Boulder (Psychology)
  • lindsay.anderson@colorado.edu
  • Web:

Research Interests: My research to date has focused on skill acquisition (particularly motor skills) and the learning of tasks relevant to applied settings. Overall, my interests include complex processes such as skill acquisition, human performance, training, and attention, as well as the application of these processes to real world situations and problems. Much of my research is also centered around identifying and investigating the cognitive components of the iclicker system that contribute to its effectiveness (or ineffectiveness), in order to inform effective use in real educational settings.

Jane Barker

Research Interests: Development of cognitive control mechanisms; symbolism/pretend play; the influence of SES on individual differences in executive function.

Daniel Corral

  • Advisor: Matt Jones
  • Education: California State University Northridge (Psychology & Philosophy)
  • MA, California State University Northridge (General Experimental Psychology)
  • daniel.corral@colorado.edu
  • Web:

Research Interests: I am generally interested in the study of complex cognition. More specifically, my research has focused on decision making and problem solving. Currently, my work is geared towards studying the effects of categorical learning on schema acquisition, knowledge representation, and analogical transfer.

Alejandro de la Vega

  • Advisor: Marie Banich
  • Education: B.A., Pomona College (Linguistics and Cognitive Science)
  • alejandro.delavega@Colorado.EDU
  • Web:

Research Interests: I am interested in the interaction between emotion and cognition. In particular, the mechanisms by which attention and memory are modulated by emotional stimuli and how executive processes control automatic emotional reactions.

James Foster

Research Interests:I am fascinated by how people use analogies to learn and reason about unfamiliar domains. I use computer modeling and human experiments to explore questions in cognitive science. What are the mental representations and mechanisms that enable us to connect concepts which appear different, yet share an underlying pattern? How does language, especially word meaning, help (or hurt) this inferential process? How can an understanding of analogy be applied to better education, and help people with mental disorders?

Lauren Goode

  • Advisor: ELiana Colunga
  • Education: BS, Indiana University (Psychology)
  • lauren.goode@colorado.edu
  • Web: none

Research Interests: How technologies (books, ereaders/ipads, smart phones, etc.) impact emergent literacy and other forms of development in infants and toddlers; how do children learn words- why do some children emerge as late talkers? And why do some children develop Specific Language Impairment while others catch up? Statistical learning, visual working memory, and categorical learning in infants and young children.

Daniel Gustavson

  • Advisor: Akira Miyake
  • Education:
  • daniel.gustavson@colorado.edu
  • Web: none

Research Interests: Individual differences in executive function ability. My current research investigates individual differences in the updating of working memory in anxious and depressed individuals, executive control components of displaying racial bias, and the relationship between music and cognition.

Nick Ketz

Research Interests: I'm generally interested in the interaction of prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus during memory encoding and retrieval. My goals include further computational and empirical investigations into the these two systems during my graduate studies.

John Lurquin

  • Advisor: Akira Miyake
  • Education: BS, Western Illinois University (Psychology)
  • Education: MS, Western Illinois University (Experimental Psychology)
  • john.lurquin@colorado.edu
  • Web:

Research Interests: My research interests lie in self-control. Currently, I am investigating the relationship between executive functioning and more behavioral measures of self-control (e.g., persistence). I am also very interested in how one's self-concept influences the tendency to demonstrate self-control.

Scott Mackie

  • Advisor: Randy O'Reilly
  • Education: BS, University of Iowa (Biomedical Engineering)
  • MS, University of Iowa (Biomedical Engineering)
  • prescott.mackie@colorado.edu
  • Web:

Research Interests: I'm interested in how parts of the prefrontal cortex weigh reward and use these representations to drive decision-making. I'm also interested in how other factors like pain, effort, and delay devalue reward, and how that affects behavior. To understand these mechanisms, I'm using fMRI to observe specific brain area activity as well as designing neural networks that can shed light on what it means to make a decision.

Laura Michaelson

Research Interests: I'm interested in how humans and other intelligent systems learn to guide their own behavior. Humans are uniquely sophisticated in their ability to adapt knowledge and behavior to changing environmental circumstances. To understand the neural and representational mechanisms supporting these skills, I study the development of cognitive flexibility and cognitive control across childhood.

Jessica Mollick

  • Advisor: Randy O'Reilly
  • Education: BA, University of California, Berkeley (Cognitive Science)
  • jessica.mollick@colorado.edu
  • Web:

Research Interests: I'm interested in the brain mechanisms involved in learning, decision making, and executive function, and the role that neuromodulatory systems such as dopamine play in these tasks. In particular, I am interested in models of the interactions between prefrontal cortex and subcortical areas like the basal ganglia and amygdala, and testing the predictions of these models empirically with methods such as fMRI.

Matt Mollison

  • Advisor: Tim Curran
  • Education: BA, Brandeis University (Psychology)
  • MA, University of Colorado Boulder (Psychology)
  • matthew.mollison@colorado.edu
  • Web: http://psych.colorado.edu/~mollison

Research Interests: My interests are in learning and memory, particularly in revealing and understanding correlations of EEG (using ERPs and oscillations) with the cognitive processes involved in recognition memory, and in modeling those processes.

Leif Oines

  • Advisor: Al Kim
  • Education: BA, University of California, Santa Cruz (Linguistics)
  • leif.oines@colorado.edu
  • Web:

Research Interests: My current interests mostly involve language processing, in particular ambiguity resolution (both lexical and syntactic), the effects of working memory span on sentence processing as well as issues involving the syntax-semantics interface. I am particularly interested in developing experiments using EEG/ERP to investigate at what point people employ contextual and semantic information to help drive the combinatorial mechanisms of syntactic processing.

Marianne Reddan

  • Advisor: Tor Wager
  • Education: BA, New York University
  • marianne.reddan@colorado.edu
  • Web:

Research Interests: I am interested in emotion: its underlying neural mechanisms, its effects on cognition and memory, and the behaviors it motivates. More specifically I am interested in empathetic processing and prosocial behavior, cognitive control of negative emotions, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, and the protective effects of social support.

Andrew E. Reineberg

Research Interests: I am interested in the interplay between mind wandering and executive function. Specifically, I am interested in furthering our understanding of the neural processes mediating the occurrence and awareness of mind wandering.

Scott Schafer

  • Advisor: Tor Wager
  • Education: BS, Arizona State University, Physics and Psychology
  • MPhil, New York University (Neuroscience)
  • scott.schafer@colorado.edu
  • Web:

Research Interests: Neural mechanisms of pain and pain relief, learning systems, and decision making

Shane Schwikert

  • Advisor: Tim Curran
  • Education: BS, University of Michigan (Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science)
  • shane.schwikert@colorado.edu
  • Web:

Research Interests: I'm interested in using EEG (ERPs and Time Frequency Analysis) to understand the neural correlates of memory, and to explore applications in decision making and related heuristics.

Choong-Wan (Wani) Woo

Research Interests: 1) The psychological and neural mechanisms underlying pain, anxiety, and depression; 2) the processing and regulation of pain and emotion (e.g., cognitive and social control) and their individual differences; 3) psychological and biological (or endophenotypic) markers of vulnerability and resilience for emotional distress; and 4) the neurobiological, affective, and cognitive consequences of psychotherapy.

Adam Young

  • Advisor: Alice Healy
  • Education: BA,  University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (Psychology & Philosophy)
  • MA, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (Psychology – Research)
  • adam.p.young@colorado.edu
  • Web: http://psych.colorado.edu/~ahealy/welcome.html

Research Interests: I study the acquisition, retention, and transfer of cognitive and motor skills - in other words, how we learn skills, maintain them over time, and use them over a variety of situations. The questions that guide my research include: How should one structure their practice time to lead to maximum improvement? What cognitive processes are involved in successful learning from errors? To what extent do executive processes such as metacognition influence the success of training? Future research will determine whether the answers to these questions can be used to facilitate skill learning across various applied domains.

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