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Cognitive Psychology

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Cognitive Psychology

graphic of a human head with gears representing thinking

Graduate students in the cognitive area can choose from among the following specializations:

  • Computational Modeling
  • Cognitive Development
  • Cognitive Engineering & Human Factors (following the scientist-practitioner model)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognitive & Decision Psychology


Graduate students in the cognitive area have been supported by grants from:

  • National Science Foundation
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • National Institutes of Mental Health
  • National Institute on Aging
  • National Institute of Health
  • United States Department of Commerce
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency
  • United States National Academies of Science, Engineering, & Medicine

Faculty include: Edward Cokely, Adam FeltzScott Gronlund, Daniel KimballMichael Wenger (Program Coordinator), Lauren Ethridge, and Luz-Eugenia Fuenzalida

Graduate Students include: Amy Barnett, Keelyn Brennan, Jinhyo Cho, Justin Durham, Uyen (Gwen) Hoang, Jenna Holt, Dana Mahmoud-Elhaj, Duncan McCollum, Sarah Newbolds, Long Nguyen, Jordan Norris, Olivia Perrin, Mackenzie Riggenbach, and David Weed

Faculty in the Cognitive program are interested in such questions as:

  • How do conceptual and brain changes underlie children’s theory of mind development and reasoning about the social world?
  • How can we predict and improve skilled decision making and risk literacy?
  • How can we efficiently evaluate and promote user-friendly technologies?
  • What are the mental processes involved with forgetting?
  • How can learning and memory be improved?
  • Are there ways we can improve our assessment of our own memory (metamemory)?
  • What can be done to make eyewitness identifications more accurate?
  • What are the effects of brain iron deficiency and repletion on perception, memory, and cognition?
  • How can we use behavioral and neurophysiological evidence to evaluate hypotheses of multiple, simultaneously-available levels of coding in visual perceptual learning?
  • Can we develop computational, biophysically-constrained models of the neural networks that support visual perceptual learning?

Graduate students and faculty conduct research at the OU Cognitive Research Facility (OUCog), at the OU Visual Neuroscience Laboratory (OUVNL) and the Brain and Biomarker Lab (BABL) on the University’s research campus, at OU’s National Institute for Risk and Resilience, and at OU’s Behavioral Neuroscience and Performance Center (BNPC).

The OUCog research facility is a suite of adjoining laboratories that encourages a lively and interactive collaborative research environment. The suite currently houses laboratories for the following faculty members: Drs. Cokely, Feltz, Gronlund, and Kimball. Each lab includes a suite of three dedicated rooms. The laboratory also has a conference room and break room, and participant waiting/registration area. In addition to dozens of computers, there are eyetrackers, Oculus Rift VR displays, motion tracing video and audio recording systems, and computers with touchscreen interfaces. For stimulus creation and data analysis, the laboratory has a number high-powered PC and Mac workstations configured with graphics and data analysis software (e.g., EPrime, Mathematica, Photoshop, Matlab, R, SPSS, and SAS).

The OUVNL and the BABL Lab share a suite that currently supports the following faculty members: Drs. Michael Wenger and Lauren Ethridge in Psychology, and Lei Ding in OU’s School of Computer and Electrical Engineering (an expert in cortical source localization of EEG signals and brain-machine interfaces). The laboratory contains two EMF/RF shielded, sound- and light-attenuated chambers for the collection of EEG data, and two additional sound- and light-attenuated chambers for the collection of psychophysical data. The lab houses three high-density EEG systems and two low-density EEG systems. The OUVNL supports visual psychophysics and behavioral testing with a set of fast gray-scale CRT monitors equipped with custom display software. Responses can be timed to ± 1 ms on a set of custom-designed eight-button response boxes. For stimulus creation and data analysis, the lab has three iMacs and one Linux workstation configured with graphics and data analysis software (Gimp, Photoshop, Matlab, R, and SAS). The BABL, under the direction of Dr. Lauren Ethridge, is a multidisciplinary, translational neuroscience laboratory focusing on applications of basic science to clinical outcomes, particularly in neurodevelopmental disorders. The BABL group centers on the use of dense-array EEG as a translational tool for learning more about brain function in neurodevelopmental disorders.

Research at OU’s BNPC focuses on the optimization of performance in safety-sensitive occupations. BNPC’s research is fundamentally interdisciplinary and combines the study of individual differences, cognition, arousal/stress, and human factors. The Center brings together researchers from Engineering, Biology, Journalism, Psychology, and Health & Exercise Science with one common purpose.