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Michigan State UniversityCognitive Science Program

Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Saleem Alhabash
Department of Advertising and Public Relations 
Research: processes and effects of new and social media, cognitive and emotional responses, and psychological effects associated with using social media and new technologies.
Ph.D., University of Missouri

Dr. Erik Altmann 
Department of Psychology 
Research: memory, attention, and executive function; computational and mathematical modeling of human performance. 
Ph.D. 1996, Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Mark Becker 
Department of Psychology 
Research: visual cognition and attention, scene viewing, how emotional stimuli, working memory, and long term memory influence the allocation of attention. 
Ph.D. 2000, University of California, San Diego

Dr. Alan Beretta
Department of Linguistics and Languages 
Research: neurolinguistics.
Ph.D. 1987, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Dr. Silvina Bongiovanni
Department of Romance and Classical Studies 
Research: phonetic and phonological variation, phonotactics, dialect variation, sound change, second language sound systems
Ph.D. 2018, Indiana University

Dr. Ryan Bowles
Department of Human Development and Family Studies 
Research: working memory, vocabulary ability, cognitive aging, quantitative methodologies for measurement and change.
Ph.D. 2006, University of Virginia

Dr. Jan Brascamp
Department of Psychology 
Research: visual perception, attention, awareness, perceptual ambiguity, psychophysics, functional MRI, TMS.
Ph.D. 2008, Utrecht University

Dr. Tom Carr
Department of Psychology 
Research: attention, knowledge representation, executive control, and performance under stress. 
Ph.D. 1975, George Peabody College at Vanderbilt University

Dr. Michael Casby
Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders 
Research: child language development and disorders, developmental disabilities, language-learning disabilities, emergent literacy.
Ph.D. 1980, University of Kansas

Dr. Soo-Eun Chang
Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders 
Research: neural bases of speech perception and production, neurophysiology bases of stuttering.
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Laura Dilley
Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders
Research: spoken language processing, word segmentation, perception and cognitive representation of intonational and lexical tone systems.
Ph.D. 2005, MIT

Dr. Laura Dillon
Department of Computer Science 
Research: formal notations and analysis techniques supporting software specification, design, modeling, and verification.
Ph.D. 1984, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Dr. Fred C. Dyer
Department of Zoology 
Research: mechanisms and evolution of visual behavior in insects; Ecology and evolution of social behavior in insects.
Ph.D. 1984, Princeton University

Dr. Allison Eden
Department of Communication 
Research: media psychology, media entertainment, and media processing.
Ph.D. 2011, Michigan State University

Dr. Heather Eisthen
Department of Zoology 
Research: neuroethology, evolutionary and developmental neurobiology 
Ph.D. 1992, Indiana University

Dr. David Ewoldsen
Department of Media & Information;
Research: Attitudes, Persuasion, Video Games, Racism, Media Psychology;
Ph.D. 1990, Indiana University

Dr. Kimberly Fenn
Department of Psychology 
Research: acquisition and consolidation of memory and skill learning, attention in learning and auditory perception, complex syntactical rule learning.
Ph.D. 2006, University of Chicago

Dr. Jodene Fine
Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education 
Research: neurobiological and neuropsychological aspects of learning in special populations including autism, nonverbal learning disability, and dyslexia.
Ph.D. 2006, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Thomas Getty
Department of Zoology and Kellogg Biological Station 
Research: the role of information in various aspects of animal behavior.
Ph.D. 1980, University of Michigan

Dr. Aline Godfroid
Second Language Studies Program
Research: attention, awareness and 'noticing'; implicit and explicit learning / memory; incidental vocabulary acquisition; eye tracking
Ph.D. 2010, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Dr. D. Zach Hambrick
Department of Psychology 
Research: effects of working memory, age, and domain-specific knowledge on cognition.
Ph.D. 2000, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Amanda Hampton Wray
Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders 
Research: Development of neural systems for language and executive control, neurophysiological bases of stuttering and other communication disorders.
Ph.D. 2011, Purdue University

Dr. Lauren Harris
Department of Psychology 
Research: neuropsychological analysis of human cognition, individual differences in spatial ability, lateralization (infants and children), history of psychology.
Ph.D. 1965, University of Minnesota

Dr. William M. Hartmann
Department of Physics and Astronomy 
Research: theoretical and experimental psychoacoustics
Ph.D. 1965, Oxford University

Dr. M. Karl Healey
Department of Psychology;
Research: memory encoding, memory retrieval, computatioal modeling of memory
Ph.D. 2011, University of Toronto

Dr. Florian Kagerer
Department of Kinesiology 
Research: motor development of children and youth, motor control and learning.
Ph.D. 1991, Institute of Medical Psychology in Munich

Dr. Anastasia Kononova
Department of Advertising and Public Relations 
Research: media use and multitasking; memory; attention; advertising and persuasion; behavioral outcomes; message-context congruency.
Ph.D. 2010, University of Missouri

Dr. Julie Libarkin
Department of Geological Sciences 
Research: geocognition.

Dr. Yen-Hwei Lin
Department of Linguistics and Languages 
Research: phonology, phonology-morphology interface, phonology-phonetics interface.
Ph.D. 1989, University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Taosheng Liu
Department of Psychology 
Research: brain mechanisms of perception and attention, object recognition, neuroimaging.
Ph.D. 2001, Columbia University

Dr. Dar Meshi
Department of Advertising and Public Relations 
Research: The neural processing of social information, social media, decision making, adolescents, and social influence.
Ph.D. 2006, Columbia University

Dr. Devin McAuley
Department of Psychology 
Research: time and rhythm, auditory perception, attention.
Ph.D. 1995, Indiana University at Bloomington

Dr. Jason Moser
Department of Psychology 
Research: error processing, attentional and cognitive control, emotion, emotion regulation, anxiety, event-related brain potentials/EEG.
Ph.D. 2009, University of Delaware

Dr. Alan Munn
Department of Linguistics and Languages 
Research: syntax, semantics, psycholinguistics.
Ph.D. 1993, University of Maryland

Dr. Charles Owen
Department of Computer Science and Engineering 
Research: virtual and augmented reality; realistic embodied agents; computer game design and development.  
Ph.D. 1998, Dartmouth College

Dr. Robert Pennock
Lyman Briggs College 
Research: evolution in action in both biological and digital environments
Ph.D. 1991, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Natalie Phillips
Department of English 
Research: eighteenth-century British literature, cognitive approaches to fiction, and the history of mind
Ph.D. 2010, Stanford University

Dr. Matthew Pontifex
Department of Kinesiology 
Research: ERP, behavioral, and neuropsychological investigations of the relation between physical health and cognitive control during maturation.
Ph.D. 2011, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Brad Rakerd
Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders 
Research: sound localization, speech perception, and hearing impairment.
Ph.D. 1982, University of Connecticut

Dr. Susan Ravizza
Department of Psychology 
Research: fMRI, behavioral, and neuropsychological studies of cognitive control, language, and motor coordination.
Ph.D. 2000, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Mark Reimers
Department of Neuroscience 
Research: neural data analysis, computational models of brain function, and neurogenomics.

Dr. Arun Ross
Department of Computer Science and Engineering 
Research: biometrics, pattern recognition, computer vision, image processing, machine learning
Ph.D. 2003, Michigan State University

Dr. Ralf Schmaelzle
Department of Communication;
Research: social, cognitive, and affective neuroscience; health and risk communication; neuroimaging of health prevention messages.
Ph.D. 2009, University of Konstanz, Germany

Dr. Cristina Schmitt
Department of Linguistics and Languages 
Research: syntax, syntax/semantics interface, aphasia.
Ph.D. 1996, University of Maryland

Dr. John Sherry
Department of Communication
Research: communication as a complex dynamic system, videogames for education.
Ph.D. 1998, Michigan State Unversity

Dr. Vaibhav Srivastava
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Research: human-automata interaction, networked multi-agent systems;
Ph.D., Unversity of California, Santa Barbara

Dr. George Stockman
Department of Computer Science< br/> Research: computer vision, knowledge representation and artificial intelligence.
Ph.D. 1977, University of Maryland

Dr. Laura Symonds
Department of Neuroscience 
Research: cognitive and emotional modification of pain, neurocognitive aging, schizophrenia.
Ph.D. 1982, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Leigh VanHandel
College of Music 
Research: music, language, music perception and cognition, computer-assisted research in music theory.
Ph.D. 2005, Stanford University

Dr. Courtney E. Venker
Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders
Research: language development, autism spectrum disorder, child language disorders, visual attention
Ph.D. 2013, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Dr. Bridget Walsh
Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders;
Research: neurophysiology of speech production in typical and atypical speaker populations, behavioral and physiological correlates of emotional reactivity in people who stutter, articulatory characteristics associated with stuttering and dysarthria.
Ph.D. 2007, Purdue University

Dr. John J. Weng
Department of Computer Science
Research: computer vision, speech, robotics, machine learning and machine mental development.
Ph.D. 1989, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Dr. David Zhu
Department of Psychology, Department of Radiology 
Research: MR imaging technique development and functional MRI applications.
Ph.D. 1999, University of California, Davis


MSU CogSci in the News and Announcements

Prof. Jan Brascamp, director of the visual neuroscience lab, and research assistant Haley Frey have an exhibition titled "FOMO?: Change Blindness and Selective Attention" on display at the MSU Museum Friday, March 4, 2022 from noon - 1pm. This collaboration between Michigan State University's Psychology Department and the MSU Museum is a part of the larger exhibition "The Observation Experiment" taking place from February 22 - April 30, 2022. Registration for this event is required and can be filled out here.

ATTENTION: Because of the move to remote format for MSU classes and events during the Fall 2020 semester, cognitive science events will take place online until further notice. Please see specific event pages for more details on remote attending.

Due to the novel coronavirus, all cognitive science events will be cancelled or postponed until further notice. We will release more information on new dates for postponed events as they are rescheduled. For official updates and information on MSU's response to the coronavirus, visit

Graduate student Stella (Cheng) Qian , member of the Brascamp lab for Visual Neuroscience, is the recipient of an Elsevier/Vision Research Travel Award for the 2019 Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society. [link]

Prof. Aline Godfroid was the recipient of the 2019 TESOL Award for Distinguished Research. The award was granted by the TESOL organization for her study "Incidental vocabulary learning in a natural reading context: An eye-tracking study", which was published in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. The article was selected by the organization as the best TESOL-related, empirical research article appearing in 2018. [link]

Graduate student Kaylin Smith, member of the Phonetics and Phonology group at MSU, is the recipient of an International Phonetic Association Student Award for the 2019 International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, which takes place August 5-9th in Melbourne, Australia.

Prof. Jan Brascamp , as instructor of the Cognitive Psychology honors course, had an exhibition titled The Art of Psychology of Perception on display at the MSU Broad Art Lab. This was a collaboration between the Psychology department and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. The exhibition was active from December 15th, 2018 until April 7, 2019. Rather than educating psychology students from utilizing a traditional art history overview, the students assessed the works on display using their own disciplinary background and perspective. [link]

Prof. Arun Ross was one of four panelists in a BBC Newshour Extra program titled Facing the Future, moderated by journalist Owen Bennet Jones. The panel discussed advancements made from automated face recognition and also personal privacy and biometrics. [link]

Prof. William Hartmann was awarded the 2017 Acoustical Society of America (ASA) Gold Medal for his contributions to the field of acoustics. His research has dealt with the perceptual analysis of sounds from varying sources, processing pitch, how humans localize sounds in space, and more. [link]

Profs. Devin McAuley and Natalie Phillips received an NSF Grant, The Role of Narrative in Music Perception, to study the factors which shape narrative listening to music and the relationship between narrative listening and other aspects of musical perception. [link]

Prof. Arun Ross and his colleague from NYU have had their research on the security of mobile fingerprint scanning featured in The New York Times, MSU Today, Popular Science, Homeland Security News Wire, and Science 360 News.

Professors Arun Ross, Xiaoming Liu, and Anil Jain received a 4-year grant from IARPA to conduct research on Presentation Attack Detection for fingerprint, face and iris biometric systems. [link]

CSE student Thomas Swearingen and his adviser Prof. Arun Ross won the runner up award for best paper at ISBA 2017. [link]

Research on laptop use and classroom learning by Prof. Susan Ravizza, Mitchell Uitvlugt, and Prof. Kim Fenn was featured in US News, BYU Radio, The Conversation, and numerous higher education journals [1, 2, 3, 4].

Prof. Cristina Schmitt received an NSF Grant, Effects of Variation and Variability in the Acquisition of Two Dialects of Spanish, to study first language acquisition of Spanish in the context of variability caused by contact between two very different varieties of Spanish: Paraguayan Spanish, which is heavily influenced by Guaraní (an indigenous language), and Rioplatense Spanish (spoken in Buenos Aires). [link]

Prof. Aline Godfroid received a Language Learning Early Career Research Grant for her validation project on "Measuring implicit and explicit L2 knowledge: Synthesizing 12 years of research."

Prof. Mark Becker has published five papers so far this year in Perception,Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance,Packaging Technology and Science,Visual Cognition, and Applied Ergonomics.

Sunpreet Arora and Anil Jain were part of a team that won Best Paper at BioSig 2016 for their paper titled "3D Whole Hand Targets: Evaluating Slap and Contactless Fingerprint Readers".

Dr. Anil Jain was part of a team that won Best Poster at BioSig 2016 for a poster titled "Advances in Capturing Child Fingerprints: A High Resolution CMOS Image Sensor with SLDR Method".

Dr. Anil Jain and Dr. Arun Ross were awarded a three-year NSF grant under the Secure & Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program for their proposal entitled "Imparting Privacy to Biometric Data in Cyberspace".

Dr. Arun Ross (with Dr. Nasir Memon, NYU) was awarded a three-year NSF grant for their project entitled "The Master Print: Investigating and Addressing Vulnerabilities in Fingerprint-based Authentication Systems".

Science writer Carl Sherman's story on stuttering for the Dana Foundation website, titled Seeking Clues to Stuttering Deep Within the Brain, featured research by Prof. Devin McAuley.

Summer 2016
Dr. Mark Becker was invited by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to present his work investigating individual differences in cognition and personality that predict rare target detection at their Workshop on Developing Personnel Selection Tools for Forensic Scientists.

Summer 2016
Prof. Mark Reimers and colleague Bruce McNaughton received an NSF grant to study the dynamics of hippocampal-cortical communication during memory formation and recall.

Summer 2016
Prof. Susan Ravizza became a senior editor for the journal Brain Research.

Summer 2016
Prof. Mark Reimers received a Templeton Foundation grant to study the molecular coherence of genetic variants related to behavioral traits, including IQ.

For older news, check out our news archive here.