cognitive science lab
Our Laboratory The Cognitive Science Lab is located on the 11th floor of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Building on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Most of our work focuses on human memory, reading, and cognitive control. Given the inter-disciplinary nature of Cognitive Science, we employ a variety of methods from Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Neuropsychology to gain leverage in answering empirical questions about brain-behavior relations. Our MissionMy lab's research program focuses on the behavioral and brain correlates of executive attention. More specifically, we are interested in individual differences in the frontally-mediated ability to successfully maintain task goals in the face of potentially distracting information. In attempting to answer fundamental questions on executive attention, I have always placed great value on collaborative research and on obtaining converging evidence across various cognitive, neuropsychological, and functional neuroimaging methods. For instance, throughout my career, I have investigated executive attention using a number of laboratory tests, with particular emphasis on how individuals monitor or control the content of their memories. I have also investigated variability in executive attention in different populations including young adults, older adults, and Alzheimer's patients. Since arriving at Utah, my lab's research has increasingly taken an applied cognitive neuroscience approach, thereby expanding my investigation of individual differences in executive attention beyond traditional laboratory settings to include more naturalistic contexts. Most recently, I have collaborated with colleagues and students in Psychology and Neurology to identify individuals with extraordinary executive attention, who we term supertaskers, who show no dual-task costs from a common, real-world form of multitasking: driving while talking on a cell phone.