CMU Department of Psychology Graduate Students



Cate, Anthony

I want to know how we perceive and remember our visual environment. We spend so much time in it, after all. Currently I'm interested in learning how different regions of the brain responsible for spatial attention, analysis of visual form, and associative memory work together to create a seamless experience of environment. I have worked with unilateral neglect patients to study competitive mechanisms of attention in the posterior parietal lobe. I am also beginning to study how we perceive and recognize complex visual scenes with many elements.


Chang, Norma

I'm a second-year student interested in investigating any aspects of cognition that relate to math and science education, having taught high-school chemistry and math for five years.  I am currently studying the effect of presenting spurious correlations between relevant and irrelevant features on the concepts and strategies that students learn. In my non-academic life, I enjoy the performing arts (violin, piano, jazz dance, ballroom) and the outdoors (hiking and paddling), so I would love to hear recommendations of where to go and what to do.


Diana, Rachel

At the moment I am investigating the application of memory principles to face recognition, looking at the effects of irrelevant features in identifying people of the same and opposite races. I am also looking at the effect of fan (multiple associations for irrelevant features) on face recognition. I am currently building a huge database of faces with hats, glasses, etc. As a first year I am still fine tuning my area of research, but things such as memory failure, learning principles, and metacognition interest me. I am also delving into some neuroscience on the side.


Eyer, Julie



Fincham, Jon

Too cool to send me any personal information.  Gosh He is still here after all these years.


Geng, Joy

Objects are rarely encountered in isolation. Rich networks of perceptual and semantic information are continuously present and contribute to the interpretation of our visual experiences. My research interest deals with the question of how context (defined as information that is not essential for the immediate task, but that is spatially or temporally nearby) modulates visual perception and recognition of objects.


Graham, Steve

All of my research interests relate, in one way or another, to close interpersonal relationships. My primary interest at this time is understanding the ways in which people think about close relationship partners (romantic partners, friends, roommates, etc.). I am currently conducting studies that should provide insight (via reaction times and self-reports) into how people organize positive and negative information about their partners in memory. My particular interest in these studies is understanding the impact of self-esteem on these mental representations. Other interests include understanding the behavioral mechanisms by which people come to form close relationships and understanding the barriers to forming close relationships faced by people with disabilities.


Gonzalez, Roxana

I am a 2nd year doctoral candidate in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences and the Department of Psychology. I study behavioral decision making, a hybrid discipline of Psychology and Economics. My main research interest is to understand the specific mechanisms through which emotion and cognition interactively shape judgment and choice.


Gunzelmann, Glenn

Second year. I study the fun stuff; problem solving, transfer of learning, dynamic tasks and the like. I have been looking at strategy transitions in the Tower of Hanoi, but I am finishing that up and moving on to the fast-paced world of imagery. I'm following the empirical to computational approach. Oh, I maintain this site, too. Let me know if there are errors. I run another site too.


Hahn, Erin (Little Red)



Katz, Jacques

Cortical plasticity. That's my thing. Doesn't it just make you want to groooove; to sway to that funky sound? Yeah well, we can't all be interested in the same thing. I however, have been stylin' my way toward an understanding of how the cortex reorganizes itself after damage. I've almost got it all figured out. I'm thinking that I'll work on antigravity next. Did I mention that I use neural network models? Things I like to do in Pittsburgh in my spare time: go to New York.


Kwok, Ken

I hail from sunny Singapore 13 time zones away (no, we're not and have never been a part of China!). In a previous existance, I drove missle boats for the Singapore Navy. Now, I research human memory and cognition... I am particularly interested in the interactions between memory systems and how they subserve cognition. I work mainly at the Mellon Institute so you probably wouldn't find me around a lot in the corridors of the Psy dept. In my free time, I like to explore the environs of Pittsburgh with my better half, Seok. And if there was better skiing in these parts, you'd probably find me on the slopes too.


Maia, Tiago

Language is a privileged domain in which to study the fundamental issues of domain-generality versus domain-specificity, nativism versus empiricism, and modularity versus embodiment. I am interested in exploring these issues in the related contexts of language acquisition (e.g., do children learn language based on general learning mechanisms, such as picking up statistical regularities in the input, or based on innate linguistic knowledge?) and language evolution (e.g., is language a uniquely human characteristic because only humans evolved the required innate linguistic knowledge, or because only humans evolved the non-language-specific cognitive abilities necessary for language?). I am also interested in concepts and categories, mainly from a developmental perspective, as well as in several other topics in cognition. My main methodology is the combined use of computational models (mostly connectionist and statistical/probabilistic) and behavioral techniques.


Mirman, Dan

I am interested in how perceptual systems organize themselves to perform useful tasks. More specifically, I am studying auditory perception in its relation to speech perception. I use a combination of experimental (adult human behavioral) and computational (self-organizing connectionist networks) techniques. When I am not working I can be found playing volleyball or basketball, at the movies or at a concert, or at one of the many low-priced dessert- and/or beer-dispensing venues of sunny Pittsburgh.


Moss, Jarrod



Novak, Sarah

I have broad interests that span social and health psychology.  My current

research focuses on some of the psychological ramifications of living with

a chronic illness.  In particular, I am studying the effects of a chronic

illness on identity formation, perception of stigma, quality of life, and

relationships.  I am primarily interested in the experience of adolescents

and adults with Type 1 diabetes, but I also intend to study other illness



Pavlik, Philip

I am interested in all aspects of cognition (including less traditional areas like emotion and motivation). Currently I have been working on learning ACT-R 5.0 and learning LISP. Some research ideas I have involve mental rotation (which I did undergraduate research in) and motivation (which I understand from the perspective of the economist, because I have a BA in econ). I have many hobbies.


Pressman, Sarah

My primary interest in in how and why people get sick under stress (a broad interest but i'm only in first year!). Currently, I am involved in a project examining the impact of stress, social support factors, health behaviors, and mood on the production of antibody following flu and meningitis immunization in freshman. Of particular interest to me is where the individual differences in stress response arise from and how we develop our own personal strategies for coping with stress (biological and psychological).


Reynolds, Kerry

Several things fascinate me about the connection between the mind and the body. I'm interested in the way that people adjust psychologically to illness. Also, I'm also interested in the way that certain psychological characteristics (especially gender roles and feelings of control) are associated with health outcomes. I am working with Vicki Helgeson to explore these issues and ideas.


Small, Deoborah                  

I am a 3rd year doctoral candidate in the Department of Social and Decisions Sciences and the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.  I study behavioral decision research, a hybrid discipline of Psychology and Economics.  My research includes the "identifiable victim effect", emotional influences on decision making, and gender and negotiation.




Mailing address:                          Deborah  Small

                                                Porter Hall 208

                                                Carnegie Mellon University

                                                Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Office:                                       Porter Hall, Rm. 319-A

Office Phone:                              412-268-1207

Or you may find me in the lab:      Baker Hall, Rm. A55b



Smith, Evan

I work principally at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition with Mike Lewicki (CS) in the domain computational neuroscience.  Currently, I am using signal processing and information theoretic techniques to probe issues of optimal coding in a “spiking” neural system.  What computations does the brain use to encode and process a high fidelity code?   To address this issue, I work to identify the algorithms employed by the cochlea and auditory brainstem which give rise to the amazing fidelity found in mammalian hearing.


Stephens, Joseph (Beau)

Research on mechanisms of speech perception.


Triona, Lara

Lara is exploring the connections in children's understanding of mathematics and science. She conducts basic research, but also attempts to influence educational methods. When she is not at the schools collecting data, you will find her in front of a TV coding data (ah the life of a developmental psychologist).


Vander Wyk, Brent

McClelland and Rumelhart started a big fight in the 80's about how people process language, and in particular how they inflect verbs. I am involved in showing that connectionist models of the linguistic system can account for patterns of verb inflection performance in aphasics that are thought to be inconsistent with the connectionist account and supportive of the traditional view of language.


Wimisberg, Kobi

Decisions from all kinds, that's my stuff. I am a 3rd year student in the joint program to the Departments of Psychology and Social & Decision Sciences, where I am affiliated with the Center for Risk Perception and Communication. If you are interested in the psychological aspects of Medical Decision Making you are in the right place. And why is that? Because currently I am working with Baruch Fischhoff, Robyn Dawes, Julie Downs, and Robert Cook on a fascinating study called "Which Disease Do You Prefer?" Basically we are interested to know what is the best way to measure people’s preferences among different health states. Great, isn't it? In addition, I am working on Dynamic Decision Making and Military Decision Making stuff with Cleotilde Gonzalez (shhh...can't tell you, will have to kill you first), but if you promise not to tell anyone, it’s about Situation Awareness and how people recognize specific situations and translate them into decisions in dynamic environments. I am also interested in the boundaries between philosophy, psychology, and decision making.

Advisor: Baruch Fischhoff



Office: PH 321

Lab: BH A5A

Phone: x2869/4496