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Graduate Office

Sherri Gilliland, Graduate Records



Department of Psychology 
125 Moore Building 
The Pennsylvania State University 
University Park, PA 16802-3106

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The Cognitive Psychology program at Penn State emphasizes research and theory in a variety of subareas of cognitive psychology and human performance, including language, learning, memory, perception, and rhythms of human behavior..

Cognitive Area faculty investigate a wide range of topics including language, learning, memory, perception, and rhythms of human behavior. We use a wide range of methodological approaches in our research including functional neuroimaging (fMRI, EEG, DTI), behavioral approaches, as well as computational and mathematical modeling.  Our area promotes cross-disciplinary collaboration through an extensive network of university affiliations that facilitate research initiatives spanning the globe.

We are committed to providing students with high quality training in an atmosphere that promotes many formal and informal interactions with faculty and peers from around the department and the university. Our program is tailored to meet the individual needs of our students. Students may choose to participate in the APA award-winning Specialization in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) program, or select from a variety of minors and dual-degree options as appropriate. For more information, see the Prospective Graduate Students page.

Cognitive area news!

Michele Diaz and Nancy Dennis have been promoted to Professor!

Natalie Schwob won a Language Learning Dissertation Grant

Janet Van Hell is an Honorary Member of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology

Janet Van Hell has a new grant with the NSF: 

Listening out for variation: An investigation of mono- and bidialectal listeners inside and outside of Southern US communities.

Grant with Abby Walker (Virginia Tech). Project studies behavioral and electrophysiological responses of bidialectal and monodialectal adults listening to different dialects. Project specifically studies how context impacts bidialectal listeners’ processing, testing the hypothesis that these listeners switch between a flexible, but less efficient strategy when they are unsure which dialect to expect, and a focused, more efficient strategy when a given dialect is expected. Participants are tested in both university and community settings (South Central Appalachia) using a mobile EEG unit (the Brain Bus). 

Yushuang Liu and Janet Van Hell  received NSF Doctoral Dissertation improvement grant:  Processing foreign-accented speech in noisy conditions in children and adults

Lizz Karuza and Janet Van Hell are team members on a new NSF grant “Enhancing Speech Science Training through Collaboration: Investigating Perception of a Variable Speech Signal“ (PIs: Navin Viswanathan (PSU) and Joseph Stephens of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State U, the nation’s largest HBCU). This grant is funded through the NSF Build and Broaden Program. Apart from a research program investigating speech variability, a key focus of this grant is to train more speech scientists and build research capacity at a Minority Serving Institution.

Congratulations to Hannah Merseal for winning an award for best presentation at the Division 10 student showcase of the APA. 

Congratulations to Dr. Nancy Dennis for being awarded a grant with the National Institute on Aging. National Institute on Aging entitled Investigating age-related differences in cognitive and neural representations in associative memory 

Congratulations to Dr. Nancy Dennis for being awarded a grant with the National Science Foundation entitled Understanding the contribution of individual differences to domain-general and domain-specific components of false memories in both young and older adults 

Congratulations to Dr. Roger Beaty for being honored with the APA's Division 10 Daniel Berlyne Award, which recognizes outstanding research by an early career scholar.



Dr. Roger Beaty and Dr. Elisabeth Karuza join the cognitive area as assistant professors. 

Congratulations to Dr. Rick Gilmore for being awarded a $6.3 million grant from the NIH. The grant will focus on infant and mother behaviors during natural activity.  

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