Causal Reasoning

Conscious Awareness: I am honored to join the Neurophilosophy of Free Will project as a winner of the 2020 Worldwide Competition. In this international collaboration, I am studying the neurocognitive functional role of attention and conscious awareness in action. Through behavioral, self-report, and high-temporal-resolution EEG measures of electrical brain activity, this project characterizes the neural processes that underly spatial attention orientation, conscious awareness, and the preparation, execution, and accuracy of motor responses. It also assesses how attention and conscious awareness affects judgements of responsibility for actions.

Counterfactual Simulation: I’m currently investigating how people use counterfactual simulation (contemplating alternative outcomes) to make causal judgements. In an ongoing project with philosophers and cognitive neuroscientists, I’m studying gaze-based signatures of counterfactual simulation to gauge how peoples’ normative understanding impact causal judgements. I am also investigating how visual mental imagery supports counterfactual simulation and the subsequent judgements about the perceived outcomes.

Mind Wandering

Prospective Memory: I’m investigating the relationship between mind wandering (e.g., zoning out), prospective memory (remembering to perform a future task), and moral agency (making judgements based on notions of right and wrong). I’m using behavioral and EEG measures to assess the impact of mind wandering on prospective memory and how others make moral judgements regarding an agent’s prospective memory errors committed during mind wandering.

Gaze Control: Mind wandering is an attentional state marked by reduced cortical processing of external visual information. I study eye movements associated with mind wandering during scene viewing to better understand how gaze is allocated to visual information  when attention is focused inward.

Education: In a multi-year, multi-site collaboration with computer scientists, psychologists, and high school teachers, I studied mind wandering in attention-aware cyberlearning technologies. Students completed an artificial intelligence tutor module while we recorded their interactions with the system and tracked their eye movements. We then used these measures to detect mind wandering in real-time and dynamically adjust the learning module to reengage attention when it lapsed.

Visual Perception

As a former graduate student in the Visual Cognition Lab at the University of Notre Dame and a former lab manager in the OPTI Lab at Duke University, I have studied visual perception, attention, and action to better understand how the visual system and sensiomotor abilities coordinate to optimize actions and maintain attentional focus on task goals.