People

Lab Director

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Dr. Nichole Lighthall is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Applied Experimental and Human Factors program. She holds a BA in psychology from the UC Berkeley and a PhD in gerontology from the University of Southern California, where she worked with Dr. Mara Mather. Before coming to UCF, Dr. Lighthall completed her postdoctoral training at Duke University in the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience with Drs. Roberto Cabeza and Scott Huettel. The goal of her research program is to develop a neural model of decision processing that can be used to identify age-related vulnerabilities and pathways to compensation. She is particularly interested in how age-related changes to cognitive and affective components of decision making impact decision processing and quality.

phone: 407-823-2216 email: nichole.lighthall[at]ucf[dot]edu CV

Graduate Students

FernandezKylie Fernandez is a second-year PhD student in the Applied Experimental and Human Factors program. She holds a BS in psychology from Georgia Institute of Technology where she studied interactions between people and technology. She also completed two summer internships in the Air Force Repperger Program where she explored the relationships between physical and cognitive functioning. As a graduate student, Kylie plans to use biomarkers and neuroscience in her research on human factors and applied psychology.

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Lindsay Conner is a first-year PhD student in the Applied Experimental and Human Factors program. Originally from Florida, she studied neuroscience at University of Miami, followed by a master’s program in biomedical imaging at University of California, San Francisco. Her research interests involve identifying and tracking cognitive changes (e.g., memory and decision making) via imaging modalities (e.g., fMRI and DTI) with age. 

Lab Manager

IMG_3813Ian Dalton is a graduate student in the Cognitive Sciences certificate program. He completed a BS in psychology from UCF in 2014, with a minor in cognitive sciences, during which he worked for two years as a research assistant in the Applied Cognition and Technology lab, collaborating on several projects investigating social and cognitive processes from varied theoretical orientations. Ian highly values the contribution of interdisciplinarity to complex systems research, and hopes in the future to approach the cognitive neurosciences — particularly, the brain dynamics of emotions and cognitive control — from philosophically interesting and methodologically rigorous perspectives.

Undergraduate Research assistants

IMG_3738Melissa Merz is a fourth-year undergraduate at UCF. She is double majoring in psychology and biomedical sciences. She is particularly interested in cognitive neuroscience, the unconscious mind, and embryology. She hopes to continue to graduate school and eventually earn her PhD.

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James Ross is a junior undergraduate student at UCF and is pursuing a degree in psychology with a minor in music. He works concurrently as a research assistant in the Performance Research Lab of Dr. James Szalma and as a lab technician in Dr. Mark Atkinson’s Type 1 Diabetes Lab at the University of Florida. James is currently planning his Honors in the Major thesis with Dr. Jeffrey Cassisi and aspires to attend medical school in order to pursue a career in Pediatric Endocrinology, Pediatric Gastroenterology, or Psychiatry.

AlisonBellAlison Bell is a second-year undergraduate at the UCF, pursuing a biology major with a psychology minor in the STEM Excel program. She is particularly interested in cognitive neuroscience and neurology, and wishes to continue to graduate school to study neuropsychology.

Richard

Richard Bowen is a senior psychology major and digital media minor at UCF. His primary research interests include social, developmental, and positive psychology. He is also the founder of Voice Acting Knights, a student organization focused on the study and practice of voice-over acting. He hopes to continue to graduate school, and use his studies to help rising students as they transition to their professional lives.

Adrian

Adrian Torres is a third-year undergraduate student at UCF. He is majoring in biomedical sciences and minoring in mathematics. He is interested in cognitive sciences and neurology, particularly in how the brain functions and causes of mental illness. His aspirations are to attend medical school and go into neurology or orthopedic surgery.

Isabella

Isabella Tripoli is a fourth-year undergraduate student at UCF. She is majoring in biomedical sciences and minoring in health science and computer science. She is interested in neuroscience, neurodegenerative disorders, and endocrinology. In the future, she plans to attend medical school in the hopes of becoming an MD.

Amber

Amber Goerner is a biomedical sciences major, psychology minor. She hopes to go onto graduate school to study neuroscience, and is particularly interested in neurodegenerative diseases. She is also the vice president for the Mad Scientists Research Society on campus.

Erin

Erin Doucet is a fourth-year undergraduate at UCF. She is pursuing a degree in biomedical sciences with a minor in medical sociology. She is particularly interested in neurodegenerative disorders as well as cognitive neuroscience. Upon graduation, Erin plans to go on to medical school in order to pursue a career in neurosurgery.

Karina Mia Garcia is a second-year undergraduate at UCF, majoring in biomedical sciences and minoring in cognitive science and exceptional education. She is currently employed in UCF Inclusive Education Services and UCF CARD/PALS — two groups focused on helping people with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In the future, she would like to join an MD/PhD program and utilize neurology in providing medical care for individuals with intellectual disabilities at ASD. 

If you are interested in becoming an RA, click here for more info!

collaborators

Cerissa Blaney, Department of Psychology, University of Central Florida

Roberto Cabeza, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University

Natalie Ebner, Department of Psychology, University of Florida

Scott Huettel, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University

Camelia Kuhnen, Kenan-Flagler Businss School, University of North Carolina

Mara Mather, Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California

Daniel Paulson, Department of Psychology, University of Central Florida

John Pearson, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University

Luka Ruzic, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University

Kiminobu Sugaya, Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Central Florida