People

Lab Director

nichole-lighthall-8x10-8621

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

Graduate Students

KylieKylie Fernandez is a fourth-year PhD student in the Human Factors and Cognitive program. She holds a BS in psychology from Georgia Institute of Technology and also completed two internships in the Air Force Repperger Program as an undergraduate. As a graduate student, her research interests include using biomarker and neuroscience methods to investigate human factors and applied psychology topics such as decision making and stress.

Lindsay Conner is a third-year PhD student in the Human Factors and Cognitive 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.

Xiaoqing Wan is a first-year PhD student in the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology program. Originally from Xiamen, China, she completed her undergraduate studies in the College of William & Mary in Virginia, where she worked with Dr. Todd Thrash who specialized in inspiration and motivation. Her graduate research interests include data science, judgement and decision making, behavioral economics, and user experience. 

Lab Manager

Christina Griep is a graduate student in the Cognitive Sciences certificate program. She earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology from Florida International University and was a member of Psi Chi. Her previous research experience is in developmental psychology with child language development and handedness in the FIU HANDS Lab. She plans to pursue her PhD in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.

Undergraduate Research assistants

Yerika Germosen is a senior at UCF majoring in Psychology. She is the vice-president for the Multicultural Psychological Student Association (MPSA) and a fellow for the Global Perspectives Office at UCF. Her research interests include: cultural neuroscience, cognitive flexbility, and epigenetics. She plans to pursue a career in academia.

Lara Suarez

Lara Suarez is a junior at UCF majoring in Psychology and minoring in Health Sciences. She is a member of the National Society of Leadership & Success and Phi Eta Sigma at UCF. She currently volunteers at the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center and assists in the physical and mental care of women veterans. Her research interests include cognition and cognitive neuroscience. She plans on pursuing a PhD in Cognitive Neuropsychology.

Kipras Varkala is a junior at UCF majoring in Psychology. He is a technology intern at Career Readiness Solutions assisting with human factors and website design. He is also a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Karen Mottarella and a member of the Tau Sigma Honors Society. His interests in research include behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. He is planning on pursuing a PhD in Abnormal Psychology.

Deborah Amburgey is a junior at UCF majoring in Psychology. She is a UNITE ambassador for Transfer and Transition Services and develops ways for students to get involve on UCF campus. Her interests include neuroimaging, decision making, and socio-cultural impacts on cognition. Deborah plans to pursue her PhD after graduating from UCF.

Breana Davey is a junior at UCF majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience. Her interests include Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience and Emotional Health. Breana plans to pursue her PhD after graduating from UCF.

Natalie Verdiguel is a sophomore at UCF majoring in Psychology. Her previous research experience includes data mining and literature analysis at Rutgers University. She is a member the Psychological Society at UCF. Her research interests include data mining, decision making and Socioemotional Selectivity Theory. She plans on pursing a PhD after graduating from UCF.Natalie Verdigue is a sophomore at UCF majoring in psychology. Her previous research experience includes data mining and literature analysis at Rutgers University. She is a member the Psychological Society at UCF. Her research interests include data mining, decision making and Socioemotional Selectivity Theory. She plans on pursing a PhD after graduating from UCF.

Samuel Naranjo is a sophomore at UCF majoring in Psychology. He started gaining research experience in high school with the science fair, where his journey to academia began. His areas of interest include schizophrenia, depression, language, and memory. He wishes to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Neuroscience.

Salim Mouloua is a Junior at UCF majoring in Psychology with a track in Human Factors Psychology.  He is a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and currently assists in the TRG and MIT2 laboratories.  His research interests include multi-modal neuroimaging, neuroergonomics, and mechanisms of memory and attention.  Salim plans to pursue a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience after graduating from UCF.

collaborators

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

Melissa McCartney, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University

Daniel Paulson, Department of Psychology, University of Central Florida

John Pearson, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University

Joseph Schmidt, Department of Psychology, University of Central Florida

 

lab Alumni

Former Honors Thesis Students

Melissa Merz

Former Undergrad Research Assistants

Melissa Merz, James Ross, Richard Bowen, Amber Goerner, Erin Doucet, Alexa Abitabilo, Andressa Faria, Adrian Torres, Jessalyn Landeta