Lab Director


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.


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


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 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.


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


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

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