Joseph Schmidt, Ph.D. (Associate Professor)

I received my Ph.D. in Experimental & Cognitive Psychology in 2012 from Stony Brook University.  After receiving my doctorate, I spent two years as a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Mind and Brain.  After my Postdoctoral position, I spent over a year as a Research Support Specialist at SR Research.

My primary research interest focuses on the interaction of memory and attentional systems and how they affect our broader cognitive functions.  By simultaneously tracking eye movements and recording EEG/ERP we can measure both overt and covert shifts of attention, which can be related to the amount and intensity of memory representations. Much of my research focuses on how changes to a target representation held in memory affect our ability to later direct attention to that object.  Given that memory and attentional processes are involved in most tasks, my research interests are quite broad.

Post Doctoral Fellow

Stephen Adamo

I received my Ph.D. in Psychology and Neuroscience in 2016 from Duke University under the guidance of Dr. Stephen Mitroff. During that time, I also studied abroad at Virje University and The George Washington University. I then spent two years at The George Washington University as a postdoctoral researcher under the guidance of Dr. Stephen Mitroff and Dr. Sarah Shomstein in the psychology department, and Dr. Rachel Brem in the radiology department.

My primary research interests center around the role attention and working memory play within visual search. In particular, I investigate how observers search for multiple targets at once and the ramifications this has for real-world searches such as those conducted by airport security officers and radiologists.

My hobbies include volleyball, going to the gym, camping, cooking, and swing dancing!

Graduate Students


I am a sixth year doctoral student in the Human Factors and Cognition program. I received my B.S. in Psychology at UCF. Currently, I am using behavioral and electrophysiological techniques to examine the relationship between category learning and search performance. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, baking, and spending time with my Chinese Crested Powderpuff, Doeby.


Natalie Paquette

I am a fifth year doctoral student in the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology program. I received my M.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience at George Mason University and my B.S. in Psychology and minor in Cognitive Science at the University of Central Florida. I am researching the neural underpinnings of memory and attention to assess how they affect broader cognitive function. I hope to better define the neurological and cognitive changes that occur across the lifespan, explore their causes, and develop ways to promote healthy brain function. In my free time, I love to spend time outdoors, play with animals, or eat lots of snacks while catching up on movies.

Michael Miuccio

I am a fourth year doctoral student in the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology program. I majored in Psychology at Rutgers University where I first became involved in research working in neuroscience labs. I am interested in studying and discovering ways to improve and sustain attention. In my spare time, I like to play piano, guitar, and bass.



Steven Ford

I am a third year doctoral student in the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology program here at UCF.  I received my B.A. in Psychology from the University of South Florida in Tampa.  My primary research interests focus on the impact of motivation and selection history on visual attention.  I am currently examining the effects of reward on ocular movements in categorical visual search.  Outside of the lab, my interests include playing guitar, meditation, and spending time with my fiancé and our cat and two dogs.

Laboratory Alumni

Cianna piercey (lABRATORY MANAGER)

I graduated from UCF in the fall of 2019 with a B.S. in psychology. During undergrad, I was an Honors in the Major student and an active member of Psi Chi International Honor Society. In the future, I hope to attend a PhD program in clinical or counseling psychology. Some of my research interests include the effects of substance use and addiction on the brain and cognitive functioning. In my free time, I enjoy camping, going to music festivals, painting, and spending time with family.

Undergraduate Research Assistants


I am a Junior at UCF majoring in psychology and concentrating in neuroscience. I hope to pursue clinical neuropsychology in graduate school and continue research within the field of neuroscience. My research interests include the physiological effects of stress and mood disorders on the brain, while focusing on finding alternative treatments and medicine.

Samantha Lopez

I have a Bachelors degree in Clinical Psychology and a certificate in Behavioral Forensics. I’m from New York and I became an RA in January of 2018. When I am not in school or in the lab, you will find me at work as an Operations Administrator for FedEx. I plan on pursuing my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Social Work, and hope to help change the lives of young adults in the future. In my spare time, I enjoy listening to music, reading fictional novels, and watching movies.


james langer

I am a senior at the University of Central Florida majoring in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Sciences.  My research interests are varied but include mindfulness-based CBT and media effects on substance use. Ultimately, I hope to utilize a Clinical Psychology PhD to have a multifaceted career in research, teaching, and counselling.  At UCF, I am currently an active member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society and I’m finishing research on an Honors in the Major thesis through the Burnett Honors College.  In my free time I like to ride my bike, hike or camp in beautiful places, and attend music festivals.


I am a psychology major, currently in my senior year. I am planning to earn a Ph.D. in cognitive/ behavioral psychology or clinical psychology. My focus is going to be therapy/counseling, specifically with adults. My research interests touch on how metacognition affects overt and covert behavior and how sleep and stress influence cognition. In my free time I like to listen to music, watch Korean reality shows, and spend time with my identical twin.



Mariana ortiz

I am a Psychology Major on the Neuroscience track with a Minor in Italian. I joined this lab to further my experience in research and to learn more about eye tracking and EEG. I aspire to go on to med school one day and eventually specialize in pediatric neurology and live my life helping others. Aside from school I love traveling and learning new languages and cultures. You can always find me either running, biking, playing the cello, or reading.

Michael harris

I am a Junior, majoring in psychology with a concentration in neuroscience. My areas of interest include studying emotion and corresponding neural activity, understanding how neurotransmitters influence our perception of the world, and the evolution of our neurochemistry. Aside from my studies, I enjoy reading, brainstorming future book ideas, meditation, slack-lining, finding new music, and attending music festivals.


shayna ellery

I am a psychology major in my senior year. I plan to attend graduate school to study behavioral analysis, with a focus on developmental disabilities. I joined the lab to expand my knowledge and make a contribution to research involving cognitive functioning. I have worked as a Behavioral Therapist for two years, providing ABA therapy to children with autism and other special needs. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, going to concerts, and spending time with friends/family.


emily bauer

I am a senior pursing a Psychology degree with a Neuroscience track. I wanted to join this lab to better my understanding of the research process in neuroscience. I hope to continue my studies and work towards a PhD, ultimately becoming a professional researcher and neuropsychologist. In my free time I like to spend time detoxing through hot yoga, hanging out with my cat, and reading.



Cherish Butterfield

I am a junior majoring in psychology with a neuroscience track. I aspire to become a neuropsychologist and a mentor for at-risk youth.



I am a junior at UCF with a major in Interdisciplinary Studies and minor in Cognitive Sciences. I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology. I love to sing, write, and do ballet. Consequently, the research I am most interested in looks at the ways that the arts can be used to improve cognitive processes, particularly in memory and learning. Aside from participating in the Arts, in my free time, you can catch me serving in church, or being silly with my friends.



Brianna KIRBY

I am a double major in psychology and biomedical sciences with a minor in leadership studies. I hope to go to graduate school to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology to become a pediatric neuropsychologist.  Outside of the lab, I am super involved with a campus ministry called the Navigators and the LEAD Scholar’s Academy. I’m continuously thankful for this university and all of the opportunities it provides me!



I am a senior majoring in psychology with a concentration in neuroscience. In graduate school I hope to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology and then specialize as a neuropsychologist. Some of my research interests include neural plasticity following sensory deprivation, language, and memory. Outside of classes and the lab, I volunteer with the UCF Aphasia Choir. In my free time I like to draw, paint, drink coffee, and play soccer.




I am a freshman majoring in Biomedical Sciences with minors in Psychology and Mathematics. I am a Burnett Medical Scholar. I joined this lab to further my research experience and learn more about the role of attention and memory within visual search. Outside of the lab, I am involved in the research team for UCF International Medical Outreach. In my spare time, I enjoy Indian dance, painting, and spending time with my family and friends!

Veria Puerta-Alvarado

I am a Biomedical Science major in the Neuroscience Track, with a minor in psychology. I’m a sophomore and I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Behavioral or Cognitive Neuroscience. I joined the Attention and Memory Lab to learn more about EEG research. I was previously a Research Assistant at the Cognitive Sciences Lab. In my free time I enjoy reading, drawing, and singing karaoke with my friends