Cognitive Track


The principal aim of graduate training in the cognitive psychology track is to develop a strong theoretical understanding and research competence in the study of human cognition. The ultimate goal is to prepare students for productive academic careers. Graduate students in the cognitive psychology track work in a close mentoring relationship with a cognitive psychology faculty member. Current research by faculty members in the cognitive psychology track includes work in decision making, language, and memory.

Numerous students have earned doctoral degrees from our program.  These students have chosen academic careers in colleges and universities throughout the United States (e.g., Kansas State University, University of Central Arkansas), have arranged post-doctoral training (e.g., University of Maryland), or have worked for the government or private industry as research consultants.


Shelia M. Kennison, Ph.D.
Shelia M. Kennison, Ph.D.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Cognitive science with a broad focus including topics in cognition related the communication and social processes, especially those involving bilingualism and trilingualism.  New research focuses on biological basis of behavior, especially involved in risk-taking in children and adults.
Celinda Reese-Melancon, Ph.D.
Celinda Reese-Melancon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Associate Department Head
Memory and memory aging, especially factors that influence prospective memory performance, metamemory, and collaborative cognition.
Sayuri Hayakawa, Ph.D.
Sayuri Hayakawa, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
University of Chicago
Relationship between language, cognition, and behavior, with a particular focus on how bilingual co-activation and experience shapes judgment and choice. Recent publications appear in Cognition, Brain & Language, International Journal of Bilingualism, and Applied Linguistics.


Required Courses:

PSYC 5813 – Lifespan Cognitive Development

PSYC 5913 – Lifespan Social Development

PSYC 6913 – Multilevel Modeling in Psychology

Recommended Track Courses:

PSYC 4223 – Decision Making and Problem Solving

PSYC 5823 – Cognitive Processes

PSYC 6393 – Language Development

  • The cognitivecomparative-neurobiologydevelopmental and social-personality tracks are all housed under the general Experimental Psychology program. Our program adopts the perspective that psychology is a very broad and dynamic discipline. The central focus of psychology is on the understanding, prediction, and enhancement of individual behavior, from a variety of perspectives. These perspectives can range from cognitive neuroscience; to the biological and physiological bases of behavior; to behavior in social environments; to the assessment of individual differences in personality; to the developmental changes that impact behavior; to the quantitative modeling of individual performance. To accommodate this broad spectrum, our program examines the biological, cognitive, developmental, social, and personality factors that affect behavior.

  • When applying to the Experimental Psychology program, each potential graduate student applies directly to one of these four tracks, depending on their interests and career goals. In general, students will be “housed” in a particular track and within a particular laboratory, but it is also possible to collaborate with faculty and students in other tracks or laboratories, especially during the later years of graduate training.

  • To learn more about the Experimental Psychology Program and its associated tracks, please click here.

  • For more information about the Experimental Psychology Program and its tracks, contact the program director Dr. Jennifer Byrd-Craven at