Faculty members in Psychological and Brain Sciences maintain strong, active research programs that produce world-class science across a wide scope of subfields. Undergraduate and graduate student researchers are centrally involved in all phases of this research.



Comparative Cognition Laboratory
Michael Brown, PhD

The Comparative Cognition Laboratory is concerned with the study of basic cognitive processes using animal subjects and behavioral experiments. Current and recent projects include spatial memory and spatial pattern learning in rats, social memories in rats, and spatial working memory in honeybees.

Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory
Diego Fernandez-Duque, PhD

We do research in Cognition broadly defined. Current and recent topics include lay theories (such as people’s beliefs about the relation between mind and brain), false consensus (such as the belief that others will agree with your ethics), and academic stereotypes (such as believing that neuroscientists are more competent but less warm than psychologists), We also do work on judgment and decision making, most recently in the area of charitable donations. 

Adult Visual Cognition Laboratory
Charles L. Folk, PhD

The Adult Visual Cognition Lab is primarily interested in understanding modeling visual selective attention in humans. We conduct behavioral studies in which patterns of response times and error rates are used to infer the mechanisms responsible for determining how attention gets allocated to stimuli in the environment.

Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory Laboratory
Irene Kan, PhD

Research in our lab focuses on human memory functions.  By combining behavioral, neuropsychological (i.e., studying patients with brain damage), and electrophysiological methods (i.e., EEG & ERP), we hope to gain a better understanding of how different memory systems complement each other.

Temporal Perception Laboratory
Matthew Matell, PhD

The primary focus of the lab is to elucidate the psychological and neuronal bases of time perception. The flow of time underlies all processes in nature, and the perception of time in the seconds to minutes range, referred to as interval timing, provides animals with a framework to efficiently meet the demands and constraints of a dynamic environment. Interval timing has been proposed to serve as a substrate for optimal foraging1 and associative learning2 and may provide a context for conscious awareness. Furthermore, alterations in the perception of time might contribute to the use and abuse of addictive drugs. Although the basic psychophysical properties have been well characterized, the neural structures and neural computational processes underlying interval timing remain unclear.

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience of Behavior Laboratory
Benjamin Sachs, PhD

Research in the lab utilizes a combination of cellular, molecular and behavioral approaches in genetically modified mice to investigate the neurobiological underpinnings of animal behavior. We are particularly interested in understanding how genetic (i.e., serotonin deficiency) and environmental factors (e.g., stress) can lead to behavioral alterations relevant to neuropsychiatric disorders.

Memory & Cognition Laboratory
Thomas Toppino, PhD

The Memory & Cognition Lab studies many aspects of cognition in human adults and children. Recent projects have emphasized basic learning and memory processes and the processes that contribute to conscious perceptual experience in vision.

Word Recognition and Auditory Perception Laboratory
Joe Toscano, PhD

Our group studies speech recognition and language comprehension. We use a combination of behavioral, cognitive neuroscience, and computational techniques to study these processes as they unfold over time, both in the moment and over longer time-scales. Our research also addresses questions about how we can improve assessment of hearing loss and how we can use computer games to study speech communication.

Scientific Thinking and Representation (STAR) Lab
Deena Weisberg, PhD

The Scientific Thinking and Representation (STAR) Lab studies (1) how children acquire scientific knowledge, particularly the potential role of fictional stories in this learning, (2) why adults are resistant to scientific information on certain topics, and (3) how children’s scientific thinking abilities develop.

Cognitive Development Laboratory
Rebecca Brand, PhD

At the Cognitive Development Project, we are investigating how children learn language and make sense of the people and things in the world around them. In our playroom on the campus of Villanova University, we create situations that are safe and fun for children, and then we watch carefully to see how they react.

Adversity and Resilience in Development Laboratory
Janette Herbers, PhD

In the ARD Lab, we consider child development in contexts of risk and adversity, such as poverty, homelessness, and psychosocial trauma. In particular, we seek to understand how protective factors like positive parent-child relationships and self-regulation skills enable children to grow and function well in relationships, behavior, and academics despite considerable challenges.

Scientific Thinking and Representation (STAR) Lab
Deena Weisberg, PhD

The Scientific Thinking and Representation (STAR) Lab studies (1) how children acquire scientific knowledge, particularly the potential role of fictional stories in this learning, (2) why adults are resistant to scientific information on certain topics, and (3) how children’s scientific thinking abilities develop.

Self and Health Behavior Laboratory
Deborah Kendzierski, PhD

Research in the Self and Health Behavior lab focuses on two theoretical issues. First, we seek to understand the process by which individuals come to define themselves in terms of specific physical or nutritional activities. Second, we examine how these identities moderate the relationship between health-related intentions and behavior. In addition, some of our research is designed to provide the empirical foundation for the development of effective theory-based interventions to promote exercise and healthy/nutritious eating. We utilize both experimental and correlational methods, and we conduct studies in lab, field, and online settings.

Moral Evaluation and Values Laboratory
Steven Krauss, PhD (undergraduate only)

My research explores the relationships between moral evaluation, values, religiosity, personality and culture. Participants in these studies have come from many countries, including Japan, Lebanon, Poland, Turkey and the United States.

Psychological Assessment Laboratory
John Kurtz, PhD

My research team explores questions about human individual differences using a wide array of psychological assessment methods. Recent studies have investigated the identification of concealed psychopathology, the incremental validity of informant personality assessment, and the stability of traits in the transition to adulthood.

Interpersonal Research Laboratory
Patrick Markey, PhD

The Interpersonal Research Lab’s (IRL) research focuses on how behavioral tendencies develop and are expressed within social relationships.

Social Self Laboratory
Erica Slotter, PhD

In the Social Self Lab we investigate individuals’ perceptions of themselves and how these perceptions influence patterns of cognition, affect, and behavior. We place particular emphasis on how individuals’ self-views are influenced by the social situation in general and by important relationships in their lives.




Tolentine Hall 334
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Ave
Villanova, PA 19085

Chair: Dr. Michael Brown
Staff: Trish RobinsonLouise Carbone