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Cognitive Psychology Overview

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Over the past several years, the Cognitive area has seen explosive growth, with new faculty members, new graduate and undergraduate courses, expanded laboratory space, and burgeoning research opportunities.​


The primary goal of the cognitive psychology graduate program is training a new generation of theoretically-focused scientists to understand the mind and brain. We provide exciting opportunities for training in research with a number of different populations (including brain-damaged adults, infants, and children) and a range of state-of-the-art techniques. The Center for Biomedical and Brain Imaging, which houses a 3T Siemens Prisma scanner, and we provide extensive training in neuroimaging, including fMRI, DTI, MVPA, and other analysis techniques. We also provide training in ERP, brain stimulation (TMS), eye tracking, computational modeling, and behavioral experiments. UD's Early Learning Center provides on-campus opportunities for research on cognitive development.  We encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary research, so our students can obtain the kind of broad training that is required in today’s research environment.

Furthermore, we believe that along with methodological expertise, it is critical that students develop a strong theoretical foundation in understanding cognitive processes.  Students develop these skills via formal coursework in statistics, methods, and special topics in cognition.  Students will also learn through conducting their own research and interacting with faculty who address the following questions:

  • What are the attentional mechanisms underlying our ability to perceive and act in a goal directed manner?  (Jim Hoffman)

  • How does the brain/mind represent the scenes that surround us?  What do memory errors reveal about the mind? (Helene Intraub)

  • How does the brain represent the body?  How can evidence from brain-damaged individuals inform cognitive theories? (Jared Medina)

  • What is going on inside the head of an infant? (Paul Quinn)

  • What is the fundamental architecture of the brain that gives rise to our conscious perceptions? (​​Keith Schneider)

  • How does the brain learn the structure of the visual world and the values associated with our perceptual experiences and actions? (Tim Vickery)

Our students will also receive training in teaching. This is provided in the form of teaching assistantships, courses on best practices in teaching, and opportunities to teach at an NSF-funded summer “BRAIN camp” for undergraduates.

For more information about our program (including admission), please see the cognitive graduate program FAQ​.


Collectively, our cognitive faculty members have authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications; given hundreds of invited colloquia, conference presentations and public lectures; and published dozens of articles in top journals. Faculty members have been awarded APA and APS Fellowships and have been appointed as editors or editorial board members of journals such as Psychological Science, Child Development, Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, Perception & Psychophysics, and Developmental Science. Faculty research has been featured in The New York Times, The Economist, The Guardian, Parents Magazine, CNN, and Discovery Channel.


Our program is currently supported by an NSF EPSCoR grant, focused on studying the relationship between cognition and perception.  This grant is designed to support graduate education and training.  Furthermore, our faculty have received substantial funding from the National Science Foundation, The National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Child Health and Development, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.​


Our labs tackle core aspects of information-processing, such as scene representation, body representation, language, attention, emotion, learning, and categorization. Many of our faculty have expertise in spatial cognition: how we think about, navigate and perceive the world around us. Given that our faculty have complementary strengths, we strongly encourage bridge-building between labs.

Cognitive students collaborate freely with researchers not only from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, but also from Linguistics, Education, and Philosophy. Developmental research is enhanced by strong ties to the Early Learning Center and the Cognitive Science Program in Linguistics. Neuropsychological and brain stimulation research is enhanced by collaborations with the Delaware Rehabilitation Institute and faculty in the College of Health Sciences.

Our faculty also have active collaborations with labs at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nevada-Reno, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Faculty accepting graduate students for 2020-2021:

For questions about the program not covered on the website, please contact the Director:

Helene Intraub

(302) 831-8012​

229 Wolf Hall

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