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Cynthia May, Ph.D.


Address: 55 Coming St., Office #103
Phone: 843.953.6735
Personal Website:
Curriculum Vitae: Download


Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Ph.D., 1995

Research Interests

One line of my research explores human memory and seeks ways to optimize memory functioning for younger and older adults. Have you ever forgotten to do something important, like take medication or send a birthday card? These tasks involve prospective memory, a form of memory that supports recall of intentions to be performed at a later time. My students and I have conducted several studies that demonstrate that emotional prompts can improve prospective memory, and our current work examines the parameters of this emotional boost.

My second line of research examines inclusive social and educational settings in which people with and without disabilities live and learn together. For too long people with intellectual disabilities have been segregated in separate classrooms and sheltered work centers. How do we create change within our educational, recreational and employment systems? I work with students and colleagues across the country to enhance inclusive opportunities on college campuses and beyond. My research explores the consequences of inclusive interactions on attitudes and behavior, with the aim of improving options and outcomes for people with disabilities.

Nearly all of my work is done in collaboration with undergraduate students, who work with me on grant funding, conference presentations, and publications. I also enjoy writing about new research findings for Scientific American: Mind Matters blog.  You can check out some of my articles at:

Teaching Interests

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Sins of Memory
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Cognitive Laboratory
  • Introduction to Psychological Science

Recent Publications

May, C. P., & Hasher, L. (2017). Synchrony affects performance for older but not younger neutral-type adults. Timing and Time Perception, 5, 129 -148.

May, C. P., Manning, M., Einstein, G. O., Becker, L., & Owens, M. (2015). The best of both worlds: Emotional cues boost prospective memory accuracy and reduce repetition errors. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 22(3), 357-375. DOI:10.1080/13825585.2014.952263

Jones, M., Boyle, M., May, C. P., Paiewonsky, M., Prohn, S., Updike, J., & Wheeler, C. (2015). Building inclusive campus communities: A framework for inclusion. Think College Insight Brief, 26, 1-5.