Cognitive Sciences

Photograph of Anthony Bishara, Ph.D.

Dr. Anthony Bishara

I have two research foci: Cognitive Psychology and Quantitative Psychology.

My research in Cognitive Psychology involves studying memories of students through laboratory experiments. I am particularly interested in how multiple choice tests can help or hurt students’ memory retention. Answering this question can help teachers and professors design better tests that enhance the learning experience.  I am also interested in how researchers (scientists, professors in various fields) make decisions about graphs and statistics.

My research in Quantitative Psychology relies on computer programming and simulation. I am interested in how typical statistics are distorted by non-normal data (not shaped like a bell-curve), and how alternative statistics can prevent this distortion. This is important because most psychological data are non-normal.

Students working with me on memory projects gain experience with conducting memory tests on computers and with research ethics. Students working on statistical projects gain experience with computer programming, simulation, and data exploration.

For more details, see my website: https://blogs.cofc.edu/bisharaa/

Recent Publications:

 Bishara, A. J., Li, J., & Conley, C. (2021). Informal versus formal judgment of statistical models: The case of normality assumptions. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 28, 1164–1182. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-021-01879-z

Bishara, A. J., Peller, J., & Galuska, C. M. (2021). Misjudgment of interrupted time-series graphs due to serial dependence: Replication of Matyas and Greenwood (1990). Judgment and Decision Making, 16, 687-708.http://journal.sjdm.org/20/200728d/jdm200728d.pdf

Bishara, A.J., & Hittner, J.B. (2015). Reducing bias and error in the correlation coefficient due to nonnormality. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 75(5), 785-804.

Bishara, A.J., & Lanzo, L.A. (2015). All of the above: When multiple correct response options enhance the testing effect. Memory, 23(7), 1013-1028.


Photograph of Daniel Greenberg, Ph.D.

Dr. Daniel Greenberg

For the most part, I study human memory, particularly autobiographical memory (memories for the events of everyday life). On a broad level, my students and I are trying to figure out how this form of memory works. Why do we remember some things and not others? How do memories from early childhood differ from later memories?  How do children develop the ability to remember and retell autobiographical memories? We study these questions in young children, CofC undergraduates, and older adults; we also test broader populations using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

Recent Publications:

Greenberg, D. L., Bishara, A. J., & *Mugayar-Baldocchi, M. A. (2017). Anchoring effects on earliest autobiographical memories. Memory25, 1303-1308. 

Greenberg, D. L., & *Mugayar-Baldocchi, M. A.  (2014). Contribution to Alonga et al (2014). Registered replication report: Schooler & Engstler-Schooler (1990). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9, 556-578. doi: 10.1177/1745691614545653.

Greenberg, D. L., & Knowlton, B. J.  (2014). The role of visual imagery in autobiographical memory.  Memory & Cognition, 42, 922-934.doi: 10.3758/s13421-014-0402-5.

*denotes student author


Photograph of Cynthia May, Ph.D.

Dr. Cynthia May

Wrapped presents are the best. Not only do they offer a gift, but they elicit the sweet sense of curiosity as you wait to open them. My research examines human curiosity, and explores the contexts in which curiosity can be helpful (for example, by driving discovery) and harmful (for example by exposing us to unpleasant experiences). What makes us curious, and does that change with age?

I’m also curious about a number of other things related to human cognition, including finding ways to optimize intellectual functioning for people who face cognitive challenges, like older adults and individuals with intellectual disabilities. Some of my research examines how we remember to execute important tasks in the future (e.g., paying a bill, calling a friend on their birthday, taking medication). Other work examines the ways in which emotion might influence our memories – in some cases improving memory and in other cases impeding memory.

It's important to me that basic research inform and improve our lives, and for that reason some of my work examines how we can improve outcomes for people with disabilities. What is it like to have a loved one diagnosed with a disability? How does the diagnosis experience affect outcomes for you and your loved one? Why are so many people with autism unemployed or underemployed? Do biases during the job interview process play a role? How does living and learning with people who have disabilities affect the way we see the world and other people in it?  These are some of the questions that have motivated my research over the past few years. My research has examined the factors that created and perpetuated segregated settings for people with disabilities, with the aim of improving options for all people.

Nearly all of my work involves collaboration with undergraduate students, who team with me on grant proposals, conference presentations, and publications. I also write a teaching column for APS, and enjoy writing about new research findings for Scientific American. You can check out some of my articles at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/author/cindi-may/.

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.

Plotner, A., & May, C. P. (2017). A comparison of the college experience for students with and without disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1744629517719346

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.

Cindi May Lab Photo 1

Cindi May Lab Photo 2