Jeff Zacks, Ph.D.

Associate Chair, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences; Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences Professor of Radiology

Jeff ZacksDegrees:

Ph.D., Stanford University
M.A., Stanford University
B.A., Yale University

Phone: 314-935-8454
Office: Psychology Building 419B
Mailbox: CB 1125

Professor Zacks’ laboratory studies how the representations in the brain and the world work together in cognition. He studies perception and cognition using behavioral experiments, functional MRI, computational modeling, and testing of neurological patients. One line of research examines how people parse the continuous stream of behavior into meaningful events, and how this affects memory and cognition. Another line examines how mental imagery contributes to reasoning about spatial relations, especially how mental representations of one’s body are updated during imagery and reasoning.

For more, see his web site.

Hannah Aaron

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hannah is a member of the class of 2019, majoring in Biomedical Engineering. She is interested in how memory can be enhanced via reinforcement and how certain stimuli can affect a person’s quality of memory. She plans to apply to medical school post graduation.

Jodi Backalar

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jodi BackalarJodi is a member of the class of 2019, with majors in PNP and Biology. They are interested in studying ways that memory can be improved for everyday events. Post-graduation plans include medical school applications, rescuing a dog, and taking that dog on a lot of walks.

Matt Bezdek, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D. Cognitive Psychology
– Stony Brook University 2012

M.A. Cognitive Psychology
– Stony Brook University 2010

B.A. Psychology
– Kalamazoo College 2007

Matt is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. He is using computational modeling, behavioral and neuroimaging experiments to study the mechanisms of how humans segment dynamic naturalistic events.

Garrett Cunningham

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Garrett CunninghamGarrett is a member of the class of 2019 majoring in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology. They are interested in music cognition and consumer decision making, among other things, and plan to apply to graduate programs in Marketing/Psychology post-graduation.

Mary Hermann, B.A.

Graduate Student

Mary Hermann

B.A. Psychology, University of Notre Dame 2017

Mary is a first year graduate student studying the effects of event boundaries and event segmentation on memory.

Ryan Kahle, B.S.

Lab Manager

B.S. Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2016

Ryan is the lab manager, and is working towards figuring out what they’d like to study in graduate school. They are interested in how people use information, either processed in real time or retrieved from memory, to make decisions and guide behavior.

Shuhao Li

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Shuhao is a member of the class of 2021 with majors in PNP & CompSci. They are interested in studying how different brain functions unify and construct modelings of mind/brain functions using mathematical and computational tools. After graduation, they plan to apply to graduate programs in some subarea of cognitive science.

Varun Mohan

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Varun MohanVarun is a member of the class of 2019, with majors in PNP and Accounting. They are interested in computational psychology and how we may mimic neural activity and psychological responses using computer models. After WashU, Varun plans to take a year off to do research, volunteering, or both, before applying to medical school. They hope to specialize in psychiatry.

Katie Muson

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Katie MusonKatie is a member of the class of 2019 and is majoring in Psychology, with minors in Linguistics and Anthropology. They are interested in cognition, the neurological processes behind why people do the things they do, and understanding what augments and inhibits memory creation and recall. Katie plans to enter a workplace where their interest in human behavior can be utilized to make other’s lives better (ideally in a non-profit setting), and is still undecided about returning to school for an advanced degree later on.

Lauren Richmond, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Lauren RichmondPh.D. Psychology, Specialization: Neuroscience
– Temple University, 2013

M.A. Psychology
– Marist College, 2007

B.A. Psychology
– Marist College, 2007

Lauren is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. She spent time conducting studies examining the role of event perception on spatial navigation in younger and older adults, and is currently exploring approaches to improve event memory in those same populations.

Madeleine Schroedel

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Madeleine is a member of the class of 2019, with a major in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology & minors in Writing and Spanish. She is interested in the brain as it ages and the accompanying physiological and psychological changes, as well as specific dysfunction in neural circuits that induces disease and disorders. She is still determining whether to take a research or medical path post-graduation. She might combine the two and pursue an MD-PhD!

David Stawarczyk, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

David StawarczykDegrees:
Ph.D. in Psychological Science, University of Liege (Belgium) 2013

David is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab since 2017. They are working on studies examining memory for everyday activities.

Michael Wang

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Michael is a member of the class of 2021, with majors in Cognitive Neuroscience and CS. They are interested in understanding the computational mechanisms the brain implements to form a reliable representation of the world. After graduation, they plan to take a few years off after graduation to do research before applying to a graduate program in cognitive neuroscience.

Jon Wingens

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jon WingensJon is a member of the class of 2019, with majors in PNP and Political Science. They are interested in how our categorization of cognitive mechanisms affect the way we understand their functions especially as it relates to episodic memory and future planning. Jon plans on taking a couple years off after graduation to get a better sense of what they want to study going forward.