Principle Investigator

Joseph Kim

Joseph Kim

After receiving his PhD in Experimental Psychology (McMaster University), Dr. Joe Kim completed a post-doctoral fellowship at University of California San Francisco, and is Associate Professor in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour. As a Teaching Professor, Dr. Kim is actively involved in all aspects of the scholarship of teaching and learning. He co-ordinates the innovative McMaster Introductory Psychology program which combines traditional lectures with interactive on-line resources and small group tutorials. The program has been prominently featured in Maclean's, Globe and Mail and Toronto Star. In 2010, Dr. Kim received the Innovator of the Year Award (McMaster VPR) and also lead his development team to receive the 2010 President's Award for Excellence in Course and Resource Design. With an active interest in curriculum and education, Dr. Kim consults on several policy groups including the Council of Ontario Universities Online Workgroup and the Innovation and Productivity Roundtable for the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ellen MacLellan

Ellen MacLellan

NA

Graduate Students

Amy Pachai

Amy Pachai

Amy Pachai is a Ph.D. candidate in the lab. Her interest in educational psychology stems from experience as a teaching assistant for the introductory psychology course at McMaster University. Amy's research focuses on mind wandering in the context of lectures. By considering the cognitive mechanisms of mind wandering, she hopes to better understand what factors within a lecture affect the frequency of mind wandering and, thus, a student's ability to learn information.

Andrew LoGiudice

My primary research interest is the retrieval practice effect and its cognitive underpinnings. More specifically, I am examining whether the retrieval practice effect is moderated by learning task complexity, and aim to extend current theoretical accounts used to explain the effect. I am eager to help bridge the gap between cognition and education, because only by studying memory scientifically can we ever truly become good teachers.

Sebastian Sciarra

Sebastian Sciarra

Does mood affect learning? This question has occupied many of my thoughts (and stolen too much sleep!). As I began to peruse the literature, the ubiquitous and vague scientific explanation left me unsatisfied: under certain conditions, mood may affect learning. However, as I continued my readings, I found rewarding answers. For instance, practicing retrieval in a positive mood enhances later retrieval to a greater extent than when initial retrieval occurred in a negative mood (Pekrun & Kuhbandner, 2013). This led me to investigate how mood affected cognitive processes. Fortunately, mood reliably altered cognitive processing. Positive moods enhanced the ability to see connections between units of information (Lee & Sternthal, 1999; Isen & Daubman 1984), while negative moods enhanced learning of features specific to a piece of information (Storbeck, 2013). I then inferred that practicing retrieval in a positive mood would facilitate the construction of an interconnected network of information to a greater extent than a negative mood. One effect where network construction has relevance is the pretesting effect, whereby practicing retrieval prior to studying facilitates learning during a subsequent study to a greater extent than restudying (Richland, Kornell, & Kao, 2009). After drawing this connection (no pun intended), I realized had a testable research question: does positive mood enhance the pretesting effect? This question will occupy my time as a graduate student (and hopefully won’t lose me any sleep!).

Yasaman Jabbari

Yasaman Jabbari is a graduate student in the EdCog Lab. She is mainly interested in exploring the underlying mechanisms of learning and memory. She aims to better understand the complexity of the learning process and the ways that enhance the quality and the ability of learning. Specifically, she is interested to investigate more about the impacts of environmental stimuli on the processes of learning and memory. She hopes that her research would facilitate learning conditions and help increasing the efficiency and the quality of the students' learning. Yasaman has previously studied the effect of bilingualism on cognitive process of young adults. Her undergraduate thesis was on quantitative methods with a focus on regression models.

Independent Projects

Jack Legere

Jack Legere

My name is Jack Legere, and I am a 4th year student in the Honours Biology & Psychology Program. I am passionate about pedagogy, and have a particular interest in the mechanisms and strategies that underlie effective presentation design. My interest in applied educational research stemmed from my rewarding experience as a MacIntroPsych TA. This year, I will be working with Amy Pachai, analyzing the causes and effects of mind wandering in the classroom.

Ben Sclodnick

I am in my 3rd year of the Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour program at McMaster University. In the last year I participated in the PNB Human Memory Lab course, as well as a research project with Dr. Ayesha Khan, both which sparked my interest in human memory and cognition in relation to education. In August 2016 I attended the McMaster Education and Cognition Symposium which discussed much of what I had been learning in a way that was applicable to pedagogy. My goal is to focus on research that will result in concrete methods of increasing the efficacy of classroom curriculums. I will be completing a 4QQ3 credit under Amy Pachai, accompanying Liam Newlands on a project investigating mind-wandering and possible factors that contribute to mind-wandering behaviours in a classroom setting. This will be my first time working in the ACE lab, an opportunity I am very excited for!

Abhilasha Vermani

My name is Abhilasha Vermani and I am a third year student in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviours. I will be working on my PNB 3QQ3 research pracitcuum in the ACE lab with Faria Sana. I have recently been exposed to Pedagogy after taking PNB 2XD3 and loved learning about learning and teaching methods. I have always enjoyed teaching others and want learn more about the different transfer of learning methods that can improve the way students learn in the classroom.

Kunj Joshi

My name is Kunj Joshi and I am a 3rd year student in the Honours Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour Program. I am intrigued by the field of pedagogy and am keen to explore approaches that optimize educational learning. I will be working under the supervision of Andrew LoGiudice to investigate conditions in which collaborative testing enhances long-term retention and academic performance. Alongside research, I love to read, cook, dance, and play badminton.

Mishaal Qazi

My name is Mishaal Qazi and I am a third year student in the Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour program at McMaster. My interest in pedagogical research developed when I took PNB 2XF3: Perspectives in PNB course in the Fall of 2015. Specifically, my group studied the Implicit Theories of Intelligence, and how mindset affects our academic success. This year, I will be doing my 3QQ3 research practicum under the supervision of Faria Sana in the EdCog Lab as we investigate the affects of intervening information in a classroom setting.

Sehar Arfeen

Sehar Arfeen

My name is Sehar Arfeen, and I am in my third year of the Biology and Psychology program here at McMaster. I was introduced to my love for pedagogy through PNB 2XF3 (Perspectives in PNB), which then lead me to contact graduate student Andrew LoGiudice to learn more. He told me about the various research projects that were currently underway in the EdCog Lab. What I loved most about each of the projects was how every one was directed towards assisting students in implementing effective learning strategies and worthwhile study habits. Andrew is now my current 3Q03 supervisor in the EdCog Lab. I am very excited to work with him throughout the year, as we conduct studies related to both the testing effect and transfer appropriate processing.

Lydia Hicks

Lydia Hicks

My name is Lydia Hicks and I am a third year in McMaster’s Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour program. Like many of the other undergraduate students in the EdCog Lab, I took an interest in pedagogy after during the Perspectives in PNB course taught by Dr. Khan. Following that course, I completed a research project with Dr. Khan that focused on social loafing in an undergraduate group setting. I presented this research at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Conference, where I discovered many other fascinating applications of pedagogical research, fueling my passion for this research area. This winter, I will be completing a 3Q03 research project under the supervision of graduate student Sebastian Sciarra.

Thesis Students

Liam Newlands

Liam Newlands

My name is Liam Newlands and I am in my fourth year of the Biology and Psychology program at McMaster. I volunteered in the ACE lab towards the end of my first year, and then joined officially as a 2QQ3 (research practicum) student in my second year. I have worked under Amy Pachai for my second and third year projects, exploring the effects of different presentation styles on mind wandering frequency during lectures. This year, I am continuing my research as a thesis student, exploring how different cognitive and lifestyle factors predict mind wandering in class and academic performance. In my spare time, I like to play sports and watch Netflix.

Wid Yaseen

Wid Yaseen

My name is Wid Yaseen and I'm a fourth year student in the Honours Biology and Psychology program. My passion for science and education has unearthed my growing interest in the field of pedagogy. I'm interested in learning more about how we learn best and how we can apply scientific research to enhance this process. For my thesis project, I will be working with Amy Pachai to investigate the impact of motivation on mind-wandering, and its effect on memory in the classroom.

Yusam Wong

My name is Yusam Wong and I am in my fourth year of the Biology and Psychology program at McMaster University. It is my first year here at the EdCog Lab and I am pleased to say that I am working here as a thesis student. I am excited to work with Andrew LoGiudice and Faria Sana to see how we can enhance the learning of concepts that differ in difficulty and its initial processing. I know that my work with my supervisors will give me more insight on methods of facilitating learning. In my spare time, I like to catch up with my friends and take long walks.

Previous Students

Barbara Fenesi

Barbara Fenesi

Barbara Fenesi is a recent Ph.D. graduate from the lab. Her doctoral research focused on using cognitive models of working memory to determine effective multimedia instructional design. Barbara used measures of working memory capacity, comprehension performance, and eye-tracking techniques to highlight how different text and images influence attention and comprehension of presented material. Her research also involved examining individual differences in working memory capacity and its impact on multimedia learning in both younger and older populations. She used metacognitive comparisons to investigate the underlying reasons why redundant on-screen text in multimedia hinders learning, yet is often the dominant instructional approach.

Faria Sana

Faria Sana is a recent PhD graduate from the lab. Her general research interests are in learning and memory within educational contexts. Her research is motivated by two questions: (1) how do individuals learn complex concepts; and (2) how can individuals learn information in a way that they can later apply (or transfer) to solve novel problems. Building on cognitive theories of learning, she examined different types of instructions and study conditions that foster subsequent transfer of learning and test performance. Specifically, she explored issues of transfer-appropriate and exemplar-based processing between encoding and retrieval of complex statistics concepts. She has studied how individuals process non-parametric statistics concepts and use these concepts to appropriately recognize and solve novel statistics problems. The goal of Faria's research was directed towards understanding the mechanisms behind transfer of learning and conditions under which this type of deep learning is facilitated.

McMaster Logo

1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4K1
905-525-9140 ext. 26032
Fax: 905-529-6225