The Education & Cognition Laboratory (EdCog Lab) is part of the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. Here we apply an understanding of cognitive mechanisms to the practical problems of instructional design, training and the scholarship of teaching and learning using a variety of tools including cognitive and behavioural testing, eye-tracking, and EEG.


We are currently focusing on four areas of research:

Transfer of knowledge

We are examining how different types of instructions and study conditions foster test performance and transfer of learning – applying learned knowledge to solve novel problems. Specifically, we want to see how individuals process statistics concepts and then use the concepts to recognize and solve novel problems. The ultimate goal is to attempt to understand the mechanisms behind transfer of learning and identify the conditions under which it is facilitated.

Working memory and multimedia instruction

What is the best way to design multimedia instruction? We aim to investigate this by using eye-tracking techniques and comprehension performance to examine how different text and images attract visual attention, then assessing its influence on comprehension of the material. Currently, we are using eye-tracking analyses to determine if redundant text in presentations affects learning, as well as using metacognitive comparisons to gauge whether learners are aware of the negative impact of the redundant text. 

Mind wandering and task demands

Mind wandering leads to attention shifted from a primary target to an off-task thought and can hinder learning. We are interested in investigating the mechanism behind mind wandering and how to best measure it in both laboratory and classroom settings. We are exploring what aspects of a task promote or discourage mind wandering and how it affects information retention and comprehension throughout the course of a lecture.

Test-enhanced learning

Tests are typically viewed as evaluation tools, rather than learning opportunities. Our research on retrieval practice, interleaving, and pre-tests suggest that tests can enhance learning beyond study periods on complex learning materials.




Journal of Applied Research on Memory and Cognition, 7(3), 361-369
Does Working Memory Capacity Moderate the Interleaving Benefit?
F Sana, VX Yan, JA Kim, EL Bjork, RA Bjork
Journal of Applied Research on Memory and Cognition, 7(2), 261-269
Sweat so you don’t forget: Exercise breaks during learning increases on-task attention and comprehension.
B Fenesi, K Lucibello, JA Kim, JJ Heisz


Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(1), 84-98
Study sequence matters for the inductive learning of cognitive concepts.
F Sana, VX Yan, JA Kim
Journal of Anatomical Sciences Education, 10(3), 249-261
The effect of image quality, repeated study, and assessment method on anatomy learning.
B Fenesi, C Mackinnon, L Cheng, JA Kim, BC Wainman


Applied Cognitive Psychology 30 (5), 691-699
Split‐Attention and Coherence Principles in Multimedia Instruction Can Rescue Performance for Learners with Lower Working Memory Capacity.
B Fenesi, E Kramer, JA Kim
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology 2 (2), 134
The mind that wanders: Challenges and potential benefits of mind wandering in education.
AA Pachai, A Acai, AB LoGiudice, JA Kim


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology 1 (4), 377
Testing together: When do students learn more through collaborative tests?
AB LoGiudice, AA Pachai, JA Kim

Educational Psychology Review 27 (2), 333-351
Reconceptualizing working memory in educational research.
B Fenesi, F Sana, JA Kim, DI Shore

The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 6 (3), 2
A Systematic Assessment of ‘None of the Above’ on Multiple Choice Tests in a First Year Psychology Classroom.
MV Pachai, D DiBattista, JA Kim

Frontiers in psychology 6
One size does not fit all: older adults benefit from redundant text in multimedia instruction.
B Fenesi, S Vandermorris, JA Kim, DI Shore, JJ Heisz


Journal of Experimental Education, 82(2), 253-263
Combining best-practice and experimental approaches: redundancy, images and misperceptions in multimedia learning.
B Fenesi, JJ Heisz, P Savage, DI Shore, JA Kim

Frontiers in Educational Psychology, 5(710), 1–7
Learners misperceive benefits of redundant text in multimedia learning.
B Fenesi, JA Kim
Teaching of Psychology, 41(2), 135-143
Evaluating the effectiveness of combining the use of corrective feedback and high-level practice questions.
B Fenesi, F Sana, JA Kim
Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
Assessing the Impact of Interactive Sampling Using Audience Response Systems.
I Ghilic, ML Cadieux, JA Kim, DI Shore
Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
Cooperation and competition in large classrooms.
DB Krupp, JA Kim, P Taylor, P Barclay


International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education, 2(3), 456-462
Number and content variability of instructive examples promote structure-based learning.
F Sana, JA Kim

Transformative Dialogues, 4(3), 1-10
Training undergraduate teaching assistants in a peer mentor course.
F Sana, MV Pachai, JA Kim
Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2(1)
Blended learning. A case study at McMaster University.
F Sana, B Fenesi, JA Kim
Computers & Education, 56(3):65-872
The role of interest and images in slideshare presentations.
JM Tangen, MD Constable, E Durrant, C Teeter, BR Beston, JA Kim
Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, 5:52-57
Using communities of practice to foster faculty development in higher education.
CJ Teeter, NE Fenton, K Nicholson, T Flynn, JA Kim, M McKay, B O’Shaughnessy, S Vajoczki
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1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4K1


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