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Dynamics of Perception, Action, & Cognition (Amazeen)

Keywords: complexity; coordination; vision; touch; motor skills; physiological processes; handedness; learning; attention

Lab Research Area:

The Dynamics of Perception, Action, & Cognition (DPAC) lab is focused on promoting a dynamical approach to perception, action, and cognition.  Our research uses the principles of dynamical systems, complex systems, and ecological psychology to understand the coordination among multiple systems and processes, including:  vision, touch, motor skills, physiological processes, handedness, learning, and attention.

Research Opportunities
We welcome undergraduate research assistants! Our research assistants gain experience in all aspects of research including designing experiments, collecting data, working with technical data collection equipment, and performing data analysis. If you are interested in joining our team, contact either one of the faculty directors:  Dr. Eric Amazeen or  Dr. Nia Amazeen .

Lab Directors & Principal Investigators: Eric Amazeen, PhD, Associate Professor and Nia Amazeen, PhD, Associate Professor

Dr. Eric Amazeen's research focuses on the role of bodily movements in perception and cognition to better understand how we use movement to perceive and how cognition is influenced by the dynamics of those movements. The study of weight perception has been a particularly fruitful area of study because perceiving heaviness always begins with lifting. His research has shown that perception is tied to the dynamics of lifting and the measured activity of the muscles. The foundational role of movement dynamics is evident throughout his research on motor control and coordination in both one- and two-person movements. Curriculum vitae.

Dr. Polemnia (Nia) G. Amazeen's research is directed at the understanding of behavior as a complex system in which the whole is not equal to the sum of the parts. She uses mathematical models to look for behavior patterns and general principles of coordination in teamwork, motor skills, and other perception-action-cognition phenomena.Dr. Amazeen’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation and Department of Defense. She serves on the board of directors for the International Society for Ecological Psychology and on the executive committee for the Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity (CSDC). In 2010, she co-authored Training Adaptive Teams, which earned the Jerome H. Ely best article award. Curriculum vitae.

Doctoral Students

Cameron Gibbons, Doctoral Student, Cognitive Science, Department of Psychology





Aaron Likens, Doctoral Student, Cognitive Science, Department of Psychology





Morgan Waddell,  Doctoral Student, Cognitive Science, Department of Psychology

Where are they now?  Our alums

Justin Fine, PhD

Eric Hessler, PhD

Andre Valdez, PhD


Postdoc Alumnus:  Dr. Jamie Gorman

Select Publications

Below are a sample of recent publications from the Amazeen DPAC research and lab. A more complete listing may be found in their curriculum vitae:  Eric Amazeen CV; Nia Amazeen CV.

* - indicates grad student author

Waddell*, M.L., Fine*, J.M., Likens*, A., Amazeen, E.L., & Amazeen, P.G.  (in press).  Perceived heaviness in the context of Newton’s 2nd law:  Combined effects of muscle activity and lifting kinematics.  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Human Perception & Performance.

Fine*, J.M., Likens*, A.D., Amazeen, E.L., & Amazeen, P.G.  (2015).  Emergent complexity matching in interpersonal coordination:  Local dynamics and global variability.  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Human Perception & Performance, 41, 723-737.

Likens*, A.D., Fine*, J.M., Amazeen, E.L., & Amazeen, P.G.  (2015).  Experimental control of scaling behavior:  What is not fractal?  Experimental Brain Research, 233, 2813-2821.

Amazeen, E.L.  (2014).  Box shape influences the size-weight illusion during individual and team lifting.  Human Factors, 56, 581-591.

Fine*, J.M., Ward, K.L., & Amazeen, E.L.  (2014).  Manual coordination with intermittent targets:  Velocity information for prospective control.  Acta Psychologica, 149, 24-31.

Hessler, E. E., & Amazeen, P. G.  (2014).  Learning and transfer in motor-respiratory coordination.  Human Movement Science, 33, 321-342.

Likens*, A. D., Amazeen, P. G., Stevens, R., Galloway, T., & Gorman, J. (2014). Neural signatures of team coordination are revealed by multifractal analysis.  Social Neuroscience, 9, 219-234.

Fine*, J. M., Gibbons*, C. T., & Amazeen, E. L.  (2013).  Congruency effects in interpersonal coordination.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 39(6), 1541-1556.

Gorman, J. C., Amazeen, P. G., & Cooke, N. J.  (2010).  Team coordination dynamics.  Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, 14, 265-289.

Gorman, J. C., Cooke, N. J. & Amazeen, P. G.  (2010).  Training adaptive teams.  Human Factors, 52, 295-307.




Our lab is busy collecting data on teamwork for grants funded by the National Science Foundation (P. Amazeen and J. Gorman) and the Department of Defense (P. Amazeen, N. Cooke, together with Charles River Associates).

All students and faculty are welcome to our ongoing seminar on Dynamics of Perception, Action, and Cognition (DPAC), Fridays at 3:00.  During Spring 2016, we will be returning to our philosophical roots by discussing a new book by Kaufer and Chemero called Phenomenology: An Introduction (2015).

We are committed to teaching students of all ages about the use of dynamics in psychology, and so we value community outreach to local schools (photo right).



We like to give back to the community as volunteers. One of our favorite activities is to pack meals for Feed My Starving Children (photo left).