Memory & Language Lab (Goldinger)

Memory & Language Lab (Goldinger)
Keywords: visual attention, face perception, eye-tracking, pupillary changes, language processing.
Lab Area
Cognitive Science
Lab Director
Stephen Goldinger, PhD
Actively Recruiting Undergraduate Researchers
Contact Us

Research in the Memory and Language Lab (MLL) is quite diverse, combining numerous techniques to help understand human cognition. Ongoing projects examine visual attention, face perception, the creation and retrieval of memories, and bilingual cognition. Across different topics, we use classic behavioral methods, eye-tracking, pupil measurements, and other approaches. 

Lab Director and Principal Investigator: Stephen Goldinger, PhD, Professor

Dr. Goldinger is a member of the Cognitive Science faculty, with broad interests in perception, attention, memory and language.  He graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington (twice, B.A. in 1987, Ph.D. in 1992) and joined the ASU Department of Psychology in 1992.  His research interests include spoken and printed word perception, face perception and memory, visual attention, episodic memory, and other topics.  His laboratory is designed to collect basic behavioral data, eye-tracking measures, and pupillary measures.  Dr. Goldinger is a fellow in APA Division 3 (Experimental Psychology), APS, and the Society for Experimental Psychologists (SEP). Curriculum Vitae.

Current Graduate Students

Kate Hebert, Doctoral Student, Cognitive Science, Department of Psychology

Kate joined the Memory and Language Lab in 2014, after completing her B.A. in Psychology at Gonzaga University, in Spokane, Washington (go Zags!).  Thus far, her research has focused primarily on the interactions between language and perception, including the neural mechanisms that underlie these processes. Her other research interests involve human memory and neuroscience, as well as attention and visual processing.  Kate enjoys traveling, camping, and occasionally jumping out of airplanes.

Casey Phifer, Doctoral Student, Cognitive Science, Department of Psychology

Casey joined the Memory and Language Lab in 2014, after completing a B.S. degree in Psychology at Louisiana State University.  Her research interests include attention, eye movements, reward learning, and human memory.  Her current projects aim to isolate a reward-related processes in the human brain, by examining fluctuations in pupil diameters as people conduct cognitive operations. Outside of research, Casey enjoy hobbies such as painting, volunteering at the Phoenix Zoo, and hanging out with her cat.

Stephen Walenchok, Doctoral Student, Cognitive Science, Department of Psychology

Steve joined the Memory and Language Lab in 2011, after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010.  While at Pitt, he conducted research (with Professor Erik Reichle) on eye movements in reading and visual attention.  For the past several years, his interests have expanded to include such diverse topics as visual search, object identification, and bilingualism.  In studying these topics, Steve and his collaborators and I aim to answer several enduring questions, such as why airport screeners may often miss rare, but dangerous, items in baggage, how people can easily locate their cars in crowded parking lots, and whether or not there is a general cognitive advantage to being bilingual.  Outside of school, Steve is a music enthusiast (and plays the drums), and is fascinated by cranes (the machines, not the birds).

Lab Alums - Where are they now?

Former doctoral students:
Lawrence Gottlob, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Kentucky.
Marianne Abramson, PhD, Lecturer, California State University, Bakersfield.
Heather Kleider-Offut, PhD, Associate Professor, Georgia State University.
D. Vaughn Becker, PhD, Associate Professor, Arizona State University, Polytechnic Campus.
Jason F. Smith, PhD, Research Scientist, University of Maryland
Whitney A. Hansen, PhD, Lecturer, Arizona State University.
Megan H. Papesh, PhD, Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University.
Michael C. Hout, PhD, Assistant Professor, New Mexico State University.
Anthony S. Barnhart, PhD, Assistant Professor, Carthage College.

Select Publications

Below are a sample of recent publications from the lab that represent different aspects of our research over the past few years. A more complete listing may be found in Dr. Goldinger's curriculum vitae.

In press

Walenchok, S.C., Hout, M.C., & Goldinger, S.D. (in press). Implicit object naming in visual search:  Evidence from phonological competition. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics.


Goldinger, S.D., Papesh, M.H., Barnhart, A.S., Hansen, W.A., & Hout, M.C. (2016). The poverty of embodied cognition.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, online first.

Goldinger, S.D., Papesh, M.H., Barnhart, A.S., Hansen, W.A., & Hout, M.C. (2016). The poverty of embodied cognition.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, forthcoming.

Papesh, M.H., Goldinger, S.D., & Hout, M.C. (2016). Eye movements reveal fast, voice-specific priming.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145, 314-337.


Barnhart, A.S., & Goldinger, S.D. (2015). Orthographic and phonological neighborhood effects in handwritten word perception. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 1739-1745.

Hout, M.C., Walenchok, S.C., Goldinger, S.D., & Wolfe, J.W. (2015). Failures of perception in the low-prevalence effect:  Evidence from active and passive visual search. Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Human Perception and Performance, 41, 977-994.

Valdez, A.B., Papesh, M.H., Treiman, D.M., Smith, K.A., Goldinger, S.D., & Steinmetz, P.N. (2015). Distributed visual representation of objects by single neurons in the human brain. Journal of Neuroscience35, 5180-5186.

Godwin, H.J., Walenchok, S., Houpt, J.W., Hout, M.C., & Goldinger, S.D.  (2015). Faster than the speed of rejection:  Object identification processes during visual search for multiple targets. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 411007-1020.


Barnhart, A.S., & Goldinger, S.D. (2014). Blinded by magic: Eye-movements reveal the misdirection of attention. Frontiers in Psychology, 5:1461. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.

Hout, M.C., & Goldinger, S.D. (2014). Target templates: The precision of mental representations affects attentional guidance and decision-making in visual search.  Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 77, 128-149.

Wixted, J.T., Squire, L.R., Jang, Y., Papesh, M.H., Goldinger, S.D., Kuhn, J., Smith, K.A., Treiman, D.M., & Steinmetz, P.N. (2014). Sparse and distributed coding of episodic memory in neurons of the human hippocampus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 111, 9621-9626.

Papesh, M.H., & Goldinger, S.D. (2014). Infrequent identity mismatches are frequently undetected. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 76, 1335-1349.


Barnhart, A.S., & Goldinger, S.D. (2013). A powerful perceptual effect in reading rotated, handwritten words.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20, 1319-1326.

Hout, M.C., Goldinger, S.D., & Ferguson, R.W. (2013). The versatility of SpAM:  A fast, efficient, spatial method of data collection for multidimensional scaling. Journal of Experimental Psychology:  General, 142, 256-281.

News & more!

Doctoral student Kate Hebert presented her new research (“The Label Feedback Effect: Speech Modulates Visual Search, but Language Isn’t the Culprit”) at the 2016 meeting for the Society for the Neurobiology of Language, in London, England.

Vision Sciences Society, May, 2016. Doctoral student Steve Walenchok will present new research, “Examiningconfirmatory strategies in visual search:  People are more flexible than you think.”

Dr. Stephen Goldinger was named a Fellow by the American Psychological Association for “sustained and outstanding distinguished contributions to psychological science ” in December, 2015.

Psychonomic Society Meeting, November, 2015. Congratulations to doctoral students Steve Walenchok and Kate Hebert!  Kate recently won second place for the American Psychological Association's Division 3 “Best 2015 Psychonomic Society Poster” Award (out of 44 submissions and 15 finalists).  Steve Walenchok was also a finalist.  Steve and Kate also presented their posters for ASU's Institute for Social Science Research poster contest, winning first and second place, respectively.  Both posters are available at this link.

Congratulations to doctoral student Casey Phifer, who has been selected as a Representative for the Graduate Women's Association (GWA), in the ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. After her selection, Casey was appointed as the Secretary for Public Affairs

Congratulations to lab alum, Dr. Tony Barnhart, who started his new job as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Carthage College, in Fall 2015.

Congratulations to lab alum, Dr. Megan Papesh, who was awarded the Emerging Scholar Rainmaker Award from Louisiana State University, 2015.

Our research in the news

Several of the lab's projects (conducted by Dr. Goldinger, in collaboration with many colleagues who did all the hard work!) have attracted recent attention in the news and social media. Our theoretical critique of embodied cognition (Goldinger, Papesh, Barnhart, Hansen & Hout, 2016, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review) received widespread attention.  We would characterize the response as “decidedly mixed” toward our view… 

Our study on face-to-photo-ID matching (Papesh & Goldinger, 2014, Attention, Perception & Psychophysics) was featured in numerous news stories and blogs:

 Our recent study on the neural representation of objects in the human hippocampus (Valdez et al., 2015, Journal of Neuroscience) was covered by media outlets and the world of Twitter:

 Our recent study on the neural representation of episodic memories (Wixted et al., 2014, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA) was widely covered in the news and social media outlets: