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Prototype Abstraction Lab (Homa)

Keywords:  category theory, dynamic scene processing, attention, face processing, attention, memory search

Lab Research Area:

The Prototype Abstraction Lab (PAL) is devoted to the exploration of fundamental issues in human categorization, ranging from the variables known to shape concepts to the investigation of higher-order issues in categorization theory.

In PAL, we also investigate topics outside of category abstraction – visual selective attention, abrupt onset capture & encapsulated mechanisms embedded within complex cognitive processing, haptic memory & cross-modality transfer, recognition memory & retrieval, and multidimensional scaling as a geometric model of human memory - but mostly we study category abstraction.

Lab Director and Principal Investigator: Donald Homa, PhD, Professor

Our lab is devoted to the exploration of fundamental issues in human categorization, ranging from the variables known to shape concepts to higher-order issues in categorization theory.  We also investigate dynamic scene processing, visual selective attention, abrupt onset capture & encapsulated mechanisms, haptic memory & cross-modality transfer, and multidimensional scaling as a geometric model of human memory. Curriculum Vitae.


Current Graduate Student(s)

Derek Ellis, Doctoral Student, Cognitive Science, Department of Psychology

Current Undergraduate Research Assistants

Samantha Orlando
Benjamin Gelbart
Savanna Melkus

Lab Alums - Where are they now?

Mark Blair, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University

Safa Zaki, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Williams College

Phuong Do, PhD, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Purdue University Northwest (Calumet)

Ryan Ferguson, Research analyst, Houston Astros

Thomas Crawford, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Bethel University

Matthew Lancaster, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Lourdes University



Select Publications

Below are a sample of recent publications from Dr. Homa's research and lab. A more complete listing may be found in Dr. Homa's curriculum vitae.

In press
Ferguson, R., Homa, D., & Ellis, D. (in press). Memory for temporally dynamic scenes. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Lancaster, M.E., & Homa, D. (in press). Feature to feature inference under conditions of cue restriction and dimensional correlation.  American Journal of Psychology.

Johnson, K.A., Cohen, A.B., Neel, R., Berlin, A., Homa, D., & Sonnenberg, M. D. (2015). Fuzzy people: The roles of sociability, kinship, and essence in the attribution of personhood to nonliving, nonhuman agents. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 7, 295-305.  

Homa, D., Rogers, D., & Lancaster, M.E.  (2015). The indirect modification of categorical knowledge.  Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 22, 219-227.

Homa, D., Powell, D., & Ferguson, R.W.  (2014). Array training in a categorization task. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62, 45-59. 

Do, P., Homa, D., & Koehler, K. (2014). Identity categories and transformational paths for face changes across the age spectrum. Memory & Cognition, 42, 340-353. 

Ferguson, R., & Homa, D. (2014). Isomorphic categories. American Journal of Psychology, 127, 463-475.

Lancaster, M.E., Shelhamer, R., & Homa, D. (2013). Category inference as a function of correlational structure, category discriminability, and number of available cues. Memory & Cognition, 41, 339-353.

Do, P., Homa, D., Ferguson, R. W., & Crawford, T. (2012). Haptic concepts. In Haptics, Rendering, and Applications (Ed. Abdulmotaleb El Saddik), Intech publishers.

2011 and earlier
Homa, D., Hout, M., Milliken, L., & Milliken, A.M. (2011). Bogus concerns about the false prototype enhancement effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 37, 368-377.

Corby, K. M., & Homa, D. (2011). The enduring effect of availability. American Journal of Psychology, 124, 189-202

Homa, D., Crane, I., Milliken, A.M., & Newton (2009). Attentional costs and benefits in memory search.  American Journal of Psychology, 122, 99-110. 

Homa, D., Kanav, K., Priyamvada, T., Bratton, L., & Panchanathan, S. (2009). Haptic concepts in the blind.  Perception & Psychophysics,71, 690-698.

Pensky, Al, Johnson, K., Haag, S., & Homa, D. (2008). Delayed Memory Visual-Haptic Exploration of Familiar Objects.   Retention and decay of haptic information.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15, 574-580.     


Funded Grants

2015     ISSR ASU seed grant, $8000.  An fMRI Study of Categorization

2007     Mayo:  Haptic and Cognitive functioning in Alzheimers

2005     NSF: Incorporation of Psychological Basis of Haptics in the Design of Assistive Haptic User Interfaces (co-PI).