Resources and job opportunities in Cognitive Science for students and alumni
Interested in conducting cognitive science research? Fill out this form.
We encourage all of our students to get involved in research as early in their Oxy career as possible. The Cognitive Science faculty love involving students in their research and are also excited to provide mentoring opportunities for student-devised projects that are aligned with faculty interests. Students have the option of conducting research for course credit (by enrolling in either COGS 390: State of Science or in COGS 395: Directed Research) or working with a faculty mentor to apply for a host of paid research positions through Oxy's Undergraduate Research Center.
Below, we briefly describe faculty research interests and the methodologies they typically employ. If any of these topics resonate with you, please get in touch with either the professor whose interests align with yours, or fill out this interest form.
Professor Caro Brighouse
Professor Carmel Levitan
My research primarily investigates how the different senses interact (vision, sound, taste, smell, and touch) to influence our perceptual and emotional experiences. I am also involved in collaborative open science and replication projects, and in research on metascience (how science can be better). To answer my research questions, I use experimental and survey techniques including behavior and psychophysics.
Professor Justin Li
My research is broadly on the strategic search for knowledge. How does an agent recognize that more knowledge is needed? What knowledge should it search for, and how does it combine primitive search operations to do it? And when it receives an answer, how does it verify its accuracy, or when does it give up? Specifically, I am interested in human information seeking behavior, memory mechanisms in agent architectures, inference in semantic networks, and reinforcement learning of memory use.
Professor Stephanie Nelli
How do humans recycle previous knowledge to aid them in novel situations? To answer this question, I first design a task. I then compare how humans and artificial neural networks approach this task, and I do this by measuring both 1) the behavior of humans and neural networks and 2) the neural codes that emerge while learning the task. My nitty gritty methods are primarily EEG and fMRI for human neuroimaging, and MatLab or Python for data analysis and neural network modeling.
Professor Dylan Sabo
My current research focuses on how to reconcile the diversity of scientific practices (the fact that different areas of scientific inquiry use different methods to investigate and describe different kinds of entities) with the unity of the object of scientific study (the fact that these different areas of science are in some sense studying the same thing). I’m specifically focused on the relationship between cognitive phenomena such as linguistic competence and neurophysiological phenomena that in some way subserve them, and in understanding how practitioners in different areas of cognitive science understand that relationship. This is primarily conceptual / philosophical work reflecting on the commitments and assumptions of empirical research in cognitive science.
Professor Sasha Sherman
My main areas of interest are the perception of art and music, multisensory integration (how auditory and visual information combine in the brain), and emotion and expression perception. I often conduct experiments by tracking behavior, measuring brain states using EEG, or looking at participants eye-gaze patterns.
Professor Mike Shelton
I am interested in the representation and processing of language in the mind, generally with a focus on the phonological system (the sounds), among monolingual and bilingual speakers of Spanish. I usually employ behavioral methods to observe speakers as they are using language, in order to collect data in the form of reaction times and error rates. With these data my collaborators and I are able to test theoretical accounts of linguistic structure and to understand better the cognitive implications of actual language use.
Professor Kevin Urstadt
My research interests revolve around brain areas that control motivation, pleasure, and disgust. My current work focuses on neuroanatomical tracing in rat brain tissue - this technique highlights connections between specific brain areas. I also track regions of the rat brain that are activated or altered by drugs of abuse; this is done by highlighting drug-affected neuron groups using immunofluorescence staining.
Teaching assistant opportunities
Every semester, there are a range of Cognitive Science courses employing student teaching assistants. We will post those opportunities when they are available, but if you would like to indicate your interest in being considered for a position in the future, please fill out this interest form.
External job postings
Job postings will be updated as they come in. Please check back regularly. Please note: These postings have not been approved or reviewed by the department. They are unsolicited and posted for your convenience.
Full-Time Job Opportunities: