Welcome to the

Spatial Cognition Laboratory


Lab Members & Collaborators  

Current Projects

Publications & Stimuli

Contact Us

Professor Holly A. Taylor, Ph.D.
Lab Director; Director of the Graduate Program

Holly received her Bachelor's degree in mathematics from Dartmouth College in 1987, her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1992, and has been a faculty member at Tufts since 1994. In addition to her work, she enjoys running road races, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Tad Brunye, Ph.D.
Research Professor
Lecturer, Engineering Psychology

Tad Brunye received his Ph.D. in experimental cognition from Tufts University in May, 2007. He presently is a Senior Cognitive Scientist for the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) in Natick, MA, and a Research Professor and Lecturer here in the Department of Psychology. He studies spatial memory, attention, working memory, spatial language and discourse comprehension, multimedia learning, educational system design, and spatial visualizations, with a particular focus on embodied cognition and mental simulation. Methods employed in his investigations include eye tracking, electromyography, functional near-infrared spectroscopy, electroencephalography, and traditional behavioral measures. In 2011, Dr. Brunye was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government upon scientists and engineers in the early stages of their career; just as importantly, he got to meet the president! Email: tbruny01 (at) tufts.edu

Ruizhi Dai
Graduate Student

Ruizhi graduated from Chongqing Technology and Business University, China, with a bachelor's degree in applied physics. She worked as a research assistant at Peking University after graduation, investigating the effects of thinking styles on Chinese employee's creativity. Here in our lab, she studies spatial cognition, visual spatial working memory and map learning in both young and older adults. Ruizhi loves traveling, taking photographs and reading in her spare time.


Marianna D. Eddy, Ph.D.

Marianna received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience from Tufts University in 2008, working with Professor Holcomb on projects related to electrophysiological indices of object perception and language comprehension. She also completed a NRSA postdoctoral scholarship at MIT working with Professor Gabrieli on projects related to visual word recognition, typical reading development in children, and impaired reading development in dyslexia. Marianna is presently a Cognitive Scientist at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) in Natick, MA, and an instructor and visiting scholar in the Spatial Cognition Lab.

Aaron Gardony
Graduate Student

Aaron graduated from Tufts University in 2009 with a bachelor's in psychology, completing an honor's thesis in Professor Bharucha's laboratory, examining the effects of several music characteristics on induced affective states. Here in our lab, Aaron is investigating the effects of shifting perspectives in spatial visualizations and high arousal states on navigation through virtual environments. He is also co-managing the daily activities of the laboratory along with Grace Giles.


Grace Giles
Graduate Student

Grace recently graduated from Middlebury College with a bachelor's in neuroscience, working in Professor Collaer's laboratory, examining stress-induced impairments in hippocampal-dependent cognitive tasks. Here in our lab, Grace is investigating the acute effects of caffeine and taurine on a range of cognitive processes such as perception, working memory, complex decision making, and navigation. She is also co-managing the daily activities of the laboratory along with Aaron Gardony.


Caroline R. Mahoney, Ph.D.
Visiting Scholar

Caroline received her Ph.D. in experimental cognition from Tufts University. She presently is a cognitive psychologist for the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) in Natick, MA, and a Visiting Scholar here in our lab. Caroline studies dietary effects on cognitive and physical performance, and spatial memory.

Joe M. Moran, Ph.D.
Visiting Scholar

Joe received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Dartmouth College, and completed post-doctoral fellowships at MIT and Harvard. He is presently a cognitive scientist for the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) in Natick, MA, and a Visiting Scholar here in our lab. Joe researches the neuroanatomical organization of human social cognition as revealed by brain imaging (fMRI), and the nature of age-related changes in this organization. 

Sarah Tower-Richardi
Research Assistant

Sarah received her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of New Hampshire in 2011, where she worked on studies examining mind wandering, attention capture and visual priming. She also worked as a research fellow at MIT, where she worked on research using eye tracking and fMRI. Here in the lab, she is working on projects examining the embodied basis of spatial cognition, using technologies such as hand movement and eye tracking.

Qi Wang, Ph.D.
Visiting Scholar

Qi received her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Zhejiang University in 2005 and a Master's degree in cognitive psychology from Southwest University, China, in 2008. Most recently, she successfully defended her dissertation at Tufts University. Here at Tufts, she studies spatial cognition, social influence on spatial memory, mental simulations in spatial understanding, and the integration of spatial and non-spatial information. Qi enjoys movies, various kinds of music, readings, spending time with family and friends besides her work. Qi recently accepted an academic faculty position in her homeland, China, and is excited to begin her new career in the Fall!

Primary Collaborators

Stephanie A. Gagnon (Stanford University)
Elena Andonova (New Bulgarian University)
Tali Ditman (Massachusetts General Hospital)
Brett Q. Ford (University of Denver)
Eric Hodgson (Miami University, Ohio)
Robin Kanarek (Tufts University)
Klaus Kessler (University of Glasgow)
Keith Maddox (Tufts University)
Chiara Meneghetti (University of Padua, Italy)
Matthijs Noordzij (University of Twente)
Francesca Pazzaglia (University of Padua, Italy)
Ruth Propper (Montclair State University)
David N. Rapp (Northwestern University)
Cynthia Robin (Northwestern University)
Matthias Scheutz (Tufts University)
Maya Tamir (Hebrew University, Israel)
Ayanna K. Thomas (Tufts University)
Heather Urry (Tufts University)
David Uttal (Northwestern University)
David Waller (Miami University, Ohio)

Recent Graduates

Qi Wang, Ph.D. (2013)
A. Reyyan Bilge, Ph.D. (2009)
Tad T. Brunye, Ph.D. (2007)
Caroline R. Mahoney, Ph.D. (2001)
David N. Rapp, Ph.D. (post-doc)

Undergraduate Research Assistants:

Michael Fitzgerald
Nikhil Gopal
Colleen Hart
Aliza Howitt
Daniel Kaufman
Kiran Lockhande (Honors thesis: Emotional state and visual attention)
Jay McNamara
Peter Millar
Eliza Walters (Honors thesis: Mentally simulating tactile properties during reading)
Daniel Wong (Honors thesis: Modal-specific information in perspective-taking)

Site developed and maintained by Tad Brunye: tbrunye@alumni.tufts.edu