Cognitive Psychology PhD

Content at a Glance

Interested in Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience?

As a Carnegie Classification recognized “R1” university, research is emphasized in the program from day one. Students are expected to attend weekly brown bag meetings where their peers and faculty give full, professional talks on recent research activities from their lab. Beyond promoting individual excellence, the program also emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of cognitive science via two research centers specializing in unique interdisciplinary missions—the Center for Cognitive Applications (CAPS) and the Center for Development and Behavioral Neuroscience (CDBN).

Our graduate programs in psychology consistently rank within the top 25 doctoral programs at "Public Ivies." The best way to learn more about the program is to visit the department and observe firsthand. Notify us in advance of your visit to make sure that the faculty with whom you would like to speak will be available.

Area coordinator: Deanne Westerman, PhD


Conte (lab page):  EEG source localization and neuroimaging techniques applied to the investigation of the development of face processing and social communication in infancy. Accepting graduate students for Fall 2024. 

Dulas: cognitive neuroscience of relational memory and aging, using structural and functional MRI and eye-tracking, with a particular interest in hippocampal and prefrontal cortex interactions. Accepting graduate students for Fall 2024.

Gerhardstein (lab page): visual development and digital influences on perception and learning, development of low-level contour detection and Gestalt organizational principles, using eye-tracking and ERP; fMRI anticipated 2022. Accepting graduate students for Fall 2024. 

Hayes (lab page): cognitive processes involved in judgement and decision-making behavior; computational cognitive modeling.Accepting graduate students for Fall 2024. 

Klin: psycholinguistics, reading, comprehension and memory for text. Prof. Klin is currently Dean of Harpur College.

Kurtz (Scholar page): behavioral and computational investigations of human learning and reasoning processes including categorization and analogy; improving the problem-solving and learning abilities of humans and machines. Accepting graduate students for Fall 2024. 

Lim (Lab page): auditory cognitive neuroscience, human speech perception and communication, neural dynamics and functional networks. Accepting graduate students for Fall 2024. 

McDonough (Lab page): neurocognitive aging, especially as it relates to episodic memory and cognitive control, environmental and lifestyle factors (e.g., the exposome) across the lifespan that shapes brain structural and functional organization, using (f)MRI, transcranial electric stimulation, and functional near infrared spectroscopy.

Miller: basic learning and memory processes, sources of forgetting, reducing and enhancing forgetting, retrieval mechanisms.

Solomon: Joining Binghamton University Fall of 2024 cognitive neuroscience of semantic cognition at the interface of category learning, memory, and language use; generalization and flexibility in categories and concepts; behavioral, fMRI, and computational methods. Accepting graduate students for Fall 2024. 

Van Petten: language processing focusing on the interface between semantic processing and spoken word identification, executive processes that contribute to memory.

Westerman: human memory; particularly memory illusions, familiarity-based judgements, and the attributional processes in memory. Accepting graduate students for Fall 2024. 

Techniques and Available Technology

Our labs utilize a variety of methods to understand the organization of cognitive processes. These techniques and available technology include:

  • Programs created in python, Matlab, and HTML/CSS/JavaScript, hosted in-person or over the web, and designed to gauge accuracy, reaction time, and/or depth of understanding
  • Computational modeling of qualitative and quantitative patterns of behavior
  • Eye tracking studies (particularly gaze direction and the timing of eye movements)
  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
  • Cortical electrophysiology (event-related potentials, phase coherence, and synchronization in the EEG)
  • Other psychophysiological measures such as heart rate, pupil diameter, and skin conductance

Admission Information

To formally apply to a graduate program at Binghamton University, it is recommended that you complete an application by December 10; however, applications will be accepted until December 31. Please follow the directions on how to apply described on the Graduate School website.

Admission to the graduate program is selective, which allows faculty to devote a great deal of individual attention to each of our students. Admission is based on: 

  • Academic performance as an undergraduate (e.g., official transcripts)
  • GREs are optional
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Fit of research interest between applicant and faculty member

Additional information on student resources may be found here.

Program alumni

The Cognitive Psychology Program prepares students for employment in academic settings, research institutes, and positions in the private sector. Our ultimate marker of success is the excellent placement of our graduate students in the job market following their PhD—with a 96% employment rate immediately following completion of their degree.