THE COGNITIVE, APPLIED, AND PERCEPTUAL RESEARCH LAB
The focus of the lab is to examine how individual differences in cognitive, social, and perceptual processes are connected with experience in formal (e.g., math) and informal (e.g., video game) activities and can be altered using technology. The goal is to gain insight into how different mental processes are structured and function using individual differences and be able to identify how these processes can be enhanced.
Experience in Informal Activities and Sociocognitive Processes
Does the time you spend playing video games or practicing dancing relate to mental and social processes? In this line of research we are examining how accumulated experience in informal activities, such as multiplayer online battle arena games and hip hop dance, are related to individual differences in sociocognitive processes. The goal of the research is to identify what relations exist and whether providing individuals experience in informal activities leads to changes in sociocognitive skills.
Perceptual Foundations of Quantitative Reasoning
Accumulating evidence suggests that the basic ability to estimate quantities, such as whether there are more blue or green candies on a table, are linked to individual differences in math skills. However, questions remain as to the extent to which different perceptual quantitative processes are linked to different math skills and the causal direction of observed relations. To address these questions, we are use computerized decision tasks and math tests to assess the quantitative abilities of individuals who vary in their math proficiency.
Transfer of Individual Differences to Augmented and Virtual Realities
The release of next-generation augmented and virtual reality systems (e.g., HTC Vive) make it more likely that individuals will have vivid, fully-immersed experiences in virtual environments. An outstanding question is what types of cognitive skills make it more likely that a person will thrive in a virtual or augmented environment? To address this question, we are using augmented and virtual reality devices and sets of cognitive tasks to evaluate what capabilities make it more likely an individual will be proficient in these environments.
Real-time Changes in Team Cohesion
Individuals frequently assemble into small teams to accomplish a task. How does the extent to which members feel connected to each other change as they form and perform as a team? We are developing brief measures to assess team cohesion as members are engaged in a task, specifically, team-based video games. The measures are also being used to assess changes in the cohesion of work groups and the influence of individual differences in psychological traits.
Dr. Justin Bonny
Principal Investigator and Assistant Professor of Psychology
Dr. Bonny's research interests focus on how individual differences in informal activities (e.g., hobbies) and mathematics ability are reflected in cognitive and social processes and can be altered using technology. In his research, Dr. Bonny investigates (i) cognitive underpinnings of STEM skills in children and adults, examining how evolutionarily ancient perceptual representations are linked to arithmetic and geometric ability, (ii) how sociocognitive processes are connected to experience in informal activities such as team-based video game play and hip hop dance, and (iii) how individual differences in sociocognitive abilities transfer to, and can be enhanced using, augmented and virtual reality environments. Dr. Bonny earned his Ph.D. in psychology from Emory University in 2013 and has previously worked as a research psychologist for an education research organization, community college professor at a minority-serving institution, an instructor at a research university, and a research and applied scientist for the Navy. He has authored several peer-reviewed articles and has numerous presentations spanning applied, cognitive, and developmental psychology programs. Dr. Bonny has mentored several undergraduate and community college students, several of whom have been co-authors on research articles and conference presentations.