players.” But she is most fascinated by the subject of memory and how it is affected by different factors. Adept with computers, Albiero is also the college’s HawkNET Help Desk manager, which gives her an immediate, practical way to apply her knowledge. “There’s a lot of psychology in working for HawkNET, because people get really frustrated when they have computer problems and you have to calm them down.” One of Albiero’s first tasks when she became the lab’s director was to modify a computer. “It’s easy as long as you have the right components,” she says. She also has served as vice president and treasurer of the psychology club. “I don’t think that if I went anywhere else I would have had the chance to be this active in my department,” she says. “Professor Wenzel calls us pseudo grad students, because we get so into our work.” For her senior thesis, Margaret Guy ’13 is revising and expanding the project she completed in cognitive psychology class last spring, examining how accurately we remember information when it is in the form of a word or a picture. She is curious about how much people remember when information is presented in a typical format versus an atypical format (the word spinach written in blue, or a drawing of an apple in purple, for example). “Essentially, Margaret is considering whether a picture is really worth a thousand words,” Flannery says. Current research projects cover topics such as auditory and object location memory; stress, sleep and reading in college students with dyslexia; and the impact of color and design factors on mood and memory. The students collaborate and push each other to ask deeper questions. This fall, freshmen and sophomores are joining the cognition lab team and learning from the upperclassmen as research assistants on their projects.
Brain Science for Soldiers Marianna Eddy ’01 is a cognitive neuroscientist who started in her field at Saint Anselm College. Last August, she began working at the United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC). Scientists at the center research and develop
equipment and technologies that support American troops, including clothing, shelters, food, and protective gear. As a research psychologist with the cognitive science team, Eddy measures the cognitive performance of soldiers and the interaction of cognition with physical and emotional states. Eddy was an Undergraduate Research Scholar at Saint Anselm and went on to earn a Ph.D. in experimental psychology at Tufts University. Her postdoctoral work at MIT focused on reading development in children and difficulty with reading in dyslexia. The experience she gained at MIT with brain imaging techniques prepared her for her current position with the NSRDEC. She will be setting up an electroencephalography (EEG) lab where she and other scientists will study cognitive processes relevant to soldier performance. On a recent trip to Fort Greely in Alaska, Eddy conducted a study in the field, getting a first-hand look at soldiers’ challenges. “Dressed in 60 pounds of full protective armor and running the obstacle course definitely gave me perspective,” she says. “I see the importance of developing equipment and technology that lessens their physical and cognitive burden.” Identifying how cognitive performance is affected by these factors can inform the design of personal equipment and technologies used by soldiers. “It’s an incredible amount of responsibility but it’s really worthwhile because it may have an impact on someone’s life,” Eddy says. Two younger alumni also work at NSRDEC as research assistants: Jessica Howe ’11 and Kelly Rudolph ’11. Another alumna who has taken her cognition lab experience in an exciting direction is Rena (Walles) Stroud ’02. She earned a Ph.D. and works for an educational research and curriculum development company in Cambridge. Cognitive psychology research has the potential to help not only psychologists but doctors, educators, architects, and engineers. Now, if they could just help us remember where we put our keys.
The Magazine of Saint Anselm College