Matthew S. Cain, PhD
Matthew S. Cain, PhD, Research Psychologist, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, & Engineering Center; Tufts Center for Applied Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Matthew is a cognitive neuroscientist studying how human cognitive and perceptual performance is affected by context. Contextual effects can occur at many levels and he is interested not only in identifying contextual influences at a given level, but also in understanding how influences interact across levels. At the most immediate contextual level, he has examined the effects of the rules and responses used on previous experimental trials (e.g., post-error slowing; task switching) and the distribution of stimuli in experimental environments (e.g., multiple-target visual search and optimal foraging theory). At a slightly broader level, he is interested in factors like task-specific practice, vigilance, and motivation. At the broadest level, he is interested in the personality and expertise factors (i.e., individual differences) that participants bring with them to an experiment (e.g., personality traits like extroversion or impulsiveness; experiences with real-world activities like on-the-job training, playing video games, and consuming media). Matthew believes that a multi-level, multi-disciplinary approach is needed to truly understand human behavior in a complex world. As a research psychologist with the NSRDEC, he is studying questions of attentional capture, control, and engagement in both controlled laboratory environments and more applied field environments. In his ongoing collaboration with the Visual Attenion Lab at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, he is studying multiple-target visual search and its connections with optimal foraging theory. Previously, as a postdoc in the Brown University Laboratory for Cognitive & Perceptual Learning he was investigating the interactions between sleep, reward, and perceptual learning using behavioral, electrophysiological, and neuroimaging methods. Before that, he was a postdoc in the Duke Visual Cognition Lab, and studied the effects of contexts such as anxiety, environmental statistics, specialized training, and media experience on visual search and visual attention.