Paula Waddill

Why is it that what we remember reading or hearing isn't always what we actually read or heard? Why do we recall objects as having been in one location when they were actually in another? What makes some faces harder to recognize than others?

I conduct research in human learning and memory that seeks to answer questions like these. Current lines of investigation in my lab include episodic memory, memory representations, discourse processing, and encoding processes that enhance memory. My work also includes forensic and educational applications of memory research and semantic memory processes in decision making.

I am also interested in the recruitment and retention of women faculty in science at rural institutions like Murray State. I work on the MSU ADVANCE project which is a National Science Foundation funded project to study recruitment and retention of women in STEM.

I welcome both undergraduate and graduate students into my lab either as research assistants on projects already underway or as investigators on their own individual research projects. Mentoring students is something I find enjoyable and rewarding. I am honored to have received both the university's Distinguished Mentor Award and the Board of Regents Award for Teaching Excellence in recognition of my work with students.

In addition to the research listed in my vitae, here are some examples of student research projects and theses that I have directed:

  • Puzzle me this: A new method to learn math formulas?

  • You heard her speak so now you know her? The influence of accent on the perception of female speakers

  • Stress moderates the testing effect in delayed recall

  • Words matter: Exploring the relationship between synonymy, anxiety, and performance

  • Getting the job: Those who stutter vs. those who do not

  • I know that song: Familiarity and irrelevant lyrics impair verbal working memory

  • Cross-language transfer of English front vowels: Mandarin to English

  • Explicit and implicit interpretations of facial expressions as a function of social anxiety

  • Cultural differences in affective forecasting and the role of ideal affect

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