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Laura E. Thomas, Ph.D.

Laura E. Thomas, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Psychology

Center for Visual and Cognitive Neuroscience

North Dakota State University

Office: 134E4 Minard Hall

Phone: (701)231-6311 


Research Interests

My research incorporates approaches from embodied cognition and vision science to study the ways in which physical actions affect key components of cognition such as problem solving, memory, and attention.

Action and Cognition Lab


Ph.D., 2008, Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.A., 2002, Psychology (summa cum laude), Washington University in St. Louis

Academic Appointments

2011-present, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, North Dakota State University

2008-2011, Postdoctoral Fellow, Perception, Attention, and Control Lab, Vanderbilt University

Courses Taught

PSYC 350: Research Methods I

PSYC 464/664: Attention and Thinking

PSYC 764: Advanced Topics in Attention

Selected Publications

Thomas, L. E. (2015). Grasp posture alters visual processing biases near the hands. Psychological Science.

Thomas, L. E., & Pemstein, D. (2015). What you see is what you get: Webcam placement influences perception and social coordination. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:306.

Thomas, L. E., Davoli, C. C., & Brockmole, J. R.  (2014).  Competitive interaction leads to perceptual distancing between actors.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40, 2112-2116.

Kuylen, C., Balas, B., & Thomas, L. E.  (2014). My shadow, myself: Cast-body shadows are embodied.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21, 676-681.

Sun, H. M., & Thomas, L. E.  (2013).  Biased attention near another's hand following joint action.  Frontiers in Psychology, 4:443.

Thomas, L. E.  (2013).  Grasp posture modulates attentional prioritization of space near the hands.  Frontiers in Psychology, 4:312.

Thomas, L. E.  (2013).  Spatial working memory is necessary for actions to guide thought.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39, 1974-1981.

Thomas, L. E., & Seiffert, A. E.  (2013).  Looking ahead: Attending to anticipatory locations increases perception of control.  Consciousness and Cognition, 22, 375-381.

Thomas, L. E., Davoli, C. C., & Brockmole, J. R.  (2013).  Interacting with objects compresses environmental representations in spatial memory.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20, 101-107.

Thomas, L. E., & Seiffert, A. E.  (2011).  How many objects are you worth? Quantification of the self-motion load on multiple object tracking.  Frontiers in Cognition, 2:245.

Thomas, L. E., & Seiffert, A. E.  (2010).  Self-motion impairs multiple-object tracking.  Cognition, 177, 80-86.

Higgins, J. S., Irwin, D. E., Wang, R. F., & Thomas, L. E.  (2009).  Visual direction constancy across eye blinks.  Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 71, 1607-1617.

Thomas, L. E., & Lleras, A.  (2009).  Swinging into thought: Directed movement guides insight in problem solving.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 16, 719-723.

Thomas, L. E., & Lleras, A.  (2009).  Covert shifts of attention function as an implicit aid to insight.  Cognition, 111, 168-174.

Thomas, L. E., & Lleras, A.  (2009).  Inhibitory tagging in an interrupted visual search.  Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 71, 1241-1250.

Thomas, L. E., & Lleras, A.  (2007).  Moving eyes and moving thought: On the spatial compatibility between eye movements and cognition.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14, 663-668.

Irwin, D. E., & Thomas, L. E.  (2007).  The effect of saccades on number comparison.  Perception & Psychophysics, 69, 450-458.

Thomas, L. E., Ambinder, M. S., Hsieh, B., et al.  (2006).  Fruitful visual search: Inhibition of return in a virtual foraging task.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 13, 891-895.

Thomas, L. E., & Irwin, D. E.  (2006).  Voluntary eyeblinks disrupt iconic memory.  Perception & Psychophysics, 68, 475-488.

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