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Christopher Beevers, Director 305 E. 23rd St., Stop E9000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-3706

Jessica Cooper

Graduate Student

Maddox Lab
Jessica Cooper


I am a 5th year graduate student interested in human decision making. My current research focuses on how performance in decision-making tasks is affected by a combination of aging, individual differences, and situational factors.

Situational Factors: When do we choke under pressure, and when do we excel? When do distractions enhance or harm our performance? One of my areas of focus is the interaction between pressure, distraction, and task complexity in decision-making task performance.

Individual Differences: How much of our performance can be attributed to individual differences, and when do these differences stop predicting our performance? I am studying the relationship between individual differences (chronic regulatory focus, depression, and intuitive thinking) and performance in decision-making tasks.

Aging: Decisions play an important role in our lives, and the importance of decisions usually increases with age. Previous work (Worthy, Gorlick, Pacheco, Schyner, & Maddox, in press) identifies certain history-dependent tasks in which older adults excel compared to younger adults, and suggests that the advantage is due to engagement of additional frontal neural resources by compensatory scaffolding (Park et al., 2009). I am interested in studying how situational factors (like pressure) have differential effects on these neural systems across the lifespan and how performance can be maximized across age groups.



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