Decision, Attention, and Memory Lab

About the DAM Lab

The primary questions addressed in the DAM Lab concern the interelationships amongst decision making, judgment, attention, and memory, with a focus on developing theoretical and computational models models of behavior. In addition to these core issues, the lab is also involved with the development and application of novel statistical methodologies.


Current research in the DAM Lab  includes research on cognitive and brain training, basic memory and cognitive ability, and social decision processes. Researchers use a variety of techniques, including computational modeling, eye tracking, and most recently neuroimaging.

Lab Location
University of Maryland, Department of Psychology
Biology-Psychology Building, 1105
(301) 405-8276

The DAM Director


Michael R. Dougherty, PhD
Professor and Associate Chair of Psychology
Office: Biology-Psychology Building, 1145D
Phone: (301) 405-8423

Education and Awards: Dr. Dougherty received his PhD in 1999 from the University of Oklahoma and his BS from Kansas State University in 1993. Dr. Dougherty has received numerous research awards, including the Hillel Einhorn Early Investigator Award from the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, and the early investigator CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.

Research Interests: Dr. Dougherty's research involves the investigation of memory, attention, and decision processes, broadly construed, as well as the development of semi-parametric statistical algorithms. His work involves an integrative approach that utilizes, computational modeling, behavioral experiments, and eye-tracking methodologies. More recent work utilizing neuroimaging techniques is being conducted with neuroscience experts in the Psychology Department and the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Graduate Program (NACS). Dr. Dougherty also collaborates with researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language on projects related to language and working memory.

The DAM Students

The DAM Lab currently has K graduate students, J post doc, and P undergraduate research assistants.

David Ampofo (PhD expected 2020, Psychology). David started out at UMD working in an animal neuroscience lab but now finds himself working in a completely different area of cognition. David is currently working on novel research examining stress mindset, stereotype threat, and math ability.

Rose Nguyen (PhD expected 2020, Psychology). Rose is the newest member of the DAM lab, and quite likely has the most unique background of current DAM lab members. Rose started out doing something meaningful as a social worker and then as a research assistant in a clinical neuroscience lab before losing her way and joining the DAM lab. Rose is also the lab optimist, which is something the rest of us are trying fix. Rose's research is in judgment, decision making, and memory. [UPDATE: Rose was selected as a recipient of the prestigious NSF-GRFP award.]

Alison Robey (PhD 2017, Psychology; Post Doctoral student 2017-present). Alison is a recent addition to the lab, having transferred over from the developmental program, and is a perfect fit due to her disillusionment in psychology. Alison's main focus is on identifying and testing educational applications based on cognitive theory. Her recent projects entail trying to figure out why retrospective confidence judgments are better predictors of future recall than having people predict future recall and identifying individual differences in the testing effect.

Joe Tidwell (PhD 2017, Psychology). Joe splits time between the DAM lab and working with Tom Wallsten on forecasting problems. An expert story teller and a master of distraction, Joe's "that reminds me of the time" memory is legendary, as are his quant skills, which he uses mostly for good rather than evil. In the DAM lab, Joe has been a major driving force (along with Jeff) in developing an R package for the General Monotone Model. He has also developed a Bayesian implementation of the SDRM model for metacognitive judgments and has been a major contributor on various projects critiquing statistical methodology within psychology.

Jeff Chrabaszcz (PhD 2016, Neuroscience and Cognitive Science). Jeff is formally in the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science program rather than Psychology. Jeff is a man of many talents, ranging from beard growing (and occassionally trimming) to modeling (with math). Jeff is known within the Psychology department as the resident expert at R programming. He's also adept as statistical modeling and basically anything else he puts his mind to. He does not speak Russian, though. His work in the DAM lab ranges from decision making to various research projects on statistical modeling, working memory training (it doens't work), and programming the R package for the General Monotone Model. Jeff is currently on post doc at Carnegie Mellon University.

Dan Buttaccio (Former Post doctoral student). Dan received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Okahoma in 2013, and has since worked as a post doctoral student in the DAM lab. Aside from having the best hair in the lab, Dan is also an excellent experimental psychologist with a knack for coming up with creative experiments. He also has an amazing appetite for data, and can be found in the lab either creating new experiments or collecting data 7-days week in most weeks. Dan's work runs the gamut from computational modeling and visual attention to memory and decision making.