Avila University


Cognition Laboratory

The Cognition Lab at Avila is a collaborative research lab for both undergraduate and graduate students interested in cognition and research. Students in the lab are prepared for PhD programs and research careers. For more information on the lab and to request an application to join the lab, please contact Dr. Wagge.


Jordan Wagge, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Office: Foyle 1021, 816.501.2964

Hi, I’m Dr. Wagge and I run the lab with the help of my graduate assistants (Alfred Hoppert and Teresa Huff for 2014-2015). I am currently most interested in the embodied perception of food, particularly how evolutionary processes may contribute to food perceptions. I am also interested in misinformation and the backfire effect, specifically related to political and/or scientific beliefs and learning environments. I’ve been at Avila University and Kansas City since 2009 and love where I teach and live. I live with my husband, two cats, two dogs, and son, and we love exploring the city on weekends, watching geeky shows on Netflix, and miniature golf.

Stephanie Farebrother, MS  


I graduated with a Masters of Science from Avila in 2013. I am currently working on my first semester of lab research as a postgraduate. The area of research that interests me is food, and the effects it has on both health and the brain. I plan on pursuing a PhD in the future, along with teaching at the collegiate level. One of my favorite past times is hiking and one of my goals is to hike a 14er in Colorado.

Alfred Hoppert  


Hello, I’m Alfred Hoppert and I have been in the cognition lab since spring 2014. I am interested in embodiment, but more specifically perception and social cues that impact embodied cognition. My favorite scientists are Michael Gazzaniga, and Vilayanur S. Ramachandran. I also have a fictional role model, which is Sherlock Holmes.


Deborah Hoss  


I’ve been at Avila since fall 2012 and am on course to graduate in May 2015 with a MS in Psychology.  I plan to pursue a PhD in cognition.   My research interests are in the areas of embodied cognition, positive psychology, neuroscience and emotions.  I love to write and look forward to writing on these subjects for scientific journals as well as the popular media and I actually can’t wait to begin teaching Psychology 101!

Annie Hounnoukpe  


I’m Annie Hounnoukpe and I have been a student in the Psychology Master’s Program at Avila University since fall 2013 and have been working in the lab since summer 2014. I am interested in how culture affects cognition, specifically language development.  I am particularly interested in how bilingualism affects the way people perceive the world and its effects on cognition. I have always been fascinated about how people can view the world differently based on their culture, and I look forward to doing research on this in the future. One day, I hope to apply this research and everything I have learned during my program when working overseas after moving to my husband’s home country in West Africa.

Teresa Huff, MA  


I'm Teresa Huff and I have been working in the cognition lab since summer 2013. Currently, my research focuses on locus of control and religiosity and how those influence our perceptions and judgments about life events. Overall, I'm quite interested in how our beliefs form and how they impact our decisions and attitudes. I hope to continue my studies in social-cognition work in a PhD program next fall. For fun away from the lab, I enjoy walking/hiking the trails around KC and enjoying lunch or coffee with friends.


Nicole Mathis  

I’m Nicole Mathis and I joined the cognition lab in fall 2014. I am an undergraduate student working towards a bachelor’s degree in psychology. While enrolled in Dr. Wagge’s research methods class, I became interested in gaining research experience and pursuing potential career paths related to research. My areas of interest currently include behaviorism and embodied cognition. In my free time I love to sew, play volleyball, and be outside with my two chocolate labs. 

Chris Mavis  


I've been at Avila for both my undergraduate and graduate career starting in fall 2009 for undergraduate and moving on to graduate studies in summer 2014.  I've been a part of the lab since spring 2010.  Evolutionary psychology is my main area of interest as well as embodied cognition.  I also enjoy working with computers, primarily building but also some basic coding.  In my free time, I play piano, reading up on politics and religion, and photography.

Maria Wright  


I am in the MS in General Psychology program at Avila University.  While taking my courses, I became attracted to the field of cognitive processes have been involved with Dr. Wagge’s cognition lab since spring 2014, where I have been gaining experience in the research process.  My recent interest in research has inspired my future plans to apply to graduate school to obtain a PhD in Neuropsychology, specifically focusing on areas of mindfulness and recovery from TBI.  Inquisitive in nature, I love to learn about a variety of subjects including learning the art of self-sustainability with my husband and son on our small hobby farm.