Cog Sci Lab


Department of Cognitive Science, Foyle Hall, Second Floor
11901 Wornall Road / Kansas City, MO 64145


Cognitive Science Laboratory at Avila University

Members of the Cog Sci Lab at Avila University seek to better understand the mind by asking questions about memory, mental time travel, counterfactual thinking, and pedagogy. We answer these questions using the methods of psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, and other fields of cognitive science. You can learn more about the degree program here.

Current Lab Projects

  • Virtual learning during COVID-19
  • Individual differences in mental time travel (Data collection via Psychological Research on the Net)
  • Individual differences in critical thinking


Branch, J.G. & Zickar, M.J. (2021). Mental time travel into the episodic future, episodic past, and episodic counterfactual past in everyday life. Applied Cognitive Psychology.


Branch, J.G. & Dubow, E.F. (2020). Research experience in recitation sections within introductory psychology courses: The effectiveness of a semester-long laboratory component. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology. Advance online publication. (PDF)

Meet Our Lab

Principal Investigator

Jared Branch, Ph.D.

I am a visiting assistant professor of cognitive science at Avila University, and I am interested in studying mental time travel, pedagogy, and replication. My research makes use of several methods of cognitive science, including psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience, in that order.


  • Ph.D., Experimental Psychology, Bowling Green State University, 2020
  • M.A., Experimental Psychology, Bowling Green State University, 2017
  • B.S., Psychology, University of Utah, 2008

Graduate Students

Quinn Austin

I am a graduate student in the MSP program, with concentrations in research and mental health. I graduated from the University of Kansas in 2020 with a BA in Psychology. I have not chosen a specific area of interest yet, but I’m keeping an open mind while working with my classmates and professors to identify a topic that inspires me.

Holly France

I am currently a graduate student in the M.S. in Psychology program with a Research concentration. I received a B.S. degree from Bradley University majoring in Psychology and Music. My research interests include the effect of sound on memory and attention.

Shamita Mahajan

I am a graduate student in the MSCP program with a passion to work with and researching issues relating to adolescents and young adults. Although I have a broad range of research interests, I am currently looking into researching how being permanently connected by digital technology impacts the memories and emotions of young people today. I am interested to know how memories and emotions of today’s youth are different from previous generations as a result of the constant reminders on digital media of every event, good or bad, that has happened in their lives.

Gina Pace

I am a graduate student studying for an MS in Psychology focusing on the research track. I graduated from Fontbonne University in St. Louis with a BS in Psychology and a minor in biology. My interest in research is how fear impacts memory and I am especially interested in exploring the use of virtual reality in a research context.

Jason Phelps

I am a graduate student pursuing an MS in Counseling Psychology. I graduated from Tabor College with a BA in Religious Studies, as well as Nazarene Theological Seminary with an M. Div. My research interests are in learning, critical/reflective thinking, and transformative learning contexts.

Undergraduate Students

Dale Clark

Hi! My name is Dale; my research interests lie mainly in mental illnesses and how they are expressed by musicians, painters, etc., but I am also interested in advancements in AI and how they parallel humans.

Lauren Cotton

I am a junior majoring in Cognitive Science. A bookworm at heart, I love reading about neurology and all wellness practices. My research interests include interpersonal neurobiology and the future of therapeutic modalities expanding scientifically and creatively.

Lab Alumni

Shelby Phillips

My research interests include human-computer interactions, areas in social psychology that are affected by these interactions, also most recent research about addiction.

We’re Actively Recruiting Lab Students

photo of head bust print artwork

Motivated undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to join Avila’s Cog Sci laboratory.

As a member of the laboratory, you will gain experience designing research projects, collecting and analyzing data, and writing in APA style.

If you’re interested in joining the lab, please email Dr Branch.

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