Cog Sci Lab


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

E: jared.branch

Cognitive Science Lab

Members of the Cog Sci Lab at Avila University study the psychology of climate change as well as the relationship of memory and imagination. We answer these questions using the methods of psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, and other fields of cognitive science.

Current Lab Projects

  • Read about some of the work our lab is doing here
  • Counterfactual thinking about climate change
  • Autobiographical Counterfactual Thinking Scale (Data Collection via Hanover)
  • Individual differences in counterfactual thinking



Branch, J.G. (2023). Individual differences in the frequency of voluntary & involuntary episodic memories, future thoughts, and counterfactual thoughts. Psychological Research.


Branch, J.G et al., (2022). Learning in COVID. Poster presented at Avila University Student Scholar Day. Kansas City, Missouri.


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. (PDF)


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 an assistant professor of psychology. My main research interest is the relationship of memory and imagination, specifically counterfactual thinking, or how we think about events that could have but did not happen. I am interested in studying counterfactual thinking in everyday life, how counterfactual thinking is distinct from but related to memory and future thinking, individual differences in counterfactual thinking, and counterfactual thinking about climate change.


  • 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

Current Students

Quinn Austin

I am a graduate student in the psychology master’s program, with concentrations in research and mental health. I graduated from the University of Kansas in 2020 with a BA in Psychology. My thesis explores the relationship between sports performance, confidence, and counterfactual thinking.

Holly France

I am currently a graduate student in the psychology master’s program with a research concentration. I received a B.S. degree from Bradley University majoring in psychology and music. My thesis explores music-evoked autobiographical memories within and outside of the reminiscence bump.

Shamita Mahajan

I am a graduate student in the psychology master’s 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. My thesis explores counterfactual thinking in everyday life and its relationship to social media use and other individual differences.

Gina Pace

I am a graduate student studying in the psychology master’s program with a research concentration. I graduated from Fontbonne University in St. Louis with a BS in Psychology and a minor in biology. My thesis explores how we think about past and future experiences of fearful events distinct from negative and positive memories and future thoughts.

Jason Phelps

I am a graduate student pursuing a master’s in counseling psychology with a research concentration. 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. My thesis explores the relationship between self-efficacy, self compassion, and counterfactual thinking.

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 complete this form.

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