Human Factors and Applied Cognition
PsychologyThe College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Matthew S. Peterson

Matthew S. Peterson

Matthew S. Peterson

Director of the MA Program

Associate Professor

Visual attention, eye movements, working memory, attentional control, brain plasticity, and cognitive training

Dr. Peterson is an Associate Professor in the Human Factors and Applied Cognition and the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience divisions of the Department of Psychology, as well as a member of the Neuroscience Ph.D. program. His research is on visual attention and related areas, such as eye movements, working memory, multitasking, and visual cognition. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas followed by postdoctoral training in psychophysiology at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

His articles have appeared in numerous scholarly journals, such as Psychological Science, Cognition, Perception and Psychophysics, and Cerebral Cortex. Additionally, his work has been cited in The Wall Street Journal, Science Daily, and The Atlantic Monthly. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the United States Army, and the United States Air Force.

He currently serves as the director of the human factors and applied cognition concentration of the MA in psychology and consulting editor of Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Current Research

Dr. Peterson's research centers around the interaction between attention, working memory, and eye movements.

Recent projects include exploring the effects of training and brain-stimulation on working memory and attention, to using EEG to measure the effects of grouping on working memory capacity.

Selected Publications

Azarian, S.B., Peterson, M.S., & Esser, E. (in press). Evidence from the eyes: Threatening postures hold attention. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Bansal, S., Bray, L.J., Peterson, M.S., Joiner, W.M. (2015, in press) The Effect of Saccade Metrics on the Corollary Discharge Contribution to Perceived Eye Location. Journal of Neurophysiology

Blumberg, E.J., Peterson, M.S., & Parasuraman, R. (2015, in press) Enhancing Multiple Object Tracking Performance with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation; A Causal Role for the Anterior Intraparietal Sulcus. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience

Blumberg, E. J., Foroughi, C. K, Scheldrup, M. R., Peterson, M. S., Boehm-Davis, D. A., & Parasuraman, R (2015, in press) Reducing the Disruptive Effects of Interruptions with Noninvasive Brain Stimulation. Human Factors

Azarian, S.B., Esser, E., & Peterson, M.S.  (2015). Watch out! Directional threat-related postures cue attention and the eyes. Cognition and Emotion

Wong, J.H., & Peterson, M.S (2013). What we remember affects how we see: Spatial working memory steers saccade programming. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 73(6), 1768-1779.

Expanded Publication List

  1. Wong, J.H., & Peterson, M.S (2011). The interaction between memorized objects and abrupt onsets in oculomotor capture. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. 73(6), 1768-1779
  1. Peterson, M.S., & Beck, M.R. (2011). Eye movements and memory. in I. Gilchrist & S. Everling (Eds.) Oxford Handbook on Eye Movements. Oxford, England.
  1. Werner, N.E., Cades, D.M., Boehm-Davis, D.A., Peterson, M.S., Alothman, S. J., & Zhang, X. (2010). Individual differences in resuming interrupted tasks. Washington Academy of Sciences, 96, 3, 35-49.
  1. Beck, M.R., Angelone, B.L., Levin, D.T., Peterson, M.S., & Varakin, A. (2008). Implicit learning for probable changes in a visual change detection task. Consciousness and Cognition. 17, 1192-1208.
  1. Wong, J. H., Peterson, M.S., & Thompson, J.C. (2008). Visual working memory capacity for objects from different categories: A face-specific maintenance effect. Cognition, 108, 719-731.
  1. Peterson, M.S., Beck, M.R., & Wong, J. H. (2008). Were you paying attention to where you looked? The role of executive working memory in visual search. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15, 372–377.
  1. Bherer, L., Kramer, A.F., Peterson, M.S., Colcombe, S., Erickson, K. & Becic, E. (2008). Transfer effects in task-set cost and dual-task cost after dual-task training in older and younger adults: Further evidence for cognitive plasticity in attentional control in late adulthood. Experimental Aging Research., 34, 188-209.
  1. Wong, J. H., Peterson, M. S., & Hillstrom, A. P. (2007). Are changes in semantic and structural information sufficient for oculomotor capture? Journal of Vision, 7(12):3, 1-10,, doi:10.1167/7.12.3.
  1. Beck, M.R., Peterson, M.S., & Angelone, B. L. (2007). The roles of encoding, retrieval, and awareness in change detection. Memory and Cognition, 34, 610-620.
  1. Erickson, K. I., Colcombe, S. J., Wadhwa, R., Bherer, L., Peterson, M. S., Scalf, P., Kim, J. S., Alvarado, M., & Kramer, A. F. (2007). Training-induced functional activation changes in dual-task processing: an fMRI study. Cerebral Cortex, 17, 192-204.
  1. Erickson, K. I., Colcombe, S. J., Wadhwa, R., Bherer, L., Peterson, M. S., Scalf, P., Kim, J. S., Alvarado, M., & Kramer, A. F. (2007). Training-induced plasticity in older adults: effects of training on hemispheric asymmetry. Neurobiology of Aging, 28, 272-83.
  1. Peterson, M.S., Beck, M.R., & Vomela, M. (2007) Visual search is guided by prospective and retrospective memory. Perception and Psychophysics, 69(1), 123-135.
  1. Bherer, L., Kramer, A.F., Peterson, M.S., Colcombe, S.J., Erickson, K.I., & Becic, E. (2006). Testing the limits of cognitive plasticity in older adults: Application to attentional control. Acta Psychologica, 123(3). 261-78.
  1. Beck, M., Peterson, M.S., & Vomela, M. (2006). Memory for where, but not what, is remembered during visual search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 32, 235-250.
  1. McCarley, J. S., Kramer, A. F., Boot, W. R., Peterson, M.S., Wang, R. F., & Irwin, D.E. (2006) Oculomotor behavior and attentional strategies during visual search for multiple targets. Visual Cognition. 14, 685-703.
  1. Beck, M.R., Peterson, M.S., Boot, W.R., Vomela, M., & Kramer, A.F. (2006). Explicit memory for rejected distractors in visual search. Visual Cognition, 14, 2, 150-174.
  1. Kramer, A.F, Boot, W. R., McCarley, J.S., Peterson, M.S., Colcombe, A.F., & Scialfa, C. T. (2006). Aging, memory, and visual search. Acta Psychologica, 122, 288-304.
  1. Bherer, L., Kramer, A. F., Peterson, M., Colcombe, S.J., Erickson, K.I., & Becic, E. (2005). Training effects on dual-task performance: Are there age-related differences in plasticity of attentional control? Psychology & Aging, 20, 695-709.
  1. Erickson, K. I., Colcombe, S. J., Wadhwa, R., Bherer, L., Peterson, M. S., Scalf, P., Kramer, A. F. (2005). The neural correlates of dual-task performance after minimizing effects of task-preparation. Neuroimage, 28, 967-979.
  1. Belopolsky, A., Peterson, M. S., & Kramer, A. F., (2005). Visual search in temporally segregated displays: Converging operations in the study of the preview benefit. Cognitive Brain Research, 24, 453-466.

italic = students and post-docs under my supervision

Grants and Fellowships

"Electroencephalography (EEG) Feedback In Rapid Decision-Making" - Army Research Office

Recent Presentations

Peterson, M.S. (November 2014). Human Factors, Neuroergonomics, and Visual Search. Vision Sciences Problems in Medical Imaging: Workshop sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NIH). Rockville, MD.

Bansal, S., Bray, L.C., Peterson, M.S., & Joiner, W.M. (November 2014). The contribution of corollary discharge to perceived eye location for different movement orientations and amplitudes. Neuroscience 2014. Washington, DC.

Foroughi, C.K., Blumberg, E.J., Scheldrup, M.R., Peterson, M.S., Parasuraman, R., & Boehm-Davis, D.B. (April 2014). Exploring the Relationship between the DLPFC and Task Resumption with tDCS. 2014 Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Boston, MA.

Rabbit, L.R., McDonald, C. G., & Peterson, M.S. (April 2014). Encoding Objects as a Configural Representation Increases Spatial Working Memory Capacity. 2014 Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Boston, MA.

Blumberg, E. J., Kidwell, B. D., Peterson, M. S., & Parasuraman, R. (April 2014). Improving multiple object tracking performance by stimulating the anterior intraparietal sulcus. 2014 Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. Boston, MA.

Peterson, M.S., Blumberg, E.J., & Sachdeva, S. (November 2013). Eye Movements Delay Passive Spatial Working Memory Tasks. Talked presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Toronoto, ON.

Azarian, S., Esser, E., Green, T., & Peterson, M. S. (October 2013). The eyes don't lie: Fearful averted postures cue attention. Neuroscience 2013.

Dissertations Supervised

Yi-Fang D. Tsai, The Effects of Working Memory Capacity on Workload and Task (2011)

Brian Falcone, Simultaneous tDCS and fMRI Reveals How Brain Stimulation Enhances Complex Perceptual Learning Through Modulation of Task-Relevant Networks (2015)

Eric Blumberg, Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Modulates Performance in Challenging Situations (2016)