Associate Professor of Psychology, New Mexico State University
Hello, and welcome to my website. I’m an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at New Mexico State University. I am the director of the Vision Sciences and Memory Laboratory in the Psychology Department, and co-director (alongside Dr. Phillip Post) of the multi-disciplinary Addison Care Virtual and Augmented Reality Laboratory.
My research interests fall under the broad heading of visual cognition, including research into visual attention and memory, and computational models of both. My other research interests include (but are not limited to): development of alternative methods for multidimensional scaling, similarity as a psychological construct, working memory, and spoken word perception. My primary work focuses on memory and attention, with an emphasis on human visual processing. In my research, I employ converging techniques; specifically, I combine standard behavioral measurements (e.g., reaction time, similarity ratings) with more sensitive experimental techniques (e.g., eyetracking, tDCS), physiological indexes (e.g., pupillometry, heart rate), advanced statistical procedures (e.g., multidimensional scaling), virtual reality, and computational modeling. My immediate goals involve conducting theory-driven experiments that investigate decision-making in visual search, with the long-term aim of establishing computational models of the underlying cognitive processes. This theoretical aim is coupled with more applied goals, in particular learning how to alleviate problems that plague professional visual searchers, such as medical and security screeners, and search and rescue personnel.
As a professor, I balance my time between research, teaching, and service. In my labs, we have a state of the art eye-tracker, several banks of testing computers, and the resources to collect data from undergraduates at NMSU and from members of the public. We also employ touch screen monitors, virtual reality headsets, mobile eye-tracking, and transcranial direct current stimuliation. I currently have six graduate students working under my mentorship (see below for current lab members and the alumni tab for previous lab members). My research is highly collaborative; I have collaborations within NMSU (both inside and outside of the Psychology department), in institutions around the US (e.g., Harvard Medical School, Arizona State University) and several abroad (e.g., the University of Southampton, the University of Sussex). I regularly publish my work in peer-reviewed journals.
My regular teaching load is divided across undergraduate and graduate classes, and includes courses such as quantitative methods in psychology, research methods, memory, cognition, sensation and perception, history and systems, and others. I am also the Associate Director of the College of Art’s and Sciences Discovery Scholars Program. I regularly provide service to the scientific community. I am a journal reviewer for a great many different scientific peer-reviewed outlets, a Consulting Editor for the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, and an Associate Editor at Attention, Perception & Psychophysics. I contribute to popular science magazines (e.g., Scientific American), I was twice a co-organizer for an international psychology conference (the Object Perception, Attention and Memory meeting), and I make a concerted effort to share my work with other researchers. This involves the creation of databases that can be used in experimental psychology, and the sharing of many of my software programs.
If you are interested in collaborative research, or in becoming a graduate student or research assistant in my lab, please feel free to contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Short bio and lab funding
Michael C. Hout (Lab Director): I attended the University of Pittsburgh for my undergraduate degree, in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. There, I received a BS in Psychology, with a minor in Neuroscience. In 2006 I moved to Tempe, AZ to attend Arizona State University, where I received my MA and PhD in Psychology, working under Dr. Stephen Goldinger. Currently, the majority of my time is spent happily working toward various academic endeavors, as you might have guessed. However, when not dedicating my time to academics, I remain very active and have a wide range of interests. I’ve played ice and roller hockey since I was 8 years old, including four years for the University of Pittsburgh, and two seasons for the Phoenix Dragons in the American Inline Hockey League (AIHL). Now, I play just recreational roller hockey. Aside from hockey, I enjoy running, and have completed several charity runs (several 10K races, three half-marathons, and some shorter runs). I enjoy spending time with my dog, cycling, hiking, swimming, and skating. I also spend a great deal of time reading or playing chess, and I enjoy traveling.