Cognition in Context Lab

About Our Lab

Welcome to the Cognition and Context Lab, a collaborative lab mentored by Professors  Wythe Whiting and Karla Murdock. The lab investigates associations among technology use, aspects of health and well-being (e.g., sleep), and cognitive functioning (e.g., attention).

The Cognition in Context Lab is recruiting adolescent / parent dyads for a new study. Each participant earns $25 ($50 per family).

For more information, contact the lab at:
or call (540) 458-8248.

The purpose of this study is to investigate technology use, sleep patterns, and attentional functioning among adolescents and their parents. Participation involves two assessments, which are separated by three days. Each assessment is expected to last for 45 – 60 minutes. Several measures will be collected during the study including physiological response (e.g., heart rate) that will be recorded while participants completie a series of computer tasks. Participants will complete an online survey and also provide information about their technology use by installing an application on their cellphones for three days of the study. In order to assess adolescents’ sleep patterns, they will be fitted with a wristband that measures their physical activity and they will be asked to respond to a few items in a sleep diary each night and each morning for three days. Each of these measures will help to clarify how the context of adolescents’ and parents’ functioning may be related to their health-promoting behaviors and cognitive performance.

Principle Investigators

Karla Murdock, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology trained in clinical psychology. Her research broadly focuses on associations between stressors and health across development. Her Technology and Health Lab investigates cellphone use, sleep, and indicators of health and well-being.

Wythe Whiting, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology trained in cognitive psychology. His Cognition and Aging Lab investigates how factors such as neural noise affect the attentional performance of older adults.


Lab Members

Alyssa Bower (Class of 2019) is a junior neuroscience major from Dallas, Texas. She has enjoyed working in the Technology and Health Lab and looks forward to participating in future research endeavors in psychology and neuroscience in her last two years at Washington and Lee University.

Katherine Richard (Class 2019) is a junior psychology major from Kennebunk, Maine. She is enjoying living in Lexington and attending Washington and Lee, and is looking forward to continuing research in psychology. She is especially interested in the interaction between physiological processes and cognitive and emotional experiences.















Elisabeth Balistreri (Class of 2018) is a senior psychology major and poverty & human capabilities studies minor from Mequon, Wisconsin. She is planning on pursuing a career in clinical psychology with an emphasis on research after she graduates this Spring. She is especially interested in how psychological research can be used to inform and influence policy decisions.

Ravenel Harrigan (Class of 2018) is a senior psychology major and art history minor from Richmond, Virginia. She is planning to go to graduate school for clinical psychology after graduating and gaining more work and research experience. Ravenel is interested in clinical therapy, particularly for families with members who have developmental issues.

Yolanda Yang (Class of 2018) is a senior psychology/politics major from Tianjin, China. She is excited to join the Technology and Health Lab and looking forward to participating in more future research in psychology. She is especially interested in clinical psychology and developmental psychology in cross-cultural settings.

Mary-Frances Hall (Class of 2018) is a senior Neuroscience major from Elkin, North Carolina. Following graduation in the spring, she is planning to attend medical school. She’s very excited to have joined the Technology and Health Lab and is looking forward to gaining experience within the area of psychology research in her last year at Washington and Lee University.