- Priority Area: Advancing STEM Diversity
- Disciplines: Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology
- Mentor’s Name: Dr. Kimele Persaud
- Mentor’s Discipline: Cognitive Psychology, Episodic Memory
- School: School of Arts and Sciences–Newark (SASN)
- Department: Psychology
About Carla Macias
Dr. Carla Macias' research lies at the intersection of computational methods and cognitive psychology. More specifically, her research surrounds cognitive development and how children and adults use their expectations about the world to guide their attention and memory. Dr. Macias continuously explores how learners decide what information to attend to, keep track of, and encode from their environment for later use. In her dissertation, she used behavioral methods to examine how expectation-violating events impact learning outcomes in children and adults. As a Rutgers Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Memory and Computational Cognitive lab at Rutgers–Newark, she intends to further explore the underlying cognitive processes that guide and facilitate better memory for different kinds of expectation-related information (e.g., expectation-violating information) by using both behavioral assessments and computational approaches. In doing so, she hopes to better understand the different factors that contribute to and explain when and why learners better remember different kinds of expectation-related information. Additionally, Dr. Macias is a DEI champion, having worked with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at Rutgers University and having been the co-founder of the Black in Psych Organization and other notable groups. She aims to adjust the curriculum for the Rutgers-Newark undergraduate course, Cognitive Processes, to be more inclusive in terms of its selected readings and utilized research samples. Dr. Macias received her Ph.D. in Developmental Cognitive Psychology from Rutgers University-Newark. She also participated in multiple fellowship programs, including the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the Rutgers Deans Dissertation Fellowship.