Christopher A. Sanchez, Ph.D.












  • I am always looking for both undergraduate and graduate students to work in my lab. If you are interested in working in my lab as an undergraduate research assistant or Ph.D. student (or would like more information), please feel free to contact me! Please understand that lab positions are competitive, and there is no guarantee of availability in a given term.

  • I am teaching the following course in the Winter '19 term.
    • PSY 301: Research Methods



I was born in Elgin, IL (just northwest of Chicago) and completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2001. Later that same year, I began graduate school (also at the University of Illinois at Chicago) working with Dr. Jennifer Wiley in the Cognitive Psychology program. After graduating, I accepted a position at Arizona State University in the Cognitive Science and Engineering program, where I was promoted to Associate Professor in the Spring of 2012. Starting Fall 2012, I accepted a position at Oregon State University, where I currently serve as an Associate Professor in the School of Psychological Science.

I have several hobbies, including hiking, playing the guitar, video games, and golf to name a few. I am also an ardent baseball and football fan.



My research falls broadly into 2 categories: (1) basic research focusing on cognitive abilities and performance in complex domains, and (2) the human factors of using/designing technology.

For example, I am interested in how individuals' visuospatial and attentional abilities influence how people learn in complex domains such as STEM areas . I use this kind of information to determine different ways to present information to learners of different abilities, so that they understand the material as best as possible. I believe that cognitive abilities not only dictate what, but also how, we learn, and naturally are integral to the process of designing learning environments that maximize all individuals' learning potential.

Similarly, I am also interested in the design of interfaces and how software and hardware interact to affect end usage. Given the increasing integration of technology into our daily lives, I feel it is imperative to have an appropriate understanding of what these technologies enable us to do (and not do) well. These issues must be investigated through quality research and the application of appropriate theory to improve and refine the final product and overall design process.

While pursuing these lines of research, I have employed several different methodologies as a researcher, including think-aloud protocols, standard behavioral paradigms, advanced statistical modeling techniques, and also eyetracking.


selected/recent publications

For a complete list of my publications, please click HERE

Selected recent publications: (* = student co-author)

De Amicis, R., Riggio, M., *Badr, A.S., Fick, J., Sanchez, C.A., & *Prather, E.  (in press). Cross-reality environments in smart buildings to advance STEM cyberlearning.  International Journal on Interactive Design and Manufacturing.

*Pham, H., & Sanchez, C.A.  (in press).  Text segment length can impact emotional reactions to narrative storytelling.  Discourse Processes. pdf

Sanchez, C.A., & *Naylor, J.S. (2018).  Mind wandering while reading a science text not only reduces learning but also increases content misunderstandings. Journal of Applied Research in Memory & Cognition, 7, 332-341. pdf

*Gunye, A., De Amicis, R., Simões, B., Sanchez, C.A. & Demirel, H.O.  (2018).  Graphically hearing: Enhancing understanding of geospatial data through an integrated auditory and visual experience.  IEEE Computer Graphics & Applications, 38, 18-26. pdf

*Naylor, J.S. & Sanchez, C.A.  (2018).  Smartphone display size influences attitudes toward information consumed on small devices.  Social Science Computer Review, 36, 251-260.  pdf

*Naylor, J.S, & Sanchez, C.A.  (2018).  Can reading time predict mind wandering in expository text? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 32, 278-284. pdf

Sanchez, C.A. & *Naylor, J.S. (2018). Disfluent presentations lead to the creation of more false memories. PLoS One, 13, e0191735. pdf

Sanchez, C.A., & *Khan, S.  (2016).  Disfluent instructor accents in online education and their effect on learning and attitudes towards instruction. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 32, 494-502. pdf

Sanchez, C.A. (2016).  Differently confident: Susceptibility to bias in perceptual judgments of size interacts with working memory capacity. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 78, 1174-1185. pdf

Sanchez, C.A., Ruddell, B.L., Schiesser, R., & Merwade, V.  (2016).  Enhancing the T-shaped learning profile when teaching hydrology using data, modeling, and visualization activities.  Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 20, 1289-1299. pdf


ACTUAL Laboratory

I also head the Applied Cognitive Theory, Usability and Learning (ACTUAL) laboratory at OSU. The goal of the ACTUAL lab is to use the principles of cognitive psychology to effectively design and evaluate learning environments, human interfaces and the overall design process. The ACTUAL lab is located in Reed Lodge.

Current projects being conducted within the ACTUAL Lab:

  • cognitive abilities and learning science
    how do relevant visuospatial and attentional abilities impact the construction of mental models for science understanding?  Should this change or affect how we instruct these learners?
  • video game training of cognitive abilities
    can video game training produce durable and robust training of cognitive abilities, and does this training transfer to relevant tasks?
  • usability of mobile devices and technology
    does being 'on the go' always equal an accurate awareness of a situation? How can technology help us realize enhanced cognitive and perceptual performance?
  • creativity and design
    what is creativity and how can we encourage designers to produce novel or impactful solutions?
  • virtual collaboration
    what are the characteristics of effective tools for collaborating  and disseminating knowledge in virtual spaces?


ACTUAL Lab alumni: Steven Banas, M.S.; Tegan Garland, M.S., James (Zach) Goolsbee, M.S., Jamie Naylor, M.S.; Jerome Sinocruz, M.S.

Current Undergraduate Research Assistants: (Winter '19)
 Tyler Ashby, Sabrina Blancarte, Amanda Crawford, Madison Gebhardt, Lena Hildenbrand, Alyssa Johnson, Rachel McWilliams, Dakota Millak, Tyler Read, Zosia Roberts

Past Undergraduate Research Assistants:

Chelsea Ahart, Zoe Alley, Nathan Bauer, Taylor Beecher, Joanna Bikman, Adrienne Boggess, Elizabeth Brothers, Russell Clark, Olivia Calvallo, Daniel Cossey, Laura Dawson, Kelly Downes, Amanda Elson, Lexi Gauthier, Pedro Gutierrez, Samantha Hicks, Kristina Hoffman, Issac Nicholas Hong, Gregory Jackson, Kadie Kakumitsu, Harpreet Kaur, Safia Khan, Jennifer LaFlesch, Shaun Lobsinger, Kyle Lindgard, Jason Mamangon, Michael McDougal, Mason McDowell, Dysia Nieters, Kathleen Nottingham, Chloe Okamoto, Kishan Patel, Hellen Pham, Courtney Powell, Amber Robins, Alyssa Reid, Sabrina Santarossa, Lisa Thew, Jessica Voge, Samantha Van Doren, Elissa Webb, Karah Weber, Taylor Wolgamott, Stacy Yen-Lin Sim


Please note that these classes are not offered every term.  If you are interested in what I am teaching in the current or upcoming term, please see the announcements above.

PSY 301: Research Methods: This core course is designed to expose students to the myriad of research methodologies employed by psychologists. Students gain experience by conducting their own research projects.

PSY 340: Cognition: This course provides a broad survey of the field of cognitive psychology, including aspects of memory, language, neurophysiology, problem solving, and reasoning.

PSY 440: Perception: This course provides a broad look at how humans sense and perceive information from the environment across the range of senses.

PSY 444: Learning and Memory: This course provides an in-depth look at how people process and store information for later use, including aspects of theory and development.

PSY 401: Supervised research:  This is the course number if you would like to gain relevant experience in a psychological lab as an undergraduate research assistant.  For every hour of credit you enroll for, you are expected to contribute 3 hours of time working in the lab.  This course is highly recommended for those interested in pursuing graduate school.

PSY 499: Human-Computer Interaction: This course is designed to explore how humans interact with various technologies and how this interaction can be quantified and improved to maximize performance.

PSY 599: Intelligence: This course explores the notion of what 'intelligence' is, and what it means to exhibit 'intelligent behavior'. It considers issues of how to assess intelligence, and apply this knowledge to understanding performance.



relevant OSU links:


Dr. Christopher A. Sanchez, Associate Professor, School of Psychological Science, Oregon State University

2950 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR 97331

Phone: 541.737.4837

Last updated: 01.30.2019
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