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Christopher A. Sanchez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Psychological Science
Oregon State University
2950 SW Jefferson Way
Reed Lodge, #221
Corvallis, OR 97331
Fax: 1.541.737.3547
Email: christopher.sanchez@oregonstate.edu


newI am currently accepting both undergraduate and graduate students to work in my lab. If you are interested in working in my lab as a research assistant or MAIS student (or would like more information), please feel free to contact me!

newFall '14 Classes: I am teaching the following classes in the Fall term.

    -PSY 340: Cognition, CRN: 17594
    -PSY 444: Learning & Memory, CRN: 19889

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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 Assistant Professor in the School of Psychological Science.

I have several hobbies, all of which require more money or time than I can often spare. These include things such as hiking, playing the guitar, video games, and golf to name a few. I am also an ardent baseball and football fan.

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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, on the more basic side, I am interested in how individuals' spatial and attentional abilities influence how people perform in complex domains such as science learning and analytical reasoning. 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 use of smaller, more mobile, technologies, 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.

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.

If you are interested in becoming an undergraduate research assistant, or are considering applying to graduate school here at OSU, please contact me using the information above.

Current Sponsored Research Projects


Collaborative Research: Attention, (re)action, and perception: Measuring presence in collaborative virtual environments. 04/01/2011-03/31/2014 (co-PI; PI: M. Montoya).


Collaborative Research: Cyber laboratory for integrating GIS into hydrology curriculum. 09/01/2011-08/31/2013 (co-PI; PI: B. Ruddell).

Selected recent publications: (for a complete list of publications, please click HERE)

Sanchez, C.A., & Jaeger, A.J.  (in press).  If it’s hard to read, it changes how long you do it: Reading time as an explanation for perceptual fluency effects on judgment.  Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.

Sanchez, C.A., & Wiley, J.  (2014).  The role of dynamic spatial ability in geoscience text comprehension.  Learning and Instruction, 31, 33-45. pdf

Garland, T.B., & Sanchez, C.A.  (2013).  Rotational perspective and learning procedural tasks from dynamic media.  Computers & Education, 69, 31-37. pdf

Banas, S. & Sanchez, C.A.  (2012).  Working memory capacity and learning underlying conceptual relationships across multiple documents.  Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26(4), 594-600.  pdf

Sanchez, C.A.  (2012).  Enhancing visuospatial performance through video game training to increase learning in visuospatial science domains.  Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 19(1), 58-65 . pdf

Sanchez, C.A.  (2011). Working through the pain: Working memory capacity and differences in processing and storage under physical pain.  Memory, 19(2), 226-232. pdf

Sanchez, C. A., & Wiley, J. (2009). To scroll or not to scroll: Scrolling, working memory capacity and comprehending complex text.  Human Factors, 51(5), 730-738. pdf


Selected presentations: (for a more complete list of presentations, please click HERE)

Jaeger, A.J., & Sanchez, C.A. (2013, July). How reading affects believing: Perceptually non-fluent text presentations and changes in online processing. Paper presented at the 23rd annual meeting of the Society for Text & Discourse, Valencia, Spain.

Garland, T.B., & Sanchez, C.A. (2011, November).  Spatial Abilities and Learning Procedural Motor Tasks from Instructional Media.  Poster presented at the 52nd annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Seattle, WA.

Banas, S., & Sanchez, C.A.  (2011, September).  Working memory and how it relates to learning implicit website structure.  Paper presented at the 55th annual meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Las Vegas, NV.

Sanchez, C.A.  (2011, April).  Using video games to enhance learning of spatial science concepts.  Poster presented at the 92nd Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

Sanchez, C.A., & Wiley, J.  (2008, July).  Learning from scrolling interfaces: Interactions with working memory capacity.  Poster presented at the 30th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Washington, D.C.

Wiley, J., Sanchez, C.A., & Griffin, T.D. (2007, July). Designing for Understanding: The Impact of Tasks and Individual Differences on Learning Science from the Web. Paper presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Society for Text; Discourse, Glasgow, Scotland.


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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 and human interfaces. 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?
video game training of cognitive abilities
  • can video game training produce durable and robust training of cognitive abilities, and importantly transfer to relevant tasks?
learning from mobile devices
  • does being 'on the go' always equal an accurate awareness of a situation?
embodiment and procedural learning
  • does an embodied perspective facillitate or prohibit certain types/means of learning?
virtual collaboration and design
  • what are the characteristics of effective tools for collaborating in virtual spaces?

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

Current Undergraduate Research Assistants: (Fall 2014)

Safia Khan, Mike McDougal, Kishan Patel

Past Undergraduate Research Assistants:
Adrienne Boggess, Elizabeth Brothers, Russell Clark, Laura Dawson, Kelly Downes, Amanda Elson, Pedro Gutierrez, Samantha Hicks, Kristina Hoffman, Nicholas Hong, Gregory Jackson, Harpreet Kaur, Jennifer LaFlesch, Kyle Lindgard, Shaun Lobsinger, Jason Mamangon, Alyssa Reid, Amber Robins, Stacy Sim, Lisa Thew, Jessica Voge, Elissa Webb

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I teach several classes at OSU.  Please note that these classes are not offered every semester.  If you are interested in what I am teaching in a specific semester, please see the announcements above, or contact me.

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.

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relevant OSU links:
ACTUAL Lab webpage
OSU homepage
School of Psychological Science homepage
myOSU, OSU Blackboard
weather report for Corvallis
recent collaborators:
Jennifer Wiley, Ph.D. (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Mitzi Montoya, Ph.D. (ASU)
Claire Lauer, Ph.D. (ASU)
Susan R. Goldman, Ph.D. (University of Illinois at Chicago)
chicago white sox
chicago bears

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The best way to get in touch with me is via email at christopher.sanchez@oregonstate.edu.  Please also feel free to contact me at my office phone number and leave a message if I do not answer.

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Last modified: 09-22-14. All rights reserved.