Nature and Cognition

The nature and cognition team after finishing up data collection in Bluff, UT in spring 2018

The idea that nature is good for people is not exactly  novel. For centuries, philosophers, artists and writers have extolled the virtues of nature on the human mind. In recent decades, a body of scientific evidence has emerged suggesting that there are indeed many cognitive benefits to interacting with nature, including a study published by our lab demonstrating that time outside boosts creativity. My colleagues and I have recently begun measuring neurophysiological correlates of “the nature effect” using electroencephalography (EEG). Understanding the neural mechanisms of the nature effect remains the primary interest of my many research interests. We have recently conducted several studies documenting changes in the brain when participants are in nature. More information will be coming shortly, but for now, you can read our most recent article here.

The Applied Cognition Lab

IMG_4517I work in the applied cognition lab, under Dr. David Strayer and Dr. Joel Cooper, which focuses broadly on applied attention- particularly in the context of distracted driving. We use a variety of behavioral and neurophysiological measures including EEG and eye-tracking to understand the cognitive neuroscience of distraction. Current research projects include understanding driver behavior and physiology in autonomous vehicles, as well as interactions with in-vehicle information systems. If you are interested in being paid to participate in one of our driving studies, please see our lab’s ongoing studies page.

The LAMA lab

I additionally spend my time working in the Language and Memory Aging (LAMA) lab under Dr. Brennan Payne. Our research is focused on understanding cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying human language and memory systems across the adult lifespan. We use a variety of methodologies, including EEG, eye-tracking, heart-rate variability, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. I spend my time here working on a variety of EEG projects. Recently, I have been involved in a co-registered pupillometry and EEG study, examining relationships between phasic pupil size and the P3b component. We recently presented some preliminary work at the annual Psychonomic Society conference.

Publications and Manuscripts in prep

LoTemplio, S., Reynolds, T., Eshete, A., Abrahams, M., Bruesewitz, D., & Wall, J. A. (2016). Ethiopian Orthodox church forests provide hydrological ecosystem services: evidence from stream sediment and aquatic insect analyses. African Journal of Ecology 55, 247-251.

LoTemplio, S., Scott, E.S., McDonnell, A., Hopman, R.J., Castro, S.C., McNay, G.D., McKinney, T.L.,Greenberg, K., Payne, B.R., Strayer, D.L. (2020). Nature as a Potential Modulator of the Error Related Negativity: A Registered Report. International Journal of International Psychophysiology, 156, 49-59.

Scott, E.E., LoTemplio, S., McDonnell, A.M., McNay, G.D., Greenberg, K.G., McKinney, T.L., Uchino, B.N., Strayer, D.L. (2020) Immersion in Nature is Associated with Changes in Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability. Psychophysiology.

Hopman, R.J., LoTemplio, S., Scott, E.E., McKinney, T.L., Strayer, D.L. (2020). Neuroelectric Biomarkers of Attention Change from Prolonged Exposure in a Natural Environment. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.

LoTemplio, S., & Coane, J.H. (submitted). Brief Exposure to Scientific Content Affects Acceptance Rates of Climate Change Misinformation.

Coleman, J., LoTemplio, S., & Strayer, D.L. (submitted). How Sweet it is:  A Double-Blind Placebo-Control Assessment of the Role Glucose Plays in the Regulation of Errant Behavior.

LoTemplio, S., Silcox, J., Payne, B.R., & Federmeir, K. (in prep). Co-registration of Pupillary and Electrophysiological Responses in a Visual Oddball Task.

Scott, E.S., Hopman, R.J., Crabtree, K., LoTemplio, S., McDonnell, A., Uchino, B., Strayer, D.L. (in prep). Cognitive, Affective, and Physiological Responses to Virtual Environments: A Pilot Study.