collage of students

Motivated Attention and Perception

Members of the MAP lab conduct experiments investigating human visual perception and attention. We are interested in how expectations, motivations, and individual differences can influence sensory input and selective attention. We also investigate the role of cognitive training in enhancing sensory and cognitive processing. We measure behavior (using response time and accuracy) and brain activity (using EEG) to uncover the psychological and neural basis of attention. Undergraduate and graduate students in my lab can receive training in a variety of methods, including the use of a computer-based experimental psychology laboratory, and the design, implementation, and analysis of ERP studies of the human visual system.

Please note: I am currently accepting graduate thesis students.

Jennifer O'Brien


Jennifer O'Brien

Assistant Professor
Office: DAV 116
Phone: 727-873-4415

USF St. Petersburg campus
140 7th Avenue S., DAV 271
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

behavioral studies

Behavioral studies in the lab involve watching various visual events that will occur on a computer screen, and pressing buttons in response to those events. You may also complete pen and paper questionnaires that will ask you about the ways you act and think in different situations. Behavioral sessions typically last between 30 minutes and 2 hours, and are run during regular business hours (9am-5pm, Monday through Friday).

eeg Studies

EEG studies in the lab are similar to behavioral studies with the addition of an electrode cap, which records the electrical activity from your brain using small flat metal discs (electrodes). Participation in an EEG study requires approximately 30 minutes of set-up, including putting conductive gel onto your scalp, and approximately 10 minutes of clean up afterward. We have a sink, towels, and supplies (shampoo, hair dryer) if you wish to wash your hair at the end.


SONA – To sign up for our studies, you must first have an account through the USF St. Petersburg campus SONA system. You can participate in our studies in exchange for course credit. Check SONA to see what we have available.

join the lab

Prospective Graduate Students

If you’re preparing to apply for graduate school in psychology at USF St. Petersburg campus and are interested in joining my lab, I encourage you to contact me by email. I usually admit one thesis student and one or two non-thesis students per year. I look for evidence of research experience in psychology as well as strong mathematics and statistics coursework. EEG experience and computer programming skills are preferred, but not necessary.

Prospective Undergraduate Research Assistant or Honors Thesis Students

If you’re interested in working in the lab for research experience, directed study, or thesis work, please complete the application and submit it to Dr. O’Brien or in DAV116.

Undergraduate MAP Lab Application



  • O’Brien, J. L., Nikjeh, D. A., & Lister, J. J. (2015). Interaction of musicianship and aging: A comparison of cortical auditory evoked potentials. Behavioral Neurology, 2015, Article ID 545917. doi: 10.1155/2015/545917.
  • O’Brien, J. L., Lister, J. J., Peronto, C. L., & Edwards, J. E. (2015). Perceptual and cognitive neural correlates of the Useful Field of View Test in older adults. Brain Research, 1624, 167-174.
  • O’Brien, J. L., Edwards, J. E., Maxfield, N. D., Pertonto, C. L., Williams, V., & Lister, J. J. (2013). Cognitive training and selective attention in the aging brain: An electrophysiological study. Clinical Neurophysiology, 124(11), 2198-2208. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2013.05.012
  • Edwards, J. D., Ruva, C. L., O’Brien, J. L., Haley, C. B., & Lister, J. J. (2012). An examination of mediators of the transfer of cognitive speed of processing training to everyday functional performance. Psychology and Aging, 28(2), 314-321.
  • O’Brien, J. L. & Raymond, J. E. (2012). Learned predictiveness speeds visual processing. Psychological Science, 23(4), 359-363.
  • Rutherford, H. J. V., O’Brien, J. L., & Raymond, J.E. (2010). Value associations of irrelevant stimuli can modify rapid visual orienting. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17, 536-542.
    Raymond, J. E. & O’Brien, J. L. (2009). Selective visual attention and motivation: The consequences of value learning in an attentional blink task. Psychological Science, 20(8), 981-988.


MAP LAB student authors in bold

  • Edwards, J.D., O’Brien, J.L., Aust, F., & Lister, J.J. (2015). Determining the underlying constructs of the Useful Field of View Test. Invited talk presented at the Aging & Cognition 2015 Congress, Dortmund, Germany, April 2015.
  • Edwards, J.D., O’Brien, J.L., & Aust, F. (2015). Insights on the Useful Field of View Test. Invited talk presented at the Aging & Cognition 2015 Congress, Dortmund, Germany, April 2015.
  • Edwards, J.D., O’Brien, J.L., Andel, R., &Lister, J.J. (2015). Mechanisms of effective cognitive training to improve everyday function. Invited talk.
  • Edwards, J.D., Lister, J.J., & O’Brien, J.L.  (2015). Neurophysiological indicators of UFOV performance and InSight® cognitive training gains. Invited talk presented at Post Science, Inc. San Francisco, CA.
  • Peacock, B., Havelka, M., Huebner, L., Van Overloop, E., Horner, C., & O’Brien, J. L., (2015). Effects of age and inhibition on attention. Poster presented at the 61st Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, Hilton Head, South Carolina, April 2015.
  • Huebner, L., Peacock, B., Tuttle, A., Havelka, M., Van Overloop, E., Gherman, J., van Dommelen, A., & O’Brien, J. L., (2014). The attentional blink task: Interaction of Age and Inhibition. Poster presented at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Undergraduate Research Symposium, St. Petersburg, Florida, April 2014.


Jaclyn Dell


Andrea Veramendi


Josue Romero


Klejdis Bilali


Nicole Tran


Ananya Rajan


Carly Wagner


Arissa Shimabuku



Carly Horner

Carlene Horner

Research Assistant at Center for Applied Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Tufts University

Shaun Feld

Shaun Feld

Data Systems Administrator, Locale Market

Brandon Peacock

Brandon Peacock

Senior Quantitative Analyst at Statistics Solutions

Michael Havelka

Michael Havelka

Supply Chain Analyst, Transitions Optical

Lena-Alyeska Huebner

Lena-Alyeska Huebner

Graduate Student, Colorado State University

Erica Van Overloop

Erica Van Overloop

Graduate Student, Auburn University

Vincent de Cosmo

Vincent de Cosmo

Katherine Audrey van Dommelen

Katherine Audrey van Dommelen

Graduate Student, University of South Florida


Amanda Tuttle

Graduate Student, Clemson University



participant wearing helmet


participant wearing helmet


participant wearing helmet


participant wearing helmet


participant wearing helmet


participant wearing helmet