Caitlyn McColeman

Denying MJ

I came to the CSL from York University where I studied cognitive sciences for a specialized Honour’s Bachelor of Arts. I had the opportunity to learn quite a bit from a number of different fields, and I was excited to come to Simon Fraser University to further develop my knowledge of fields of specific interest. Cognitive psychology was particularly appealing right from the beginning of my studies, and as I learned a bit more I was excited to be part of the experimental process.  I spent some time at a number of wonderful laboratories at York University, and applied for graduate school to learn more psychology and pursue a career in research. I was thrilled to be invited to Simon Fraser University to do just that!

During the summer of 2010, I was employed as a research assistant in the CSL. During this time, I had the opportunity to learn how to program experiments and scripts for data analysis. There is a remarkably positive learning environment here, and having the chance to talk through my questions with super intelligent and supportive people helped me to learn how to program much quicker than I would have expected.

I defended my master’s work in 2012, where I studied the relationship between visual salience and categorization decisions. Surprisingly, salient distractors were easier for participants to ignore while they made their category judgements. Diving deeper into this finding, we found that saccade velocities to salient distractors are slow and seem more deliberate than saccade velocities to less relevant distractors.

Since then, I’ve been working on three parallel research tracts: 1) the relationship between perception and data visualization efficacy (which is the basis of my dissertation), 2) the relationship between visual salience and category decision-making and 3) measuring visual attention in video game play with big data techniques.

For fun, I dabble in sports (see image).