Cognition, Affect, and Psychophysiology Lab (The CAP Lab)

Faculty Director
Primary Phone
Secondary Phone

About Us

Dr. Martha Ann Bell, Director

Dr. M.A. Bell's Profile

Welcome to the C.A.P. Lab at Virginia Tech. Our research focuses on brain-behavior relations, with an emphasis on frontal lobe development in infants and children. Please explore our website to learn more about our exciting research program.

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Research Interests

In the C.A.P. Lab at Virginia Tech, we study multiple aspects of cognitive development, with an emphasis on individual differences in the development of short-term/working memory. In our research studies, we focus on attention, self-regulation, and temperament as the main sources of these individual differences. Our most current work is longitudinal in nature and examines the relations between cognition and affect (or emotion) across infancy and childhood. We are focusing on the observation of behaviors, as well as developmental psychophysiology, including the measurement of brain electrical activity (EEG) and heart rate activity (ECG). This work is funded by the National Institutes of Health / National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R03-HD43057; R01-HD49878).

From 5-months to 12-years!

Current research projects in CAP Lab (data collection in progress):

Inhibitory control during toddlerhood --- Our quarterly longitudinal study of cognition and attention at 15, 18, 21, and 24 months.

Cognition and attention in college students --- Kara's undergraduate research project on cognitive and brain processes in college students with and without ADHD.

(new!) Brain processes during inhibitory control --- Our new study of cognition and attention at 9 months and 12 months. We begin recruitment on this new study this summer!  With Rachel Diana (Psychology).

Plus, our ongoing work (data collection is complete):

Inhibitory control during infancy --- Our monthly longitudinal study of cognition and attention from 5 to 12 months.

Cognition and emotion from infancy through middle childhood ---  Our 9-year study of individual differences in cognition-emotion integration.  

Cognition and emotion in adulthood --- Our "mom study" with mothers of the 9-year longitudinal study children.

Social cognition in late childhood --- Alleyne's dissertation research on neuroconnectivity and inhibitory control across early development.

Risk for anxiety during adolescence --- Ran's preliminary exam project on temperament and attentional biases.

Middle childhood emotion regulation --- Tatiana's thesis research on cognitive reappraisal and emotion regulation.

Plus, our collaborative work with others:

Mathematical operations --- Math problem solving with middle school age children and undergraduate math education majors. With Andy Norton (Mathematics) and Katy Ulrich (Teaching & Learning).

Maternal emotion coaching --- Emotion coaching and child outcomes during early and middle childhood.  With Julie Dunsmore (Psychology) and Jungmeen Kim-Spoon (Psychology). 


Lab Members wearing their thinking caps!
Lab Members wearing their thinking caps!



Lab Members


  • Dr. Martha Ann Bell

Laboratory Coordinator:

  • Leslie Patton, M.A.

Graduate Students:

  • Alleyne Broomell, Ph.D.
  • Ran Liu, M.S.
  • Tatiana Garcia-Meza, B.A.

 Undergraduate Research Assistants:

  • Kara Vlahcevic


Participant Information


If you would like to find out more information about our research with infants and children, or if you and your child would like to participate in one of our studies, feel free to contact us:

Leslie Patton (Laboratory Coordinator)
Research Lab Phone: (540) 231-2320


Please see the Directions to Williams Hall.

Join Us

Potential Graduate Students:

If you are interested in doctoral study in the field of Developmental Psychology in general or Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience in particular, contact us for details about our Developmental Science graduate program. Our program is committed to training students as research-oriented psychologists using the mentorship model. For information on graduate studies, visit the Developmental Science web site:

Developmental Science Graduate Program

or contact Dr. Bell at (540) 231-2546 (office). Email:

Recent Graduates

  • Jonathan E. Roberts, Ph.D. (2001)
    Professor of Psychology
    Director of University Honors Program
    Georgia Southern University - Armstrong Campus
    Savannah, GA
  • Annie Papero, Ph.D. (2004)
    Head of Lower School
    Sayre School
    Lexington, KY
  • Christy D. Wolfe, Ph.D. (2005)
    Associate Professor of Psychology
    Bellarmine University
    Louisville, KY
  • Hossam M. (Zaki) Said, Ph.D. (2005) 
    Manager, Ergonomics - Customer Testing Center CTC, Commercial 
    The Egyptian Company for Mobile Services Mobinil 
    Cairo, Egypt 
  • Denise R. Friedman, Ph.D. (2006)
    Associate Professor of Psychology 
    Hampton University
    Hampton, VA
  • Katherine C. Morasch, Ph.D. (2007) (Postdoctoral Fellow 2007-10)
    Scientific Review Officer, CPDD Study Section
    Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health
    Bethesda, MD
  • Lisa Buonomano, M.S. (2008)
    Emergency Assessment Clinician
    New River Valley Community Services ACCESS
    Blacksburg, VA
  • Annie M. Cardell, Ph.D. (2009)
    Associate Professor of Psychology 
    University of Charleston 
    Charleston, WV
  • Vinaya (Raj) Rajan, Ph.D. (2012)
    Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences 
    University of Sciences
    Philadelphia, PA
  • Anjolii Diaz, Ph.D. (2012) 
    Assistant Professor of Psychological Science 
    Ball State University
    Muncie, IN 
  • Kimberly Cuevas, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009-12) 
    Associate Professor of Psychology
    University of Connecticut
    Waterbury, CT
  • Lauren Golden, Ph.D. (2013) 
    Clinical Psychologist
    Veterans Administration Healthcare System
    Pittsburgh, PA
  • Jess Kraybill, Ph.D. (2013) 
    Assistant Professor of Psychology
    Western Connecticut State University
    Danbury, CT
  • Amanda (Watson) Joyce, Ph.D. (2014) 
    Assistant Professor of Psychology
    Murray State University
    Murray, KY
  • Tashauna Blankenship, Ph.D. (2017)  
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Systems Neuroscience
    Boston University
    Boston, MA