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

Faculty Director
Primary Phone

About Us

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.



Research Interests

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.

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Lab Members


Laboratory Coordinator:

  • Leslie Patton, M.A.

Graduate Students:

  • Ran Liu, M.S.
  • Tatiana Garcia Meza, M.S.
  • Maddie Bruce, M.S.
  • Jennifer Phillips, B.S.
  • Mohamed Zerrouk, B.S.
  • Briana Ermanni, B.S.

 Undergraduate Research Assistants:

  • Riddhi Adsul
  • Mustafa Beidas
  • Amanda Dooly
  • Amanda Olney

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.

Current Research Projects

From 5-months to 12-years!

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

1) Cognition and emotion from infancy through adolescence ---  The final visit of our longitudinal study from infancy through early adolescence.  Children have participated during infancy (5 and 10 months), early childhood (2, 3, and 4 years), middle childhood (6 and 9 years) and now during adolescence. 

2) Attention biases during adolescence --- Ran's dissertation study on temperament and the tendency to look toward or away from faces.

3) Cognitive reappraisal during adolescence --- Tatiana's research on cognition and emotion regulation.

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

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

1) Development of inhibitory control during infancy --- Our monthly study of attention and cognition from 5 to 12 months.

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

3) Mother-child dyad synchrony --- Physiological and behavioral synchrony between mothers and children during toy play.

Plus, our collaborative work with others:

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

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

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

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Alleyne (Ross) Broomell, Ph.D. (2019) 
    Assistant Professor of Psychology
    Western Carolina University
    Cullowhee, NC