Assistant Professor of Psychology
Cognitive neuroscience, sensation and perception, attention and consciousness
Department of Psychology
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Portland, OR 97202
Education and Professional Positions
2001 B.A., Psychology, Brain and Behavior Program, University of New Hampshire
2004, M.S., Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience Program, Colorado State University
2007, Ph.D., Psychology, Perception and Brain Science Program, Colorado State University
2007-2009, Postdoctoral Trainee, Institute for Neural Computation, University of California San Diego
2009-2011, Postdoctoral Researcher, Neurosciences Department, University of California San Diego
2011-present, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Reed College
Recent Projects and Positions
Principal Investigator, Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind Innovative Research Grant, Spatio-temporal neuroimaging of conscious and non-conscious visual processing, 2010-2011.
Postdoctoral Training Grant, Institute for Neural Computation, Hillyard ERP lab, University of California San Diego, 2007-2009
My courses include introductory psychology, sensation & perception, cognitive neuroscience, and attention & consciousness research (follow link to course description for additional details). My goal is to combine introductory and advanced research training with more traditional teaching methods. I use in-class lectures as a means to provide necessary background information, while much of my focus is on training students to read, discuss, and critique research articles, learn the methodological techniques of cognitive neuroscience and psychophysics, and develop novel experimental questions that can be explored in the laboratory.
My area of expertise is in cognitive electrophysiology of perception and attention. I specialize in electroencephalography (EEG), event-related potentials (ERPs), and electrical neuroimaging. Some of the major questions my research seeks to resolve are: How does brain activity differ during conscious versus nonconscious processing of objects and events in our environment? What kinds of information processing require attention and awareness and what can be accomplished automatically by the brain? How do attention and awareness interact? My laboratory at Reed includes a 96 channel EEG system that is used to record and map the brain waves of human subjects while they perform visual and auditory tasks.
Selected Recent Publications
Pitts, M., Martinez, A., & Hillyard, S. (2012). Visual processing of contour patterns under conditions of inattentional blindness. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (early access online: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/jocn_a_00111)
Pitts, M., Martinez, A., Brewer, J., & Hillyard, S. (2011). Early stages of figure-ground segregation during perception of the face-vase. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23:4, 880-895.
Pitts, M., Martinez, A., & Hillyard, S. (2010). When and where is binocular rivalry resolved in the visual cortex? Journal of Vision 10(14):25, 1-11.
Pitts, M., Martinez, A., Stalmaster, C., Nerger, J., & Hillyard, S. (2009). Neural generators of ERPs linked with Necker cube reversals. Psychophysiology. 46, 694-702.
Pitts, M., Nerger, J., & Davis, T. (2007). Electrophysiological correlates of perceptual reversals for three different types of multi-stable images. Journal of Vision, 7(1):6, 1-14.