Giulia Pancani, a graduate student in Cognitive Psychology, is the recipient of a 2019 Baughman Dissertation Research Award.
The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC offers the Earl and Barbara Baughman Dissertation Research Award annually to 2-3 top researchers within the department. The purpose of this award is to promote and support innovative dissertation research in our department and to support award recipients in their completion of their dissertation projects.
Giulia won for her dissertation titled “The Impact of Cognitive and Perceptual Load on Parafoveal Processing During Reading.” Skilled readers are able to extract information from words that they haven’t yet looked at directly by shifting their attention to the margins of their visual field. This is known as parafoveal preview processing and it leads to faster and more efficient reading. Because this is an attentional process, the extent to which this information is extracted and integrated depends on the availability of resources in the system. Giulia’s research manipulates the properties of the task and of the perceptual field in order to determine how different types of load affect readers’ ability to extract and integrate parafoveal preview information. It does so by integrating eye-movement information with neural data collected as readers process words and sentences under different circumstances. Giulia will receive a Baughman Dissertation Award of $6,000 to support her innovative research and dissertation project. Congratulations, Giulia!