Megan Papesh wearing a purple dress and a black coat and smiling at the camera.

Megan H. Papesh, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Coburn Hall, Room 370B


Episodic memory, visual search, unfamiliar face perception/recognition, attentional/viewing fields, eye-tracking, pupillometry

Research Interests

  • Basic and applied questions of human attention, perception, and memory
  • Motivational and social factors in unfamiliar face recognition
  • The influence of task difficulty on incidental memory and attentional spread
  • The impact of statistical contexts and task parameters on visual attentional fields and how this affects early-stage cancer detection


  • BS (2005): Psychology, Baldwin-Wallace College – Berea, OH
  • MA (2008): Psychology, Arizona State University – Tempe, AZ
  • PhD (2012): Psychology, Arizona State University – Tempe, AZ

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Rising Star (2016), Association for Psychological Science
  • Emerging Scholar Rainmaker (2015), Louisiana State University
  • Undergraduate Teaching Award (2014, 2019), Tiger Athletic Foundation

Selected Publications

  • Papesh, M. H. & Goldinger, S. D. (Eds.; in press). Modern Pupillometry: Cognition, Neuroscience, and Practical Applications. Springer Nature.
  • Urgolites, Z. J., Wixted, J. T., Goldinger, S. D., Papesh, M. H., Treiman, D. M., Squire, L. R., & Steinmetz, P. N. (2022). Two kinds of memory signals in neurons of the human hippocampus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(19), e2115128119.
  • Guevara Pinto, J.D., Papesh, M.H., & Hicks, J.L. (2021). Flexible attention allocation dynamically impacts incidental encoding in prospective memory. Memory & Cognition, 1-17. doi: 10.3758/s13421-021-01199-6
  • Papesh, M. H., Hout, M. C., *Guevara Pinto, J. D, Robbins, A., & **Lopez, A. (2021). Eye movements reflect expertise development in hybrid search. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 6(7).
  • *Guevara Pinto, J. D., Papesh, M. H., & Hout, M. C. (2020). The detail is in the difficulty: Challenging search facilitates rich incidental object encoding. Memory & Cognition. doi: 10.3758/s13421-020-01051-3
  • Urgolites, Z., Wixted. J. T., Goldinger, S. D., Papesh, M. H., Squire, L. R., Smith, K. A., Treiman, D. T., & Steinmetz, P. N. (2020). Spiking activity in the human hippocampus prior to encoding predicts subsequent memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(24), 13767-13770. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2001338117
  • Papesh, M. H. & *Guevara Pinto, J. D. (2019). Spotting rare items makes the brain “blink” harder: Evidence from pupillometry. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 81, 2635-2647.
  • Papesh, M. H., Hicks, J. L., & *Guevara-Pinto, J. D. (2019). Retrieval dynamics of recognition and rejection. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72, 2328-2341.
  • *Guevara Pinto, J. D. & Papesh, M. H. (2019). Incidental memory in rapid serial visual search: The role of attention allocation strategies. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 45, 1174-1190.
  • Hicks, J.L., *Spitler, S., & Papesh, M. H. (2019). Response dynamics of event-based prospective memory retrieval. Memory & Cognition, 47, 923-935.
  • Papesh, M. H., *Heisick, L. L., & **Warner, K. M. (2018). The persistent low-prevalence effect in unfamiliar face-matching: The roles of feedback and criterion shifting. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 24, 416-430.
  • Papesh, M. H. (2018). Photo ID verification remains challenging despite years of practice. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 3:19.