Psychology and the Institute for Intelligent Systems

Faculty Mentor: Art Graesser

Faculty Mentor's Department: Psychology and the Institute for Intelligent Systems

Phone/Email: 901.678.4857,

Project Description: I design, develop, and test computer systems that hold conversations with people in natural language. One notable example is AutoTutor, an animated agent (talking head) on the internet that helps students learn through conversations and interactive simulations of virtual worlds. AutoTutor responds adaptively to the cognitive states and emotions of the learner by tracking dialog content, facial expressions, posture, speech, and interactions with the keyboard. My work is interdisciplinary, with contributions from psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics, education, multimedia, and art. Another system is Coh-Metrix, a web facility that analyzes texts on hundreds of measures of language, discourse, and cohesion. Students, staff, and faculty work in research teams.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Hard work and willingness to work in research teams.

Starting Date: Any time

Method of Compensation ( Volunteer, Academic Credit, or Stipend): Show promise by volunteering and/or academic credit. Serious students get funding on grants (National Science Foundation, Institute for Education Sciences).

 Faculty Mentor: Dr. Philip I. Pavlik Jr.

Faculty Mentor's Department: Psychology and Institute for Intelligent Systems


Project Description: The Optimal Learning Lab conducts research that involves theories of human learning and how to apply them in educational contexts. More specifically, our current research projects include: elaborative study methods (concept mapping), text comprehension strategies, and spaced practice.

Requirements for Student Applicants: The student should have a 3.0 or above GPA, successfully completed PSYC 3010 (Research and Statistics I), and have an interest in cognitive psychology, education, or computer science. Interested students should also be willing to commit a minimum of 4 hours per week to lab projects. (Note: Some projects may require more or less time; thus, a flexible schedule is an added benefit)

Start date: Immediately

Method of Compensation: volunteer or academic credit.