Melissa R. Beck, Professor & Director of Graduate Studies

photo of BeckOffice: 202 Audubon Hall
Department of Psychology
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803

View my VITA

View my lab website.
View my NSF Spatial Reasoning Page. 

Dr. Beck is accepting students for Fall 2024. 

Dr. Beck is a member of LSU's Multidisciplinary Institute for Neuroscience Discovery (MIND).

Read about Dr. Beck's collaborative work here: Collaborative Champion: Melissa Beck.

Current Lab members include Hanane Ramzaoui, Brandon Eich and Tom Tomshe (see the current CBS graduate students webpage)

Research Interests

The research in my laboratory focuses on understanding the cognitive processes involved in the perception of a complete and continuous visual world.

  • The roles of memory, attention, and decision making in visual perception
  • The effects of visual changes in the environment on psychophysical and behavioral measures of performance
  • Using eye movements to measure the role of attention during visual perception
  • The influence of previous knowledge and expectations on visual processing
  • The role of metacognitive beliefs in visual perception
  • Cognitive modeling of visual processing
  • The application of human visual processing capacities and limits to the design of robot and computer interfaces

Dr. Beck conducts research on theoretical and applied questions related to visual attention and memory. Theoretical questions such as “how does the brain store visual information” and “what factors in the visual world capture and guide visual attention” are examined with the goal of developing workable models of human visual cognition. As these theories are developed they are used toward the goal of improving users’ performance on tasks that require visual attention and memory. For example, based on our knowledge of how visual attention and memory operate in the human brain, we can develop graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and training techniques that can accentuate the strengths and limit the weaknesses of these processes. Students interested in this research should email Dr. Beck at or stop by 202 Audubon Hall.


Eich, B. & Beck, M.R. (2023) Differences in the duration of the attentional blink when viewing nature vs. urban scenes. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics.

Saltzmann, S., Moen, K.C., Eich B., Chaisson, F.M., Fan, G, Goldstein, R.R., Beck, M.R. & Lucas, H.D. (2023) Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence for the flexible recruitment of feature- and object-based processing in visual working memory comparison. In Biological Psychology.

Kim, S., Beck, M.R. & Cho, Y.S. (2023) Loss aversion in the control of attention. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Sedghikhanshir, A., Zhu, Y., Beck, M.R. & Jafari, A. (2022) The Impact of Visual Stimuli and Properties on Restorative Effect and Human Stress: A Literature Review.

Kim, S., Harman, J.L & Beck, M.R. (2022) Diminishing sensitivity and absolute difference in value-driven attention. Journal of Vision 22(1):12, 1–16.

Emamjomeh, A., Zhu, Y. & Beck, M.R. (2020). The potential of applying immersive virtual environment to biophilic building design: a pilot study. Journal of Building Engineering.

Beck, M.R., Goldstein, R.R., Moen, K. C., Cohen, A.C., & Wolshon, B. (2020). The impact of leaving a voicemail, environment familiarity, and pedestrian predictability on driving behavior. Transportation Research Part F, 74, 487-506.

Sunghyun, K. & Beck, M.R. (2020). Non-spatial context-driven search. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. 82(6), 2876-2892.

Sunghyun, K. & Beck, M.R. (2020). Impacts of relative and absolute values on selective attention. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Moen, K. C., Beck, M. R., Saltzmann, S. M., Burleigh, L. M., Butler, L. G., Ramanujam, J., Cohen, A. S., & Greening, S. G. (2020). Strengthening spatial reasoning: Elucidating the attentional and neural mechanisms associated with mental rotation skill development. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 20(5).

Moen, K.C., Guevara Pinto, J.D., Papesh, M.H., & Beck, M.R. (2019). Not all information in visual working memory is forgotten equally. Consciousness and Cognition, 74.

Goldstein, R.R., & Beck, M.R., (2018). Visual search with varying versus consistent attentional templates: Effects on target template establishment, comparison, and guidance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44(7), 1086-1102.

Beck, M. R., Martin, B.A., Smitherman, E. & Gaschen, L. (2013). Eyes-on training and radiological expertise: An examination of expertise development and its effects on visual working memory. Human Factors, 55(4), 747-763. doi: 10.1177/0018720812469224

van Lamsweerde, A. E., Beck, M.R. & Johnson, J.S. (in press) Visual working memory organization is subject to top-down control. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. Download PDF

Ericson, J.M., Beck, M.R. & van Lamsweerde, A.E. (2016). Binding global and local features in visual working memory. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 78(1), 94-106. Download PDF

van Lamsweerde, A.E., & Beck, M.R. (2015). Incidental learning of probability information is differentially affected by the type of visual working memory representation. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69(4), 283-296. Download PDF

van Lamsweerde, A.E., Beck, M.R., & Elliott, E.M. (2015). Retrieval from long-term memory reduces working memory representations for visual features and their bindings. Memory & Cognition, 43, 237-246, doi: 10.3758/s13421-014-0468-0 Download PDF

Trenchard, M.E., & Beck, M.R. (2014). How clutter and expertise affect search in geospatial displays. 2013 NRL Review, 222-225

Levin, D.T., Angelone, B.A., & Beck, M.R. (in press). Visual search for rare targets: Distracter-tuning as a mechanism for learning from repeated failed searches. British Journal of Psychology.

Beck, M.R. & van Lamsweerde, A.E.(2011). Accessing long-term memory representations during visual change detection. Memory and Cognition. 

Beck, M.R., Lohrenz, M.C., Trafton, J.G., (2010). Measuring search efficiency in complex visual search tasks: Global and local clutter. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 16(3), 238-250. 

Hong, L. S. & Beck, M. R. (2010). Uncertainty compensation in human attention: Evidence from response times and eye fixation durations. PLOS One, 5(7).

Lohrenz, M.C., Trafton, J.G., Beck, M.R., & Gendron, M.L. (2009). A model of clutter for complex, multivariate, geospatial displays. The Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 51(1), 90-101.

Beck, M. R., Angelone, B.A., Levin, D.T., Peterson, M.S., & Varakin, A. (2008). Implicit learning for probable changes in a visual change detection task. Consciousness and Cognition, 17, 1192-1208.

Peterson, M.S., Beck, M.R. & Wong, J. H. (2008). Executive control is required for efficient visual search. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 15(2), 372-377.

Beck, M.R., Peterson, M.S., & Angelone, B.A. (2007). The roles of encoding, retrieval, and awareness in change detection. Memory and Cognition, 35(4), 610-620.

Peterson, M.S., Beck, M.R., & Vomela, M. (2007). The guidance of attention by retrospective and prospective memory during visual search. Perception and Psychophysics, 69(1), 123-135.

Beck, M.R., Peterson, M.S., & Angelone, B.A. (2007). The roles of encoding, retrieval, and awareness in change detection. Memory and Cognition, 35(4), 610-620.

Peterson, M.S., Beck, M.R., & Vomela, M. (2007). The guidance of attention by retrospective and prospective memory during visual search. Perception and Psychophysics, 69(1), 123-135.

Beck, M. R., Levin, D.T. & Angelone, B.A. (2007) Metacognitive errors in change detection: Lab and life converge. Consciousness and Cognition, 16, 58-62.

Beck, M. R., Levin, D.T. & Angelone, B.A. (2007) Change blindness blindness: Beliefs about the roles of intention and scene complexity in change detection. Consciousness and Cognition, 16, 31-51.

Beck, M. R., Peterson, M.S., Boot, W.R., Vomela, M. & Kramer, A.K. (2006) Explicit Memory for Rejected Distractors During Visual Search. Visual Cognition, 14(2), 150-174.

Beck, M.R., Peterson, M.S. & Vomela, M. (2006). Memory for where, but not what, is used during visual search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 32(2), 235-250.

Beck, M. R., Angelone, B.A., & Levin, D. T. (2004). Knowledge about the probability of change affects change detection performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30(4), 778-791.

Levin, D. T. & Beck, M. R. (2004). Thinking about seeing: Spanning the differences between metacognitive failure and success. In Daniel Levin (Ed) Thinking about seeing: Visual metacognition in adults and children. (pp. 121 – 144). Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Beck, M. R. & Levin, D. T. (2003). The role of representational volatility in recognizing pre- and postchange objects. Perception and Psychophysics, 65(3), 458-468.

Levin, D.T., Drivdahl, S., Momen, N, Beck, M. (2002). False predictions about the detectability of visual changes: The role of beliefs about attention, memory, and the continuity of attended objects in causing change blindness blindness. Consciousness and Cognition, 11, 507-527.

Zaragoza, M. S., Payment, K. E., Ackil, J.K., Drivdahl, S. B., & Beck, M. R. (2001). Interviewing witnesses: Forced confabulation and confirmatory feedback increase false memories. Psychological Science, 12(6), 473-477.