Associate Professor of Psychology
Education and Background
Ken Carter received his B.A. in Psychology from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Kansas. His graduate training included emphases in human memory and neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. Dr. Carter’s teaching background includes courses in Psychology of Learning, Sensation and Perception, Cognitive Psychology, Physiological Psychology, Research Methods/Statistics and History and Systems of Psychology. Aside from his formal research program he has pursued an interest in human consciousness and has spoken on the topic in various lectures and taught a special topics course called Perception and Consciousness.
Dr. Carter’s primary training in research is in human semantic memory. This area of his research makes use of the South Florida Free Association Norms (Nelson, McEvoy, & Schreiber, 1998; Nelson, Schreiber & McEvoy, 1992) to explore how various variables such as semantic set size, context, and competition affect participant performance on memory related tasks. The focus of his dissertation was on empirical verification of semantic inhibition and demonstrated semantic inhibition without prior semantic activation. Other areas of direct research experience include judgments of learning, feeling of knowing judgments, semantic set size, eyewitness memory research, Stroop tasks, flanker paradigms, attentional blink and visual search paradigms.
Dr. Carter’s research program continues to explore semantic inhibition, but has expanded to investigate the role of salience on human memory, including investigation of the Von Restorff (1933) effect (also known as the isolation effect). The early results suggest that the new methodology he has developed will resolve the decades old conundrum regarding the source of the isolation effect as either an encoding or a retrieval based mechanism.
More recently Dr. Carter has entered into collaborative research with Dr. Chris Bloom which is examining the “face in the crowd” effect. They are examining competing explanations related to the finding that angry faces are more easily detected and capture attention more effectively. Along with two undergraduate students they have developed new stimuli to explore the ecological validity of caricature faces and the apparent activation of a phylogenetic fear response to “angry” features.