The Catholic University of America

Deborah M. Clawson

Associate Professor and Director, Applied Experimental Ph.D. program


lab: Cognition and Virtual Reality Lab

302 O'Boyle (202)319-5528 Fax: 202-319-6263


Broadly, my research addresses methods of improving performance on cognitive tasks. Within that area, my first focus is on the inter-related areas of planning and prospective memory, looking at how people create plans for the future and carry out those plans when the opportunity presents itself. These studies have used lab tasks, games, and virtual reality (VR). My second focus is on the effects of practice, particularly addressing the questions of what methods are best for practicing complex skills, to what extent improvements due to practice transfer to novel circumstances, and how well those practice effects are retained. I have investigated these issues in domains of Morse code reception, the Stroop task, and spatial learning in VR. I teach several undergraduate and graduate courses, including classes on memory, neuropsychology and cognitive rehabilitation, as well as on statistics.

Education Cognitive Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder (1994)

Minor: Behavioral Neuroscience

M. A. in Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder (1992)

B. Computer Science and in Psychology, Cornell University (1985)

Selected Publications

Kardiasmenos, K.S., Clawson, D.M., Wilken, J.A., & Wallin, M.T. (2008). Prospective memory and the efficacy of a memory strategy in multiple sclerosis.  Neuropsychology, 22, 746-754.

Settle, J.R., Clawson, D.M., & Sebrechts, M.M. (2017).  Initial Planning Benefits Complex Prospective Memory at a Cost. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70, 1700-1712.


Recent Courses

Undergraduate Courses:

Introductory Statistics (PSY322)

Psychology of Brain Injury (PSY385)

Psychology of Memory (PSY403)


Graduate Courses:

Cognitive Rehabilitation (PSY621)

Statistics II (PSY706)

Cognitive and Neuropsychological Approaches to Human Memory (PSY728)

Psychology of Skills and Expertise (PSY703)