Lab Members


J. Devin McAuley is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, Director of the MSU Cognitive Science Program and a member of the Neuroscience Program. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Indiana University, receiving a B.A. in Mathematics and Computer Science, a M.S. in Computer Science, and a joint Ph.D. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science. He then went on to complete postdoctoral studies in Psychology at the University of Queensland and the Ohio State University where he was a Music Cognition Postdoctoral Fellow. Before joining the MSU faculty in 2009, Devin was a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Bowling Green State University. Dr. McAuley’s research interests include auditory perception, attention, and memory, music cognition, cross-modal processing, timing and temporal control of behavior, and relationships between music and language processing.

Leigh VanHandel is Associate Professor of Music Theory and has a courtesy appointment in the Cognitive Science program. Her research areas focus on music cognition with an emphasis on rhythm, meter, and tempo. She’s currently working on the Tempo Project, which is studying what musical cues influence our perception and determination of tempo. In her spare time, she officiates roller derby and plays bass guitar in a rock band.

Graduate Students

Carolyn Kroger, (“Carrie”), is a fourth year PhD student in the Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience program in the MSU Psychology Department. She graduated in 2015 from the University of Arkansas with a B.A. in Psychology. She worked as an RA in the University of Arkansas Music Cognition Lab from 2014-2016, where she conducted research on the role of verbal descriptions in music listening experiences. Her master’s work in the TAP Lab examined temporal and dynamic features in unimanual and bimanual tapping. She is currently pursuing research on mechanisms of timing in sensorimotor synchronization within and between individuals.

Yan Cong is a fourth year graduate student in Linguistics, with an additional specialization in Cognitive Science. She has been investigating the semantics of degree words and subjectivity, as well as the processing of evaluative/sentiment expressions. At the TAP Lab, she is currently interested in projects on the roles of rhythm and pitch in language processing. Yan enjoys cycling, hiking, and old movies in her free time.


Toni Smith is a first year graduate student in the Psychology Department’s Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience program. She graduated with a B.S. in cognitive science at the University of Connecticut in fall 2018, where she was an undergraduate research assistant in the Music Dynamics Lab. While there, she conducted research on synchronization and pitch-induced temporal illusions for her honors thesis. In the TAP Lab she will be starting out on the SPiN project, looking at how different contexts affect the role of entrainment in perceiving speech in difficult listening situations. In her free time, she enjoys reading, dancing, horseback riding, and going to concerts.

Gerardo Lopez (Gerry) is a graduate student in the Music Theory program here at MSU. A recent addition to the lab, he is interested in exploring topics within music cognition and is looking forward to getting involved with the Narrative Listening and Tempo projects. Aside from his academic interests, he’s trained as a classical flutist and also enjoys the occasional Calvin and Hobbes comic strip.

Zachary Lookenbill is a graduate student in Music Theory at Michigan State. His research interests include the perception of rhythm and meter, specifically metrical dissonances like polyrhythms and hemiola. He plans on working on the Tempo project in the TAP lab. Outside of music cognition, Zach enjoys listening to and playing piano music of Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff. On the very rare occasion that he isn’t studying music, he’s often cooking, running, or playing disc golf.

Samantha Waddell (Sam) is a first year MM Music Theory student from Evansville, IN, and a new member of the TAP lab. She will be contributing to the Narrative project and is interested to learn more about the perception of music. Outside of the classroom, she likes to take her cat on walks and play piano.

Zachary Lloyd is a second-year graduate student at Michigan State University working towards completing a master’s degree in Music Theory, with a previous degree in music theory and composition, as well as piano performance. His current research interests include rhythm and meter, music cognition and perception, musical theater, and music theory pedagogy. As a new member of the lab, Zachary is interesting in assisting with the Tempo Project.


Kelly Russell is a senior studying Neuroscience and Psychology. She is currently investigating rhythm processing deficits in adults who stutter, as well as tapping strategies that emerge when entraining to slower tempos. Kelly is also the director for the Roial Improv Players, and she plans to attend medical school after undergrad.

Paul Clancy is a junior from South Lyon, MI pursuing a major in Neuroscience and Physiology. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he hopes to attend medical school. He works at TAPlab at the Social Media Chair, and in his free time he enjoys playing piano.

Becca Vroegop is a junior from Stevensville, Michigan pursuing majors in Health & Society and Psychology with a minor in International Development. She is presently involved in the SpIN project investigating speech perception in difficult listening conditions.

Gabby Kindig is a third year studying psychology and political science, with minors in Spanish and Women’s and Gender Studies. She’s on the Narrative Listening project, which looks at the ways people narratively perceive instrumental music. In her free time, Gabby enjoys ballroom dancing, befriending dogs, and writing, and she plans to go into politics after college.

Anusha Mamidipaka is a sophomore in Lyman Briggs studying Neuroscience with an additional major in Psychology and minors in Graphic Design and Spanish. She is involved with the SPiN project, which investigates speech perception in difficult listening conditions. After she graduates, she plans to attend medical school. On campus, she is the art managing editor for the Red Cedar Review and is also involved with AMSA and HSTAR.

Alison Eberle is a junior from Romeo, Michigan studying Experience Architecture with a minor in German. She is currently a part of the SPiN project, investigating speech perception in difficult listening conditions.

Shubhangi Sharma is a Sophomore from Gurnee, Illinois who is studying Genomics and Molecular Genetics. She is currently involved with the Rhythm and Language project in order to study the effect of prosody on language.

Cynthia Sridhar is a freshman from Los Angeles, California studying Neuroscience. In her free time she loves hanging out with friends and eating acai bowls.  She’s interested in Dr. McAuley’s research, hopes to learn more about rhythm and cognition, and is excited for the upcoming year!

Jewelian Fairchild is a sophomore majoring in psychology and minoring in Human Behavior and Social Services. She is currently involved with the Narrative Listening project which studies the role of narrative listening in music perception. She plans to attend graduate school to pursue a career as a clinical psychologist.

Jessica Truong is a freshman who is majoring in Criminal Justice but is interested in the topics of psychology. She enjoys playing music, drawing, and spending time with her friends in her free time. She is hoping to learn a lot during her time helping Dr. McAuley.

Nicole Boog is a senior from Haslett, MI pursuing a major in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Science. She is also a Research Assistant in MSU’s Prenatal Stress Study. After graduating, she hopes to continue her education in a Clinical Psychology program with a specialization in Neuropsychology. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and family.

Rebecca Guei is a senior Psychology major. She is currently investigating the influence of primed and chronic regulatory focus in the evaluation of political messages. Rebecca is also the coordinator for the peer mentorship program for international students in the Honors College. She plans to go to grad school after her May graduation.

William Quackenbush is a senior in Lyman Briggs majoring in Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience and minoring in Music. He is currently working on the Slow Tapping project to better understand the relationships between rhythm processing and adults who have stutters. After he graduates, he plans to go to graduate school for neuroscience. He is fascinated with music therapy and music’s role as a language for those who are autistic and unable to verbally communicate. In his free time, he loves to play violin and travel.

Nathalie Nordan is a sophomore student majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in music. She plays piano as her primary instrument, and enjoys reading (anything and everything). She is also learning the bass guitar, and loves to learn new things everyday. She loves music cognition and has always wanted to study it. She is interested in the Tempo project and hopes to learn more about it.

Alperen Ekinci is a junior studying psychology from Istanbul, Turkey. He is currently involved with Slow Tapping Project. He is interested in artificial intelligence and time perception. After he graduates, he plans to go to graduate school for Cognitive Science. He wants to gain experience in the field of timing and perception. In his free time, he enjoys playing chess and travelling.

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Lab Affiliates

  • Zach Hambrick, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • Melissa Allman, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • Jason Moser, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • Juli Wade, Ph.D., Michigan State University

Other Institutions

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Michigan State University

  • Audrey Drotos, 2019
  • Sarah Dec, 2019
  • Elizabeth Wieland
  • Marilyn Zahrt, 2019
  • Stacey Rowland, 2017
  • Alyssa Cleland, 2017
  • Klea Doko, 2017
  • Vixey Silva, 2017
  • Lauren J. Amick, M.A., 2017
  • Elisa K. Fromboluti, Ph.D., 2016
  • Courtney Cox, 2016
  • Audrianna St. Germain, 2016
  • Sara Dziubek, 2015
  • Monique Daignault, 2015
  • Jayson Winsor, 2015
  • Katherine Jones, M.S., 2015
  • Emily LaPlante, 2015
  • Joshua Lucksom, 2014
  • Bradley Seegert, 2014
  • Joshua Linkowski, 2014
  • Joshua Hamilton, 2014
  • Katie Centurione, 2014
  • Karli Nave, B.S., 2014
  • Jon Walters, B.S., 2014
  • Trisha Zdziarska, B.S., 2014
  • Breanna Borg, 2014
  • Abid Ahmad, 2014
  • Neelima Wagley, B.S., 2013
  • Brad Perry, B.S., 2013
  • Prashanth Rajarajan, B.S., 2013
  • Ashley Elliston, 2013
  • Ben Mastay, 2012
  • Alan Wedd, M.S., 2012
  • Ben Syzek, 2012
  • Jessica Wallace, 2012
  • Krista Bur, B.A., 2012
  • Patrick Engler, B.A., 2012
  • Erica Koelzer, B.A., 2012
  • Liza Kustantin, 2011
  • Amelia Wiggins, B.S., 2011
  • Lauren Zielinski, B.S. 2011
  • Brian Spyke, B.S., 2010

Bowling Green State University

  • Elina Banzina, Ph.D., 2012
  • Thomas J. Donahue, 2011
  • Amanda Stewart, 2011
  • Molly Henry, Ph.D., 2011
  • Alyssa Cain, 2010
  • Jennifer Vogt, B.S., 2010
  • Nathan Miller, Ph.D., 2010
  • Tracey Raybourn, M.A., 2010
  • Samantha Tuft, B.A., 2010
  • Louis Vinke, M.A., 2010
  • Brian Grushcow, B.A., 2009
  • Nicholas Steuver, B.S., 2009
  • Marta Zaleha, B.A., 2007
  • Steven Borawski, M.A., 2006
  • Laren Conklin, B.S., 2006
  • Deborah Frater, B.S., 2006
  • Allison Skinner, B.S., 2006
  • Jonathan P. Miller, Ph.D., 2005
  • Chris Ayala, M.A., 2004
  • Josie Bostleman, B.S.
  • Lori Curtindale, M.A., 2007
  • Laura Fuhr, B.S.
  • Laura Krauss, B.S.
  • Ann Mary Mercier, M.A., 2007
  • Kelly Miller, B.S.
  • Chris Trimmer, B.S.
  • Kelly Rider
  • Jacqueline Toft
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