Welcome to Beyond Categories! The webpage for  Dr. Cindy M. Bukach’s Cognitive Neuroscience lab at the University of Richmond.

Research conducted in the Beyond Categories lab is centered around five main themes: Expertise, Face and Object Recognition, the Other Race Effect, Prosopagnosia, and the PURSUE project. The focus of this research is interested in determining how task demands, stimulus properties, neural biases, social context, and personal experience interact and affect neural and behavioral performance. Our general projects seek to answer the following three questions:

  • What are the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie perceptual expertise for categories such as faces, cars, and language?
  • How does expertise develop and what determines how expertise transfers between categories (for both object categories and languages)?
  • How do perceptual and social factors interact to produce the other-race-effect (better recognition for own than other race faces)?

Here in the lab we use both behavioral measures (typically computerized tasks), and electrophysiology (i.e., EEG). The EEG equipment measures changes in scalp voltage that reflect underlying neural activity. As neurons respond to events and task demands, the electrical signals produced by the neurons can be measured by sensors placed on the scalp, resulting in a wave that fluctuates between negative and positive polarity at each sensor. This enables us to detect the underlying neural responses that are not obvious in behavioral measures alone.

Additionally, we hope to build our own database of face stimuli. Since the lab has recently relocated to a renovated space in Richmond Hall, we are currently working on developing the photolab and recruiting participants. We hope to recruit professional actors to be photographed and become a part of our compiled stimuli set.

Congratulations to Dr. Mishra!

The Beyond Categories Lab is so excited to announce that Dr. Mishra has been selected as a new member for the Vision Sciences Society's Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee! This committee advises the VSS board on a variety of topics to positively influence...

Spring 2022 PSYC300 Poster Session

The PSYC 300 students did an amazing job presenting their EEG research at the PSYC 300 Poster Session. The Beyond Categories Lab is incredibly proud of the hard work they put into their projects! Below are the poster titles and presenters: The Impact of...

Arts & Sciences Symposium – Spring 2022

The Beyond Categories Lab senior researchers presented on their theses and honors projects at the annual Arts & Sciences Symposium. We look forward to witnessing their post-grad successes! See the presenters and their poster titles below:An Evaluation...

Fall 2021 PSYC300 Poster Session

This semester, the Beyond Categories Lab had, as always, an amazing group of students. The students in the PSYC 300 course not only won the Methods Bowl, but also did an incredible job presenting their research at the PSYC 300 Final Poster Session....

Timeline – Our Lab in Motion

Data Processing Workshop in the Outer Banks, NC

The Beyond Categories Lab went to Corolla, NC for a week-long workshop on processing data in MATLAB. We learned so much about processing EEG data and how to write scripts in MATLAB. For the remainder of the summer, we’re working on adapting what we learned at the workshop so we can process data from other experiments. Scripting allows us to automate the steps of data processing across several subjects and saves us the time (and human error) it would take to do 300 subjects’ data by hand.

We also spent some time on the beach 🙂

Vision Sciences Society Conference in St. Pete’s Beach, FL

Select members of the lab had the opportunity to present their research at the Vision Sciences Society Conference in Florida. Attending students were Glenn Rose, Thalia Viranda, Christopher Cotter, Jane Song, and Kendall Stewart. We got to see lots of fascinating posters and talks and we connected with other researchers in the field. This was an amazing opportunity and we had a great time!

Individual differences in attractiveness perception predict social inferences, but not all altruistic desires. Glenn Rose, Ting Chen, Edwin Burns, Cindy Bukach. VSS Conference, 2019.

A quick read: affective empathy reduces the time to recognize identity in video morphs. Pascaline Munezero, Olivia Stibolt, Kendall Stewart, Thalia Viranda, Christopher Cotter, Cindy Bukach. VSS Conference, 2019.

Spring 2019 poster sessions

The Beyond Categories Lab’s students had the opportunity to present their research at the Arts & Sciences Student Symposium and at the PSYC 300 Final Poster Session. Everyone put so much hard work into their projects and posters!


Individual differences in attractiveness perception predict social inferences, but not all altruistic desires. Glenn Rose, Ting Chen, Edwin Burns, Cindy Bukach. A&S Symposium.

Time course of visual word processing: An internet-based crowdsourced study. Aalok Sathe, Ting Chen, Olivia Stibolt, Matthew Lowder, Cindy Bukach. A&S Symposium.

Zooming in: Investigating how the removal of external facial features affect other-race processing. Callie Cinque, Kendall Stewart, Elijah Meisel, Olivia Stibolt, Cindy Bukach. A&S Symposium.

Examining the impact of trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on neural measures of vigilance. Christopher Cotter, Callie Cinque, Kendall Stewart, Kira Bartnick, Jane Song, Cindy Bukach. A&S Symposium and PSYC300 Session.

Individual differences in the P300 ERP component. Eliz Akin, Kira Bartnick, Alee Bonham, Cindy Bukach. A&S Symposium and PSYC300 Session.

Understanding the neural source of the Other-Race Effect and Angry Black Bias. Jane Song, Eliz Akin, Nadia Bukach, Christopher Cotter, Cindy Bukach. PSYC300 Session.

PSYC300 Poster session- Fall 2018

Christopher Cotter, Jane Song, Pascaline Munezero, and Kendall Stewart presented their research at the PSYC300 Final Poster Session and End-of-Year Celebration. These students did a fantastic job with their posters and we’re very excited to see them continue their projects!


Chris and Jane’s poster title: Uncovering the Neural Source of the Angry Black Bias through Electrophysiology: Data Preprocessing Steps

Pascaline’s poster title: A Quick Read: Affective Empathy Reduces the Time to Recognize Identity in Video Morphs

Kendall’s poster title: Interactive Neuroscience: Creating a Database to Demonstrate Difficult Concepts through Student-Faculty Collaboration

Picture Day in the Lab!

Today our lab members took portrait photos in the lab. One thing that we emphasize in the Beyond Categories lab is a professional experience. The photos we took today are on our website, but can be used by lab members for their own professional development. Check the Our Team page to meet our lab members!