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 our Newest JSM Fellows!

Our lab has hired three new JSM Fellows! Callie has been a member of the lab since Spring 2017. Her dedication and attention to detail make Callie a fantastic mentor in the lab. Sarah has been a member of the lab since Fall 2015, and spent one semester abroad in New...

Dr. Bukach Named Endowed Trawick Chair of Psychology!

Dr. Bukach was recently honored with the MacEldin Dunn Trawick Endowed Chair of Psychology. Some information about the award: "Over the years, thoughtful and generous benefactors, wisely perceiving the critical importance to the University of Richmond of a strong...

Timeline – Our Lab in Motion

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!

Gingerbread House Competition!

We split into two teams and made a couple of masterpieces!

Team 1: Frosty the Snowman

Team 2: Minions


Our judges declared that the Minions were more creative, but the Frosty’s murder really brought mystery and intrigue to an otherwise fanciful abode – with competing strengths, it was declared a tie!


*Special thanks to our judges: Karyn Kuhn and Dr. Jane Berry!

Lab Trip to the Escape Room!

We took the lab to the Escape Room! It was MI6 vs. Russians. MI6 with the victory!

Participating Faculty Meeting

Six of the participating Faculty for the PURSUE project, and two of our collaborators (Jane Couperus and Cathy Reed) visited to work on PURSUE stuff!!


Dr. B and Zach dressed up as Gru and Dr. Nefario, respectively, for Halloween!

Visitor from the Kappenman Lab!

Jaclyn Farrens came to help us setup our new BrainVision ERP system, and to provide some tips/tricks to data collection and analysis with the new system.

Thanks, Jaclyn!