Dr. Cindy Bukach

Cindy Bukach is an associate professor, department chair and MacEldin Trawick Endowed Professor of Psychology at University of Richmond where she teaches courses related to Cognitive Neuroscience.  A first-generation student, she returned to university at 28 where she discovered a passion for Cognitive Neuroscience.  She received her PhD in Psychology from University of Victoria, Canada in 2004, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University before beginning her career at University of Richmond in 2006.  She received the Understanding Human Cognition Scholar award in 2015 from the James S. McDonnell Foundation, and the Distinguished Educator Award from University of Richmond in 2017. She directs the Preparing Undergraduates for Research in STEM-related fields Using Electrophysiology (PURSUE) collaborative project funded by the National Science Foundation.

Bukach’s research examines general principles that underlie how category specificity emerges and changes over time and in different contexts, and the cortical dynamics of factors that influence categorization.  Her research program uses both behavior and electrophysiology to investigate how factors such as experience, context, and task demands interact with object properties and brain processing biases to produce a variety of category specific effects.

Her work has demonstrated that an inability to perceptually integrate multiple fine-level details in prosopagnosia affects both face and non-face recognition. She has also demonstrated that holistic processing, a marker of face specificity, underlies expert perceptual discrimination in multiple domains, including cars, birds, and alphabetic and non-alphabetic writing systems.

Currently, her research program is focused on how experience impacts categorization and generalization of expert skills.  In particular, she is interested in how research on factors that affect categorization and limits of expertise transfer can help us better understand and ameliorate racial bias and other race effects.