I am currently a Research Psychologist at the Naval Medical Research Unit in Dayton, OH. The mission of NAMRU-D is to maximize warfighter performance and survivability. I am involved in two major lines of research toward this goal. First, I am investigating the cognitive factors that predict lethal force (shoot/don't shoot) decisions. The long-term goal is to utilize this information to develop better training methods and/or personnel selection criteria. Second, I am investigating neural signatures of hypoxia during cognitive performance. Subjective experience in low oxygen environments is highly variable and therefore identifying objective measures of symptoms and the effects on performance are critical. 


      In 2013 I earned my PhD from Temple University in the Brain & Cognitive Sciences program, working with Dr. Kim Curby and Dr. Jason Chein. As a graduate student, I studied how expertise influences visual perception, attention, and memory. Specifically, I investigated how experience with the complex visual environments present in action video games serves to enhance visual working memory ability.


      After earning my PhD, I spent 4 years as a postdoctoral fellow in  the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, working with Dr. Susan Courtney. There, I studied the neural basis of working memory for different types of visuospatial information. I then applied that knowledge to investigating the neural mechanisms that underlie working memory training.

Kara J. Blacker, Ph.D.

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