Valerie Beck

Valerie Beck, Ph.D.

Scientist
Human Factors
Philadelphia

Dr. Beck is a cognitive psychologist with expertise in human cognition and perception, particularly visual attention and memory. Her experience and skillset enable her to evaluate critical human factors issues such as safety and hazard warnings, consumer product use and interactions, and human behavior in various accident contexts involving motor vehicles, pedestrians, occupational environments, recreational equipment, and slip-and-fall incidents. Dr. Beck has more than 10 years of experience as a researcher conducting human subject studies utilizing a variety of empirical methods and statistical techniques. She applies this extensive experience when evaluating and informing clients’ questions regarding human behavior and influential factors.

Dr. Beck earned her Ph.D. from the department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa where she designed and executed several studies investigating how features in memory interact with and guide attention toward relevant objects or away from irrelevant objects. Characterizing this relationship between visual working memory and attentional guidance is critical for understanding how every day visual search tasks are carried out. For example, every day we perform any number of visual search tasks: looking for keys on a table, a book on a shelf, or a friend in a crowd. Despite how trivial these tasks may seem, it requires several complex component processes: interpretation of the visual scene, identification of relevant features to search for, and recognition of the target object once it is encountered. Specifying how this process works is critical to high-stakes real-world search tasks such as diagnostic radiology, luggage screening, and satellite image analysis, among others. Behavioral and eye movement data were used to understand how attention and memory systems interact to complete various computer tasks. As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Delaware, she designed and executed a combined neuroimaging and eye movement study to examine the neural correlates of the interaction between attention and memory systems.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Iowa, 2016
  • B.A., Psychology, Reed College, 2003
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Delaware, 2016-2018

    National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2011-2014)

    University of Iowa J.R. Simon Early Scholarship Potential Award (2012)

    University of Iowa Charlotte K. Wentworth Travel Award (2011)

Publications

Beck, V.M. and Vickery, T.J. (in press). Multiple states in visual working memory: Evidence from oculomotor capture by memory-matching distractors. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Beck, V.M. and Vickery, T.J. (in press). Oculomotor capture reveals trial-by-trial neural correlates of attentional guidance by contents of visual working memory. Cortex.

Bahle, B., Beck, V.M., and Hollingworth, A. (2018). The architecture of interaction between visual working memory and visual attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 44(7): 992-1011.

Beck, V.M., Luck, S.J., Hollingworth, A. (2017). Whatever you do, don’t look at the… Evaluating guidance by an exclusionary attentional template. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 44(4), 645-662.

Beck, V.M. and Hollingworth, A. (2017) Competition in saccade target selection reveals attentional guidance by simultaneously active visual working memory representations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 43(2): 225-230.

Hollingworth, A. & Beck, V.M. (2016) Memory-based attention capture when multiple items are maintained in visual working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 42(7): 911-917.

Beck, V.M. & Hollingworth, A. (2015) Evidence for negative feature guidance in visual search is explained by spatial recoding. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 41(5): 1190-6.

Luck, S.J., McClenon, C., Beck, V.M., Hollingworth, A., Leonard, C.J., Hahn, B., Robinson, B.M., & Gold, J.M. (2014) Hyperfocusing in schizophrenia: Evidence from interactions between working memory and eye movements. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 123(4): 783-95.

Beck, V.M., Hollingworth, A., and Luck, S.J. (2012) Simultaneous control of attention by multiple working memory representations. Psychological Science. 23(8): 887-98.

Kappenman, E.S., Kaiser, S.T., Robinson, B.M., Morris, S.E., Hahn, B., Beck, V.M., Leonard, C.J., Gold, J.M., and Luck, S.J. (2012). Response activation impairments in schizophrenia: Evidence from the lateralized readiness potential. Psychophysiology. 49(1): 73-84.

Hahn, B., Hollingworth, A., Robinson, B.M., Kaiser, S.T., Leonard, C.J., Beck, V.M., Kappenman, E.S., Luck, S.J., and Gold, J.M. (2012). Control of working memory content in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research. 134(1): 70-5.

Hahn, B., Robinson, B.M., Kaiser, S.T., Harvey, A.N., Beck, V.M., Leonard, C.J., Kappenman, E.S., Luck, S.J., and Gold, J.M. (2010). Failure of schizophrenia patients to overcome salient distractors during working memory encoding. Biological Psychiatry. 68(7): 603-609.

Gold, J.M., Hahn, B., Zhang, W.W., Robinson, B.M., Kappenman, E.S., Beck, V.M., and Luck, S.J. (2010). Reduced capacity but spared precision and maintenance of working memory representations in schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry. 67(6): 570-577.

Presentations

Beck, V.M. and Vickery, T.J. (May 2018). Reduced oculomotor capture by working memory contents under two- vs. one-item memory load suggests one item at a time is held in an active state. Poster presentation at the 2018 Vision Sciences Society meeting, St. Pete Beach, FL.

Beck, V.M. and Vickery, T.J. (November 2017). Oculomotor capture reveals trial-by-trial neural correlates of attentional guidance by contents of visual working memory. Poster presentation at the 2017 Society for Neuroscience meeting, Washington, D.C.

Beck, V.M. and Vickery, T.J. (May 2017). Neural evidence that values of task-irrelevant visual and motor features are tracked in a reward-based decision-making task. Poster presentation at the 2017 Vision Sciences Society meeting, St. Pete Beach, FL.

Beck, V.M., Bahle, B., and Hollingworth, A. (November 2016). The guidance of attention by multiple items in visual working memory. Talk presentation at the 2016 Psychonomic Society meeting, Boston, MA.

Beinhart, C., Beck, V.M., and Vickery, T.J. (November 2016). Learning to learn: Contextual cueing is enhanced by prior exposure to regularities in search configurations. Poster presentation at the 2016 Object Perception, Attention, & Memory conference, Boston, MA.

Bahle, B., Hollingworth, A., and Beck, V.M. (November 2016). The architecture of interaction between visual working memory and visual attention. Poster presentation at the 2016 Object Perception, Attention, & Memory conference, Boston, MA.

Beck, V.M., Leonard, C.J., Robinson, B.M., Hahn, B., Hollingworth, A., Gold, J.M., and Luck, S.J. (May 2016). People with Schizophrenia demonstrate more optimal feature-guided visual search in a probabilistic search task. Poster presentation at the 2016 Vision Sciences Society meeting, St. Pete Beach, FL.

Beck, V.M. and Hollingworth, A. (November 2015). Attentional guidance by simultaneously active visual working memory representations: Evidence from competition in saccade target selection. Poster presentation at the 2015 Object Perception, Attention, & Memory conference, Chicago, IL.

Beck, V.M. and Hollingworth, A. (August 2015). Attentional guidance by simultaneously active visual working memory representations: Evidence from competition in saccade target selection. Talk presentation at the 2015 European Conference on Visual Perception, Liverpool, England.

Beck, V.M. and Hollingworth, A. (August 2015). Attentional guidance by simultaneously active visual working memory representations: Evidence from competition in saccade target selection. Talk presentation at the 2015 European Conference on Eye Movements, Vienna, Austria.

Hollingworth, A. and Beck, V.M. (May 2015). Guidance of attention by multiple feature values in visual working memory. Poster presentation at the 2015 Vision Sciences Society meeting, St. Pete Beach, FL.

Beck, V.M. and Hollingworth, A. (November 2014). Template representations are buffered from perceptual and memorial interference during search. Poster presentation at the 2014 Object Perception, Attention, & Memory conference, Long Beach, CA.

Beck, V.M. and Hollingworth, A. (May 2014). Can attention be guided efficiently by a negative template? Poster presentation at the 2014 Vision Sciences Society meeting, St. Pete Beach, FL.

Beck, V.M. and Hollingworth, A. (September 2013). Template-based guidance in visual search is independent of influence from properties of currently or recently fixated objects. Poster presentation at the 2013 European Summer School on Eye Movements, Bonn, Germany.

Beck, V.M. and Hollingworth, A. (May 2013). Template-based guidance in visual search is independent of influence from properties of currently or recently fixated objects. Poster presentation at the 2013 Vision Sciences Society meeting, Naples, FL.

Beck, V.M., Hollingworth, A., and Luck, S.J. (May 2012). Simultaneous control of attention by multiple working memory representations. Talk presentation at the 2012 Vision Sciences Society meeting, Naples, FL.

Beck, V.M., Hollingworth, A., and Luck, S.J. (November 2011). Visual search is guided by multiple active templates in visual working memory. Poster presentation at the 2011 Object Perception, Attention, & Memory conference, Seattle, WA.

Beck, V.M., Luck, S.J., and Hollingworth, A. (May 2011). The implementation of an exclusionary attentional template: Effects of cue-stimulus delay, predictability of relevant features, and direct versus indirect cueing. Poster presentation at the 2011 Vision Sciences Society meeting, Naples, FL.

Beck, V.M., Luck, S.J., and Hollingworth, A. (November 2010). Whatever you do, don’t look at the … Exploring the parameters of an exclusionary attentional template. Talk presenation at the 2010 Object Perception, Attention, & Memory conference, St. Louis, MO.

Beck, V.M. and Luck, S.J. (May 2010). Guidance of attention during visual search – Can multiple attentional template operate concurrently? Poster presentation at the 2010 Vision Sciences Society meeting, Naples, FL.

Beck, V.M. and Luck, S.J. (May 2009). Temporal dynamics of the attentional template during visual search. Poster presentation at the 2009 Vision Sciences Society meeting, Naples, FL.

Professional Affiliations

Vision Sciences Society

Society for Neuroscience

Graduate Women in Science

Additional Information

Peer Reviewer

Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

Cortex

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition

Journal of Eye Movement Research

Visual Cognition

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Iowa, 2016
  • B.A., Psychology, Reed College, 2003
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Delaware, 2016-2018

    National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2011-2014)

    University of Iowa J.R. Simon Early Scholarship Potential Award (2012)

    University of Iowa Charlotte K. Wentworth Travel Award (2011)