Motta-Mena
Natalie V. Motta-Mena, Ph.D.
Scientist
Human Factors
Houston

Dr. Motta-Mena has expertise in cognition, face perception, memory, perceptual biases, and human development. As a cognitive neuroscientist whose research focus includes the development of perceptual biases, she has evaluated the effects of attention and distraction, reaction time, and decision-making on human information processing and performance across the lifespan. Through her consulting practice and research, Dr. Motta-Mena analyzes human factors related to: child and adolescent behavior and safety; eyewitness perception and memory; automobile and pedestrian accidents; warnings and instructions; training and behavior of law enforcement officers; use of consumer and industrial products; and slips, trips, and falls.

Dr. Motta-Mena earned her Ph.D. and Master’s degrees in psychology with a specialization in cognitive neuroscience from the Pennsylvania State University. Her graduate research was supported by awards from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Mental Health, as well as institutional fellowships from the Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Motta-Mena is bilingual (native-speaker fluency in both Spanish and English), and has experience applying her language fluency across various contexts with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, 2018
  • M.S., Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, 2014
  • B.A., Psychology, Florida International University, 2011, magna cum laude
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, Penn State University, 2014-2018

    RGSO Dissertation Award, Penn State University, 2017

    Outstanding paper by a graduate student award, Penn State University, 2017

    National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Fellowship, Penn State University, April 2014, April 2015

Publications

*Published as Garcia, N.V.

Motta-Mena, N. V., & Scherf, K. S. Pubertal development shapes perception of complex facial expressions. Developmental Science, 20(4).

Scherf, K. S., Elbich, D. B., & Motta-Mena, N. V. Investigating the Influence of Biological Sex on the Behavioral and Neural Basis of Face Recognition. eNeuro, 4(2), ENEURO-0104.

*Whyte E.M., Behrmann M., Minshew N., Garcia N.V., & Scherf K.S. Animal, but not human, faces engage the distributed face network in adolescents with autism. Developmental Science, 19(2), 306-317. DOI: 10.1111/desc.12305

*Garcia N.V., & Scherf, K.S. Emerging sensitivity to socially complex expressions: A unique role for adolescence? Child Development Perspectives. 10.1111/cdep.12114

Motta-Mena, N. V., & Puts, D. A. Endocrinology of human female sexuality, mating, and reproductive behavior. Hormones and behavior, 91, 19-35.

Jünger, J., Motta-Mena, N. V., Cardenas, R., Bailey, D., Rosenfield, K.A., Schild, C., Penke, C., Puts, D.A. Do women’s preferences for masculine voices shift across the ovulatory cycle?

Puts, D.A., & Motta-Mena, N. V. Is human brain masculinization estrogen receptor- mediated? Reply to Luoto and Rantala. Hormones and behavior, 97, 3-4.

Presentations and Published Abstracts

Motta-Mena, N.V., Elbich, D.B., Duchaine, B. Scherf K.S. The Female Cambridge Face Memory Test (F-CFMT+). Journal of Vision, 17 (10), 841-841. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society. St. Pete Beach, Florida, May 2017.

Elbich, D.B. Motta-Mena, N.V., Scherf K.S. Similar Neural Network Topology for Men and Women During Face Recognition. Journal of Vision, 17 (10), 844-844. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society. St. Pete Beach, Florida, May 2017.

Motta-Mena, N.V., Picci, G., Scherf K.S. Dominance elicits the own-gender bias in males. Journal of Vision, 16 (12), 497-497. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society. St. Pete Beach, Florida, May 2016.

*Garcia N.V., & Scherf, K.S. Pubertal development and emerging sensitivity to complex facial expressions. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society. St. Pete Beach, Florida, May 2015.

Roman C.A.F., *Garcia N.V., & Arnett P.A. Structural correlates of emotion processing in multiple sclerosis. Poster presented at the International Neuropsychology Society annual meeting. Boston, Massachusetts, February 2016.

*Borusiewicz M., Elbich D., Garcia N.V., & Scherf K.S. Autistic social traits predict poor face recognition behavior in men but not women. Poster presented at annual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society. St. Pete Beach, Florida, May 2015.

*Garcia, N.V. An Introduction to Freesurfer. Invited methodological talk given at the Academic and Experimental Organization for Neuroscience Students meeting, Penn State University. April 2015.

*Garcia N.V. Sex differences in the functional topography of face processing. Invited talk given at the Neuroscience Student Society monthly meeting. Penn State University, September 2015.

*Garcia N.V. Using Freesurfer for structural analyses of the brain. Invited methodological talk given at the Brain, Language, and Computation Lab. Penn State University, February 2014.

*Garcia N. V., Elbich D., Unger A., Scherf K.S. Sex differences in the functional organization of face processing. Poster presented at annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. San Diego, California, November 2013.

Brown J. & Garcia N.V. Innovative teaching methods incorporating e-learning in communication courses. Poster presented at annual meeting of the Hawaii International Conference on Social Sciences. Honolulu, Hawaii.

Garcia N.V. Research in Developmental Psychobiology. Invited talk given at the Florida International University Psychology Research Conference. Miami, Florida.

Professional Affiliations

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

Society for Automotive Engineers

Society for Neuroscience

Vision Sciences Society

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, 2018
  • M.S., Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, 2014
  • B.A., Psychology, Florida International University, 2011, magna cum laude
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, Penn State University, 2014-2018

    RGSO Dissertation Award, Penn State University, 2017

    Outstanding paper by a graduate student award, Penn State University, 2017

    National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Fellowship, Penn State University, April 2014, April 2015