Todd A. Kahan

Professor of Psychology



Pettengill Hall, Room 367


People must attend to, perceive, and store into memory an enormous amount of visual input on a daily basis. However, the way in which these seemingly simple tasks are accomplished remains somewhat of a mystery. Part of this mystery arises because attention, perception, memory and language are so highly interconnected they are often hard to disentangle. Professor Kahan’s research focuses on the interplay between these cognitive functions.  He is conducting research examining: object substitution masking, object trimming, attentional capture, the attentional blink phenomenon, both semantic and repetition priming, negative priming, Stroop interference, and other visual paradigms which may help to clarify the interconnected roles of attention, perception, and memory.

Summary of Interests

  • Visual perception and masking
  • Word recognition processes involved in reading
  • Selective attention
  • Semantic priming
  • Implicit and explicit memory


  • B.S. Psychology, Syracuse University (1992)
  • Ph.D. Cognitive Psychology, University at Albany, State University of New York (1998)


  • James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellowship 2014-2015.
  • Charles F. and Evelyn M. Phillips Faculty Fellowship, 2007.
  • New Investigator Award in Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition; American Psychological Association, Division of Experimental Psychology, 2001.

Editorial Boards

  • Associate Editor:
    Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics (2015-2020)
  • Contributing Editor:
    Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance (2012-present)

Courses Taught

  • PSYC s19 Animal Cognition: Exploring the Minds of Birds, Bees, Chimps, and Dolphins
  • PSYC 101 Principles of Psychology
  • PSYC 218 Statistical Methods 
  • PSYC 230 Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC 261 Research Methodology 
  • PSYC 302 Sensation and Perception
  • PSYC 374 The Psychology of Language

Recent Publications

For a complete listing of publications and abstracts, or to request publications, click here.

* indicates Bates student

  • Kahan, T. A., & *Smith. Z. P. (in press). Effects of Alerting Signals on the Spatial Stroop Effect: Evidence for Modality Differences. Psychological Research.
  • *Savino, G. E., & Kahan, T. A. (2023). Target-mask similarity affects both object substitution masking and object recovery. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 49(2), 263–275.
  • Kahan, T. A., Slowiaczek, L. M., *Harrison, A. C. M., & *Bogue, C. M. (2022). Temporal and sequential negative priming generalize across visual and auditory modalities and are dependent on relative rather than absolute speed. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
  • *Patterson, L., & Kahan, T. A. (2022). Is the alerting-congruency interaction that is seen in experiments with stimulus-response motor associations moderated by a concurrent working-memory load? Acta Psychologica, 225, 1-11.
  • Kahan, T. A., Slowiaczek, L. M., *Scott, N., & Pfohl, B. T. (2021). Word frequency does not moderate the degree to which people can selectively attend to parts of visually presented words. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 74(3), 573–581.
  • Kahan, T. A., Slowiaczek, L. M., *Altschuler, M. R., & *Harrison, A. C. M. (2020). Temporal negative priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 149(2), 275–289.
  • Kahan, T. A., & *Zhang, H. (2019). Ready to be distracted: Further evidence that the alerting-congruency interaction requires stimulus-response directional associations. Visual Cognition, 27(9–10), 760–767.
  •  *Patterson, E. E., & Kahan, T. A. (2019). Precrastination and the cognitive-load-reduction (clear) hypothesis. Memory.
  •  Kahan, T. A. (2016). What dot-based masking effects can tell us about visual cognition: A selective review of masking effects at the whole-object and edge-based levels. B. H. Ross (Ed.) The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Vol. 64.
  • *Choi, H., *Connor, C. B., *Wason, S. E., & Kahan, T. A. (2016). The effects of interdependent and independent priming on Western participants’ ability to perceive changes in visual scenes. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology47(1), 97–108.