Jonathan Vaughan
315-859-4807 (fax)

Jonathan Vaughan

James L. Ferguson Professor of Psychology and Neurosecience. 

An experimental psychologist, Vaughan's research interests focus on the selection of motor movements; eye movements and attentional processes; learning and cognitive neuropsychology. His recent work has resulted in computational models that describe performance in tasks such as reaching, grasping, and tapping. Vaughan has collaborated with Penny L. Yee in facilitating the use of computer applications in psychological research, their most recent efforts being tutorial materials for using the PsyScope program for teaching and research in Cognitive Psychology. Vaughan has also been editor of the international quarterly, Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, published by the Psychonomic Society. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 2 and 6), and of the Association for Psychological Science.

Senior Projects

in Psychology and Neuroscience

Supervised by Jonathan Vaughan (for Fall, 2014 and Spring 2015)

Empirical projects with Vaughan will devote the fall semester to the integration of the existing literature in a particular area, the isolation of an appropriate question for further research, and the design and piloting of an experiment. The spring semester will be devoted to acquiring, analyzing and interpreting the data from the actual experiment.

Cognition and Motor Behavior

Empirical topics may be selected from areas related to the cognitive psychology and neuropsychology, broadly defined. Previous student projects have been directed at the planning of actions, including movements of the eyes and of the body; memory; attentional processes; and the embodiment of actions.

Cognition and Autism

Projects related to developmental disorders such as autism entail devoting the first semester to a literature review to develop a theoretical understanding of autism, its etiology, underlying physiology, and treatment.  The literature review is coupled with regular volunteer work at a local agency such as at the Clinton Elementary School or the Promise Program of the Kelberman Center.

Excellent fall-semester projects may be invited to extend an empirical study through the spring semester using the methods of Applied Behavior Analysis, Social Stories, and similar techniques that the agency (CES or Promise Program) is already using for individual cases. Projects in this area are ordinarily open only to students who have had experience working with children with special needs, who have the recommendation of Hamilton faculty as reliable independent students. A flexible academic schedule with free time through the noon hour on at least two class days, and regular transportation between campus and the project site are required. The number of placements in the local agencies is limited.

Representative Publications

Note: Hamilton Student co-authors listed in bold.

Vaughan, J., Barany, D. A., & Rios, T. (2012). The cost of moving with the left hand. Experimental Brain Research, 220, 11-22.

Vaughan, J., Barany, D. A., Sali, A. W., Jax, S. A., & Rosenbaum, D. A. (2010). Extending Fitts’ Law to three-dimensional obstacle-avoidance movements: support for the posture-based motion planning model. Experimental Brain Research, 207, 133–138. DOI: 10.1007/s00221-010-2431-z.

Rosenbaum, D. A., Cohen, R., Dawson, A., Jax, S. A., Meulenbroek, R. G. J., van der Wel, R. P. R. D., & Vaughan, J. (2009). The posture-based motion planning framework: New findings related to object manipulation, moving around obstacles, moving in three spatial dimensions, and haptic tracking. In Dagmar Sternad (Ed.), Progress in Motor Control – A Multidisciplinary Perspective. Springer.

Rosenbaum, D. A., Vaughan, J., Meulenbroek, R. G. J., Jax, S., & Cohen, R. (2009). Smart moves: The psychology of everyday perceptual-motor acts. In E. Morsella, J. A. Bargh, & P. M. Gollwitzer (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Human Action, pp. 121-135. New York: Oxford University Press.

Jax, S. A., Rosenbaum, D. A., & Vaughan, J. (2007). Extending Fitts's Law to manual obstacle avoidance.  Experimental Brain Research, 180, 775-779.

Vaughan, J., Rosenbaum, D. A., & Meulenbroek, R. G. J. (2006). Modeling reaching and manipulating in 2- and 3-D workspaces: The posture-based model.  Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Development and Learning, Indiana University.

Vaughan, J.  (2004). Editorial: A Web-Based Archive of Norms, Stimuli, and Data.  Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers. 36, 363-370.

Vaughan, J.  (2004). Writing a Successful AREA Proposal: Advice from a Case Study. CUR Quarterly, 24, 129-132.

Vaughan, J., Rosenbaum, D. A., and Meulenbroek, R. G. J. (2001). Planning reaching and grasping movements: The problem of obstacle avoidance. Motor Control, 5, 116-135.

Meulenbroek, R. G. J., Rosenbaum, D. A., Jansen, C., Vaughan, J., and Vogt, S. (2001). Multijoint grasping movements: Simulated and observed effects of object location, object size, and initial aperture.  Experimental Brain Research., 138, 219-234.

Rosenbaum, D. A., Meulenbroek, R. G. J., Vaughan, J., and Jansen, C. (2001). Posture-based motion planning: Applications to grasping. Psychological Review, 108, 709-734.

Yee, P. and Vaughan, J. (1999). A Web-accessible tutorial for PsyScope based on classic experiments in human cognition. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 31, 107-112.

Vaughan, J., Mattson, T. R., and Rosenbaum, D. A. (1998). The regulation of contact in rhythmic tapping. In Rosenbaum, D. A., and Collyer, C. E.,(Eds.) Timing of Behavior: Neural, Computational, and Psychological Perspectives. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Vaughan, J., Yee, P., Heisterkamp, C. E., Grey, A. L., and Mattson, T. R. (1997). PsySquash: A program for the analysis of PsyScope data files. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 29, 241-245.

Vaughan, J., Rosenbaum D. A., Diedrich, F. J., and Moore, C. M. (1996) . Cooperative selection of movements: The optimal selection model. Psychological Research/Psychologische Forshung, 58, 254-273.

Rosenbaum, D. A., Loukopoulos, L. D., Meulenbroek, R. G. J., Vaughan, J., and Engelbrecht, S. (1995). Planning reaches by evaluating stored postures. Psychological Review, 102, 28-67.

Vaughan, J. (1992). The dimensions of computing. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 24, 109-115. [Presidential address, Society for Computers in Psychology].

Honors and Awards

NSF predoctoral fellow, 1967-1970.
NIMH research grants, 1973-1981.
NSF Instructional Scientific Equipment Program grant , 1974-1976.
Margaret Bundy Scott Fellow, Hamilton College, Spring, 1976.
NSF Undergraduate Research Participation grant, 1976-1977.
NIMH National Research Service Award , 1981-1983.
President, Society for Computers in Psychology, 1990-91
NSF Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement Grant, 1993-95.
Christian A. Johnson Teaching Fellowship for Teaching Enhancement, 1998-99
Consulting Editor, Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 1990-.
Councilor, Council for Undergraduate Research, 1998-2001.