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Teso Group @ ASDRP

Neuroscience, Psychology, and Cognitive Science

Joshua Teso
Research Advisor
Joshua Teso received his BA in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz. During his undergraduate education Joshua conducted research in various disciplines including cognitive psychology, education, kinesiology, and neuroscience. As a research he is generally interested in investigating cognitive function and dysfunction through the application of psychological and neuroscientific techniques. Joshua is currently pursuing new research opportunities, he plans to attend graduate school in the future.
At ASDRP the Teso research group is interested in exploring the psychology of human behavior and cognition. To assess behavior and cognition multiple disciplinary perspectives are linked including cognitive psychology, criminal psychology, sociology, and public health.
Robot Hand

The Rubber Hand Illusion & Dynamic Touch

In 1998 Botvinick and Cohen published a research article describing a novel and captivating illusion called the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI) where fully cognizant participants came to embody a rubber hand as if it were their own appendage. In the original study researchers used a paint brush to induce the sensation of touch. The purpose of this study would be to explore if water acting as a dynamic tactile stimulus (rather than a brush) can also induce the RHI. To investigate this question, we would replicate previous RHI prototypes with one major difference, we would use water to induce the sensation of touch. For the purposes of this study participants would experience three variations of tactile stimulation in the form of a liquid stream, drop, and spray. The RHI is often measured subjectively with questionnaires and objectively with a Proprioceptive Drift scale (PDS). When evaluating questionnaires and average PDS scores participants should be biased towards the fake rubber hand. If our data maps onto our predicted results, this would imply that the RHI can be induced by a wider range of tactile stimulus than what has previously been theorized. 

Portrait of Young Man

Hardship and Locus of Control

Within psychology, Locus of Control has long been considered to be an important aspect of individual personality. The concept of a Locus of Control was first developed by American Psychologist Julian Rotter in the late 1950s (Rotter, 1966). Rotter described two types of control, Internal Locus of Control (ILC) and External Locus of Control (ELC). Whereas ILC identification is associated with perceiving the self as in control of “fate” ELC is associated with people who believe that their “fate” is out of their control. Importantly, an internal locus of control has long been associated with higher academic success and is considered to be an indicator of wellbeing in youth. However, research efforts have largely focused on assessing the Locus of Control of older individuals such as college students. For example, researchers have found that, among college students those with high income levels have more inner control than students with low and middle income levels. For this research project using survey data I would like to explore if hardship experienced among San Jose high school students is related to lower ILC scores. 

Race Car Driver

Social Media and Eyewitness Memory

The criminal justice system often places a high reliance on eyewitness testimony because we assume that human memory is rarely faulty. However, the research says otherwise, rather than recording experiences flawlessly eyewitness memories are highly susceptible to numerous memory errors and biases. Cognitive psychologist Elizabeth Loftus is largely credited for popularizing the idea of false eyewitness memory. In one of her early experiments Lotus (1974) asked two groups to view the same car crash video. The two groups were subsequently asked how fast the car was traveling in the video. Both groups received the same question with one key variation, the verb used to describe the moment of impact. Astonishingly, depending on the verb used to describe the accident - Contacted, Smashed- Bumped - the average estimation of speed between the two groups differed as much as 10 MPH. Since this landmark finding researchers have investigated how misinformation, leading questions, memory errors, and memory biases denigrate eyewitness testimony. In this experiment, we will discuss the most common types of memory errors, why they occur, and what they can tell us about human memory and its interactions with the legal system. We will also build upon current research by investigating the extent to which misinformation in the form of social media videos viewed directly after the occurrence of a car crash hinders recall.