Mary Jean Amon

Assistant Professor

Experimental Psychology Ph.D.
Experimental Psychology M.A.
Psychology in Education M.A.

Phone: (407) 882-1345

I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Modeling, Simulation, and Training at the University of Central Florida (UCF). I hold an M.A. and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Cincinnati, as well as an M.A. in Psychology in Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Before joining UCF, I was also a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington, as well as a Research Associate in the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Research approach
My interdisciplinary research is informed by topics in Cognitive Science, Complexity Science, and Computer Science. In particular, my work is informed by the idea that most of the human systems we study are complex systems that involve many interacting components, which are aptly described in terms of nonlinear dynamics.

I apply this approach to the study of complex, dynamic human-in-loop systems, where “human-in-loop systems” include multiparty collaborative problem-solving, social networks, human-plus-AI, human-within-VR, and other forms of human-computer and social interaction. This includes augmenting our understanding of teamwork and distributed cognitive systems by identifying coordinative patterns and features of socio-cognitive tasks that enhance performance, as well as how the dynamics of human-computer interaction inform issues associated with cybersecurity and online privacy.

A significant portion of my research is also devoted to the development and exploration of advanced analytic tools for capturing multimodal dynamics that characterize complex systems. I employ data analytic tools from nonlinear dynamics (esp. fractal methods, recurrence, sample entropy, wavelet, dynamical correlation, complexity matching), linear modeling (e.g. mixed-effects modeling), and qualitative analysis (e.g., grounded theory).

Teaching and mentoring approach
My role as an educator spans classroom, laboratory, and professional settings. In addition to teaching at the University of Central Florida, I enjoy mentoring students in the laboratory, where students gain hands-on research in the human-technology frontier. In line with my strong interest in education, I have also conducted numerous workshops promoting women, minorities, and first-generation students in the sciences. For example, I have designed, implemented, and evaluated workshops to promote women’s leadership in STEM disciplines, as well as career planning workshops for STEM students.