Cognitive Mechanics Lab

Welcome to the cognitive mechanics lab at UC Merced!  Our name derives from statistical mechanics, which is a branch of physics that relates microscopic interactions to their macroscopic properties and behaviors.  Our lab takes an analogous approach to cognitive systems.  We study how interactions between brain, body, and environment give rise to cognitive functions of various kinds. 

  • Behavioral:  Behaviors are macroscopic patterns that express cognitive functions like perception, attention, memory, and language. We conduct behavioral experiments to investigate the properties and principles of these patterns.

  • Neural:  Neurons are the primary elements in microscopic interactions that give rise to cognitive functions and their corresponding behavioral patterns. We analyze neural activity to investigate the flexible organization of behavioral patterns.

  • Computational:  Neural and behavioral processes can be theorized in terms of computations. We build computational models of neural interactions to simulate and test properties and principles of cognitive functions.


  • Professor Kello is on sabbatical starting August 1st for one year. He is visiting the Euromov Research Center located in Montpellier, France, to continue his work on power law fluctuations in the intrinsic dynamics of human behaviors, as well as new directions in foraging and critical branching networks.
  • Congrats to Drew Abney and Alexandra Paxton for their recent paper on complexity matching published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
  • Congrats to Priscilla Montez and Lilly Rigoli, two undergraduates who worked on projects in the lab that each become first author journal publications. Outstanding!
  • Here's a picture from 3rd International Workshop on The Brain: Criticality, Dynamics, Network and Function, held in September 2014 at Hughes Research Labs in Malibu, CA