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Sarah Starling, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Dr. Starling received a BA in psychology and music (2005) from Amherst College and her MA and Ph.D. in brain and cognitive sciences (2012) from the University of Rochester.

Her dissertation explored probability learning in preschoolers and adults. This research focused on the different ways in which children and adults respond to, and learn from, inconsistent information in their environment.

Other areas of research interest include language acquisition, music cognition, statistical learning, cross-modal perception, and whatever topics her students are excited to explore.

Dr. Starling currently serves as a member of the DeSales IRB and as faculty advisor to the DeSales Psychology Club and the DeSales chapter of Psi Chi. 

Courses Taught at DeSales University:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Human Development
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Research Methods
  • Language Acquisition
  • Independent Research
  • Music and the Mind

Representative Publications and Presentations:

  • Starling, S. J., & Snyder, K. (2018). Cna Uoy Raed Thsi Nwo? Contextual and Stimulus Effects on Decoding Scrambled Words. The Psi Chi Journal of Psychology, 23, 237-250. **Collaboration with a DeSales student.
  • Starling, S. J., Reeder, P. A., & Aslin, R. N. (2018). Probability Learning in an Uncertain World: How Children Adjust to Changing Contingencies. Cognitive Development, 48, 105-116.
  • Starling, D. J., & Starling, S. J. (2017). Tie Goes to the Runner: The Physics and Psychology of a Close Play. The Physics teacher, 55, 200-203.
  • Schulkind, M. D., & Davis, S. J.  (2013). The cohort model of melody identification: evaluating primacy and similarity.  Psychology of Music, 41(4), 422-439.
  • Davis, S. J., Newport, E. L., & Aslin, R. N. (2011). Probability-matching in 10-month-old infants. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (3011-3015).

Recent Research Works in Collaboration with Undergraduate Psychology majors at DeSales University:

  • An examination of cognitive control in video gamers and athletes
  • The effect of background music on task performance
  • An examination of the relationship between altruism and visual perception
  • The effects of social media use on self-esteem
  • The effects of humor on retention of content in a PowerPoint presentation
  • The effects of background language on a spatial rotation task