Eric Ruthruff

Associate Professor

Area Head Cognition, Brain & Behavior

Photo: Eric Ruthruff
Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 1995
Personal Website
Lab Website

Research Area/s:

Cognition, Brain and Behavior

Research Interests:

  • Attention capture
  • Cognitive control
  • Automaticity
  • Emotion
  • Cognitive Training
  • Dual-task performance
  • Cognitive aging
  • Memory
  • EEG & Neuroscience
  • Mathematical modeling


Accepting students?  Dr. Ruthruff maybe accepting students for Fall 2023.  Please email Dr. Ruthruff if you are interested in pursuing graduate studies.

Cognitive psychology. In general, I am interested in how the mind controls itself. Specific research interests include spatial attention, task switching, and dual-task performance.

I am also interested in cognitive aging, neuroscience, and mathematical modeling. I am currently seeking a graduate student to begin in the Fall of 2019. Interested students are invited to contact me for further information about research opportunities.

Selected Publications

Maquestiaux, F. & Ruthruff, E. (in press). Testing the Over-Reliance on Central Attention (ORCA) Hypothesis: Do Older Adults Have Difficulty Automatizing Especially Easy Tasks? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Maxwell, J., Joseph, M., Ruthruff, E. (2021). Capacity-free automatic processing of facial expressions of emotion. Emotion.

Maxwell, J., Gaspelin, N., & Ruthruff E. (2021). No identification of abrupt onsets that capture attention: evidence against a unified model of spatial attention. Psychological Research, 85, 2119-2135.

Jung, K., Martin, T., & Ruthruff, E. (2021). Electrophysiological Examination of Response-Related Interference While Dual-Tasking: Is It Motoric or Attentional? Psychological Research, 85, 660-678.

Lien, M.C., Allen, P. A., & Ruthruff, E. (2021). Multiple Routes to Word Recognition: Evidence from Event-Related Potentials. Psychological Research, 85, 151-180.

Ruthruff, E., Faulks, M., Maxwell, J. W., & Gaspelin, N. (2020). Attentional dwelling and capture by color singletons. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, 82, 3048-3064.

Maquestiaux, F., Lyphout-Spitz, M, Ruthruff, E. (2020). Ideomotor compatibility enables automatic response selection. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 27, 742-450.

Ruthruff, E., Kuit, D., Maxwell, J. W., & Gaspelin, N. (2019). Can Capture by Abrupt Onsets be Suppressed? Visual Cognition, 27, 276-290. DOI:10.1080/13506285.2019.1604593

Ruthruff, E. & Gaspelin, N. (2018). Immunity to attentional capture at ignored locations. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, 80, 325-336. 10.3758/s13414-017-1440-4

Ruthruff, E., Lien, M.-C. (2017). Aging and Attention.  Encyclopedia of Geropsychology. doi:10.1007/978-981-287-080-3_227-1

Noosen, B., Lien, M.-C., and Ruthruff, E. (2014). An electrophysiological study of attention capture by salience: Does rarity enable capture? Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 3, 346-371.

Lien, M.-C., Taylor, R.; Ruthruff, E. (2014). Capture by fear revisited: An electrophysiological investigation. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25, 873-888.

Ruthruff, E. (2013). The Psychological Refractory Period. Encyclopedia of the Mind. Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks.

Gaspelin, N., Ruthruff, E., & Pashler, H. (2013). Divided attention: An undesirable difficulty in memory retention. Memory & Cognition, 41, 978-988.

Courses Taught

  • PSY 265 Cognitive Psychology

  • PSY 450 Belief in Weird Things

  • PSY 450/650 The Psychology of False Beliefs

  • PSY 450/650 Seminar on Attention

  • PSY 491/492 Senior Honors

  • PSY 561 Cognitive Processes


Former Students:

Julia Keller (2015) -- Assistant Professor at South Dakota State University
Nick Gaspelin (2014) -- Assistant Professor at SUNY-Binghamton
Kyung-Hun Jung (2013) -- Assistant Professor at Southern Polytechnic State University

Current Students:

Kamille Hackett
Josh Maxwell
Danielle Sanchez-Combs