Eric Ruthruff

Associate Professor

Area Head Cognition, Brain & Behavior

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

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

Maquestiaux, F., Ruthruff, E., Defer, A., Ibrahime, S. (2018). Dual-task automatization: The key role of sensory-motor modality compatibility. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, 80, 752-772.

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

Keller, J., Ruthruff, E., Keller, P.S. (2017). Mindfulness and divergent thinking: The value of heart rate variability as an objective manipulation check. Universal Journal of Psychology, 5(3), 95-104. doi: 10.13189/ujp.2017.050301

Gaspelin, N., Ruthruff, E., & Lien, M.-C. (2016). The Problem of Latent Attentional Capture: Easy Visual Search Conceals Capture by Task-Irrelevant Abrupt onsets. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42, 1104-1120.

Johnston, J. C., Ruthruff, E., and Lien, M.-C. (2015). Visual information processing from multiple displays. Human Factors, 57, 276-297.

Gaspelin, N., Margett-Jordan, T., & Ruthruff, E. (2015). Susceptible to distraction: Children lack top-down control over spatial attention capture.  Psychnomic Bulletin & Review, 21, 461-468.

Gaspelin, N., Jung, K., & Ruthruff, E. (2014). Slippage theory and the flanker paradigm: An early-selection account of selective attention failures. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40, 1257-1273.

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 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:

Josh Maxwell
Danielle Sanchez-Combs