Ruth S. Day

Ruth S. Day

Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Stanford University 1968


Cognitive processes in the laboratory and in everyday life.

Basic Cognition
A wide range of basic cognitive processes and their interconnections, especially perception, memory, comprehension, representation, and problem solving. Special emphasis on: 1) alternative mental representations (e.g., text, lists, outlines, matrices, trees, diagrams) and their effects on cognition; 2) linguistic codability (the ease with which people can name things and the effects of naming on cognition and action); 3) perception and interpretation of facial expressions and human movement; 4) individual differences in cognition (the distinction between "language-based" and "language-optional" individuals); 5) knowledge structures (what they are, how to measure them, how they vary across content domains and expertise).

Everday Cognition

Cognitive processes in everyday life, examined both in the everyday world and laboratory settings. Major projects include:  1) Medical Cognition (how healthcare providers and patients find, understand, remember and use medical information);  2) Courtroom Cognition (how judges, jurors, lawyers, and laypersons  understand legal documents and decide court cases);  3) Memory for Movement (how dancers and athletes learn, remember, and perform movement sequences); 4) Responsive Virtual Human Technology (how humans interact with virtual humans to learn new skills); 5) Cognition and Teaching (cognitive processes of professors and students across academic domains and their implications for teaching/learning).


For additional information, see:


Everyday cognition, medical cognition, psychology and law, memory for movement, education

Day, R. S., et al. “Alternative representations of side effects.” Applied Cognitive Psychology, 2010.

Hubal, Robert C., and Ruth S. Day. “Informed consent procedures: an experimental test using a virtual character in a dialog systems training application.Journal of Biomedical Informatics, vol. 39, no. 5, Oct. 2006, pp. 532–40. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jbi.2005.12.006. Full Text

Hubal, R., and R. S. Day. “Understanding the frequency and severity of side effects: Linguistic, numeric, and visual representations.” Aaai Spring Symposium  Technical Report, vol. SS-06-01, Aug. 2006, pp. 69–75.

Day, R. S. “Comprehension of prescription drug information: Overview of a research program.” Aaai Spring Symposium  Technical Report, vol. SS-06-01, Aug. 2006, pp. 24–33.

Hubal, R., and R. S. Day. “Understanding the Frequency and Severity of Side Effects: Patients vs. Medical Experts.” American Association of Artificial Intelligence, 2006.

Hubal, R. C., et al. “A synthetic character application for informed consent.” Aaai Fall Symposium  Technical Report, vol. FS-04-04, Dec. 2004, pp. 58–63.

Day, R. S. “Alternative representations.” Psychology of Learning and Motivation  Advances in Research and Theory, vol. 22, no. C, Jan. 1988, pp. 261–305. Scopus, doi:10.1016/S0079-7421(08)60043-2. Full Text

Blechner, M. J., et al. “Processing two dimensions of nonspeech stimuli: the auditory-phonetic distinction reconsidered.Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance, vol. 2, no. 2, May 1976, pp. 257–66. Epmc, doi:10.1037//0096-1523.2.2.257. Full Text

Wood, C. C., and R. S. Day. “Failure of selective attention to phonetic segments in consonant-vowel syllables.” Perception &Amp; Psychophysics, vol. 17, no. 4, July 1975, pp. 346–50. Scopus, doi:10.3758/BF03199344. Full Text

Wood, C. C., et al. “Auditory evoked potentials during speech perception.Science (New York, N.Y.), vol. 173, no. 4003, Sept. 1971, pp. 1248–51. Epmc, doi:10.1126/science.173.4003.1248. Full Text


Selected Grants

Promoting Safe and Effective Use of OTC Medications in Older Adults: Perception, Comprehension, Memory, and Decision Making awarded by Consumer Healthcare Products Association (Principal Investigator). 2014

Usability Testing of Model Medical Device Patient Labeling awarded by Food and Drug Administration (Principal Investigator). 1999 to 2001

Memory for Dance: Implications for Instruction awarded by Mary Duke Biddle Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1991 to 1992