Kyle is a second year PhD student in psychology at CWRU, working primarily in the labs of Drs. Heath Demaree and Brooke Macnamara. Before coming to CWRU, he received his B.S. in Cognitive Science and Biopsychology from the University of Michigan, and served as a full time post-baccalaureate researcher in the labs of Drs. William Killgore and Vinod Menon, at the University of Arizona and Stanford University, respectively. He has studied the effects of psychological stress (i.e., peer pressure, monetary incentives), and physiological stress (i.e., sleep deprivation, mild electric shock) on complex cognitive performance, as well as the effects of domain-specific training and anxiety on neurodevelopmental trajectories in math learning.
At CWRU, Kyle is interested in the application of computational cognitive modeling methods in the study of learning, decision-making, and performance. Areas of interest include risk perception, the learning and maintenance of mental models, demand-accuracy tradeoffs, and the propensity to choke under threat, pressure, and fear. Along these lines, his current work includes:
1. Applications of drift-diffusion modeling in parsing exploration from exploitation behavior in affective decision-making.
2. Discrete motor chunking and its role in sequential motor learning and performance under acute stress and sleep deprivation.
3. Applications of hierarchical Bayesian models and partially observable Markov decision processes in dissociating model-based from model-free learning and decision-making.
Selected Recent Publications/Presentations:
LaFollette, KJ., Kotynski, AE., Merner, AR., Lim, R., Jiang, H., & Demaree, HA. (2021). Exposure to discrete emotions influences processes of evidence accumulation in reinforcement-learning. In T. Fitch, C., Lamm, H. Leder, & K. Teßmar-Raible (Eds.), Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Vienna, Austria: Cognitive Science Society. PDF
LaFollette, KJ.,Satterfield, BC., Lazar, MP., Killgore, WDS. (October, 2019).Disentangling the effects of subjective task load and performance on neuroendocrine stress response. Poster presented at the 49th Annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting, Chicago, IL.
LaFollette, KJ., Satterfield, BC., Esbit, S., Lazar, MP., Killgore, WDS. (August 2019). Inadequate sleep quality and duration predicts disinhibited shooting on a “shoot/no shoot” task. Poster presented at the 2019 Military Health System Research Symposium, Kissimmee, FL.
LaFollette, KJ., Satterfield, BC., Esbit, S., Lazar, MP., Grandner, MA., Killgore, WDS. (June, 2019). Negative mood and poor sleep are associated with altered moral reasoning under stress. Poster presented at the 33rd Annual SLEEP Meeting, San Antonio, TX.
LaFollette, KJ., Satterfield, BC., Lazar, MP., Killgore, WDS. (November, 2018). Attenuated model-based decision making is predictive of increased psychosocial stress reactivity. Poster presented at the Society for Judgment and Decision Making 39th Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.
I am primarily interested in how differences in perception and information processing lead to differences in planning and behavior. Currently, I am researching how differences in temporal discounting and creativity relate to differences in the exploration-exploitation tradeoff, which is a key animal survival behavior. Additionally, I am interested in the neuroscientific and evolutionary aspects of primary search-related survival behaviors such as hunting and planning.
I am broadly interested in the interaction between cognition and emotion. My current research focuses on the neural and physiological underpinnings of emotion regulation and how individual differences in executive functioning impact the ability to regulate emotion in both healthy populations, and those with various neurodegenerative diseases. Another line of my work examines the impact of neurmodulation–specifically Deep Brain Stimulation–on cognitive and emotional processes, and the neuroethical issues surrounding the use of neurotechnologies.
Merner, A. R., Frazier, T., Ford, P. J., Cooper, S. E., Machado, A., Lapin, B., … & Kubu, C. S. (2021). Changes in Patients’ Desired Control of Their Deep Brain Stimulation and Subjective Global Control Over the Course of Deep Brain Stimulation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 15, 69.
Wilt, J. A., Merner, A. R., Zeigler, J., Montpetite, M., & Kubu, C. S. (2021). Does Personality Change Follow Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson’s Disease Patients?. Frontiers in Psychology, 12.
Merner, A.R., Montpetite, M., Zeigler, J., Ford, P.J., & Kubu, C.S. (April, 2021) Personality changes following deep brain stimulation in patients with parkinson’s disease. Presented at the 7th annual BRAIN Initiative Investigator’s Meeting, Virtual.
Merner, A.R., Montpetite, M., Zeigler, J., Ford, P.J., & Kubu, C.S. (April, 2021) Is MRI-guided focused ultrasound non-invasive? Insight from qualitative analysis of internet sites. Presented at the 7th annual BRAIN Initiative Investigator’s Meeting, Virtual.
Merner, A.R., Jiang, H., Lim, R., Olejko, A.W., King, M.J., & Macnamara, B.N. (March, 2021). Relationships between depression, anxiety, and stress during COVID-19: A network modeling approach. Presented at the 33rd annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, Virtual.
Merner, A.R., Ford, P.J., & Kubu, C.S. (July, 2020) Relationship between patients’ desired control of their deep brain stimulator and subjective global control. Accepted for presentation at the annual meeting of the International Neuroethics Society, Virtual.
Merner, A.R., Montpetite M.M., Zeigler, J., Ford, P.J., Kubu, C.S. (June, 2020). Neuropsychological predictors of personality change in patients with Parkinson’s Disease and DBS. Accepted for presentation at the 6th annual BRAIN Initiative Investigators Meeting, Virtual.
Merner, A.R. & Demaree, H.A. (May, 2020) Working memory capacity predicts alcohol consumption via positive metacognitive beliefs about alcohol’s value in emotion regulation. Presented at the 32nd annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, Virtual.
Merner, A.R. (2020). Managing productivity in the time of COVID-19. APS Observer 33(5).
Pace-Schott, E., Amole, M., Aue, T., Balconi, M., Bylsma, L., Critchley, H., Demaree, H.A., Friedman, B., Kotynski Gooding, A.E., Gosseries, O., Jovanovic, T., Kirby, L.A.J., Kozlowska, K., Laureys, S., Lowe, L., Magee, K., Marin, M.F., Merner, A.R., Robinson, J., Smith, R., Spangler, D., vanOverveld, M., VanElzakker, M. (2019). Physiological Feelings. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.
Kubu, C.S., Ford, P.J., Wilt, J.A., Merner, A.R., Montpetite, M., Zeigler, J., & Racine, E. (2019). The Importance of Interdisciplinary Teams in Investigating Personality Changes following DBS. Neuroethics.
Kubu, C.S., Merner, A.R., Montpetite, M.M., Zeigler, J., Ford, P.J. (April 2019). Personality Change in the context of Parkinson’s Disease: What do patients tell us? Presented at the 5th annual BRAIN Initiative Investigator’s Meeting, Washington, D.C.
Merner, A.R., Montpetite M.M., Zeigler, J., Ford, P.J., Kubu, C.S. (April 2019). Personality Change in the context of Parkinson’s Disease: What do standard clinical measures tell us? Presented at the 5th annual BRAIN Initiative Investigators Meeting, Washington, D.C.