Marci DeCaro, PhD

Assistant Professor


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Vanderbilt University, 2009-2011

PhD, Miami University, 2009

Research Interests

My research focuses on the attention and memory mechanisms underlying complex skill acquisition and execution. In particular, I examine how cognitive and situational factors such as individual differences in working memory capacity and types of instruction impact how people learn and perform skills ranging from attention-demanding mathematical problem-solving to more proceduralized sensorimotor skills. The goal of this work is to advance theory underlying complex skill performance and to better inform educational practice.

Select Publications

A complete list, and links to full-text versions, can be found on my lab website.

  • Bellinger, D. B., DeCaro, M. S., & Ralston, P. A. S. (2015). Mindfulness, anxiety, and high-stakes mathematics performance in the laboratory and classroom. Consciousness and Cognition, 37, 123-132. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2015.9.001
  • DeCaro, M. S., Van Stockum, C. A. Jr., & Wieth, M. B. (2015). When higher working memory capacity hinders insight. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/xlm0000152
  • DeCaro, D. A., DeCaro, M. S., & Rittle-Johnson, B. (2015). Achievement motivation and knowledge development during exploratory learning. Learning and Individual Differences, 37, 13-26.
  • DeCaro, M. S., & Rittle-Johnson, B. (2012). Exploring mathematics problems prepares children to learn from instruction. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 113, 552-568.
  • DeCaro, M. S., Thomas, R. D., Albert, N. B., & Beilock, S. L. (2011). Choking under pressure: Multiple routes to skill failure. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140, 390-406.
  • DeCaro, M. S., Thomas, R. D., & Beilock, S. L. (2008). Individual differences in category learning: Sometimes less working memory capacity is better than more. Cognition, 107, 284-294.
  • Beilock, S. L., & DeCaro, M. S. (2007). From poor performance to success under stress: Working memory, strategy selection, and mathematical problem solving under pressure. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33, 983-998.

Courses Often Taught


    • Experimental Psychology
    • Seminar: Working Memory in Everyday Life
    • Seminar: Applying Cognitive Psychology to Education


    • Working Memory
    • Cognition and Education