Marci DeCaro, PhD

Assistant Professor

portrait of faculty member

Office LocationLife Sciences Building, 302

Phone number(502) 852-8273


Download CVView CV


Lab LocationLife Sciences Building, 122

Lab phone number(502) 852-8334

Lab websiteLearning and Performance Lab


Postdoctoral Fellow, 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.

  • 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., Rotar, K. E., Kendra, M. S., & Beilock, S. L. (2010). Diagnosing and alleviating the impact of performance pressure on mathematical problem solving. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63, 1619-1630.
  • DeCaro, M. S., & Beilock, S. L. (2010). The benefits and perils of attentional control. In B. Bruya and M. Csikszentmihalyi (Eds.), Effortless Attention: A New Perspective in the Cognitive Science of Attention and Action. MIT Press.
  • DeCaro, M. S., Carlson, K. D., Thomas, R. D., & Beilock, S. L. (2009). When and how less is more: Reply to Tharp & Pickering. Cognition, 111, 415-421.
  • 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.
  • DeCaro, M. S., Wieth, M., & Beilock, S. L. (2007). Methodologies for examining problem solving success and failure. Methods, 42, 58-67.

Courses Often Taught

  • Experimental Psychology
  • Seminar: Working Memory in Everyday Life
  • Research Psychology