Wythe Whiting Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science, Washington and Lee University

Talk Title: The New Appendage: Cellphones in Cognitive and Behavioral Context
Co-Presenter: Karla Murdock
Thursday, February 6, 5:00 p.m.
Stackhouse Theater

Wythe Whiting is a Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science at Washington and Lee University. Prof. Whiting earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology at the Georgia Institute of Technology before completing a post-doctoral internship at Duke University in Cognitive Neuroscience and then joining the faculty at W&L in 2003. His work has focused on the application of cognitive science to a variety of areas in the field of psychology and behavior.

Prof. Whiting's early work explained cognitive declines with advancing age as a function of neural noise and broken circuitry. He has also examined older adults' difficulties in perceiving basic emotions in facial expressions. His more recent work has focused on the physiological and behavioral consequences of a digital environment on our ability to sustain attention. His recent collaborations with Dr. Karla Murdock have uncovered negative relationships between smart phone use and both sleep quality and attentional performance (Cognitive Processing, 2016). Their most recent study (under review) has shown that teenagers are particularly distracted by smartphone notifications, exhibiting greater attentional lapses and heart rate variability increases relative to adults. Prof. Whiting's future work will continue to explore the incompatibility of our analog brains with the digital world.

Prof. Whiting's work can be found in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience; Psychology and Aging; Cognitive Processing; Aging, Neuroscience and Cognition; Cerebral Cortex; and NeuroImage.