Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Dana Byrd,Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Psychology


  • Ph.D. University of Florida, Postdoctoral training – Columbia Medical School
  • M.S. University of Florida, Certificate in Quantitative Methods University of Florida
  • B.A. Psychology from New College, The Honors College of Florida

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Research Interests:

Current Studies:

I am currently involved in several research projects, both on my own and in collaboration with professors from other TAMUK departments. 

  • My research projects focus on the relationship between behavioral/ psychological measures of executive functions (higher- level thinking abilities) and physiological measures, using
    • encephalography (EEG), which measures brain waves of selected parts of the brain as they respond to different phases of assigned nonverbal executive functioning tasks.
    • heart rate variability (HRV), which  is related to differing amounts of mental effort during tasks involving executive function.
  •  One of my current studies uses EEG to expand upon an earlier study that examined a phenomenon called the “bilingual advantage,” in which bilinguals outperformed monolinguals on tasks involving executive functioning.  The purpose of the current study is to determine at which stage in the task the bilingual advantage shows the greatest effect.  This project uses bilingual (Spanish-English) speakers and monolingual (English-only) speakers, and has university funding.  WE ARE CURRENTLY  ACCEPTING STUDENT PARTICIPANTS FOR THIS STUDY, WITH EITHER BILINGUAL (SPANISH-ENGLISH) OR MONOLINGUAL (ENGLISH-ONLY) SKILLS.  PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU ARE INTERESTED!
  • Another study investigates how adults and children compare in their performance on different forms of tasks involving executive functioning. Measures of heart rate variability will hopefully shed light on changes in participants’ cognitive effort.  This study also has received university funding.

Interdisciplinary Projects:

My interdisciplinary projects at TAMUK include collaboration with:

  • the Program in Bilingual Education on self-perception of people who speak both Spanish and English, and use the practice of code-switching( when Spanish and English are both used within a sentence or a conversation, based on situational or other factors).  
  •  the Business School on behavioral and EEG differences between different experiences with online shopping. We have received university funding for this research.
  •  the Nutrition Department on the effect of cardiovascular health and healthy diet on HRV during rest and when responding to different difficulties and different presentations of an executive functioning task.

If you are interested in any of my collaborative projects across disciplines at TAMUK or involving other universities, please contact me.

Teaching Interests:

I have taught courses from the introductory level to the senior and graduate levels at TAMUK:

  • Introductory Psychology, Experimental Psychology, History and Systems of Psychology, and Graduate Behavioral Science Research.

Courses I would like to teach include:

  • Developmental Psychology (child development or life-span development), Cognitive Psychology, and Psychophysiology (how different physiological measures can be a window onto psychological processes).

Distance learning and online teaching are becoming increasingly more important tools in education.  I am interested both in teaching courses online myself and in researching the efficacy of online teaching techniques, using various psychological measures.

Student Opportunities:

 I am always looking for academically strong, motivated undergraduate and graduate students to work in a variety of capacities with me on my research:  as participants in research projects, and in some cases as student evaluators or assistants using laboratory equipment.   Contact me by email or by phone if you are interested.  I am interested in mentoring:

  • Undergraduate students through the McNair program and Honors College, as well as throughout the student body in preparation for becoming graduate or medical students.
  • Master’s-level students seeking research experience in preparation for their thesis and to help them be competitive for Ph.D. programs.
  • Students interested in interdisciplinary projects involving psychology and another major

Since coming to TAMUK in Fall 2011, I have:

  •  Mentored, three McNair scholars, two of whom have gone on to graduate school.  One is yet to graduate.
  •  Supervised  four bilingual language evaluators for a current study, with two additional evaluators recently trained .
  •  Mentored students in research experience in preparation for a master’s thesis as chair or member of their thesis committee . 
  •  Mentored one honors program thesis, in progress.
  • Trained or shared in training undergraduate and graduate students in evaluating participants, using surveys and formal assessments, and appropriate data analyses.

During the Fall 2013 semester, selected students will be trained to assist in conducting and evaluating EEG (electroencephalographic) assessments for a current research project.

Contact Information

Texas A&M University – Kingsville
700 University Blvd, MSC 177
Kingsville, TX 78363-8202
Email: dana.byrd@tamuk.edu

This page was last updated on: October 30, 2013