Temre Davies

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?
I work with Professor Donald Hoffman, Department of Cognitive Sciences. We are investigating mechanisms of human face processing. Face processing encompasses issues such as recognition of faces, identification of faces, perception of faces, storage of faces, and attention to faces. Primarily, we seek to understand how face perception differs from object perception, and if there exists dedicated neural machinery or cognitive processes specific for the perception of faces.
2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I transferred from UCLA to UCI my junior year and I applied to the psychology departmental honors program. One of the requirements for this program is to complete a senior thesis project under the direction of a faculty mentor. I took a class from Dr. Hoffman last fall and when he gave a lecture on prosopagnosia (a neuropsychological disorder resulting in an inability to recognize familiar faces), I knew that face perception was something I would like to learn more about. After reading some of the literature and thinking of some experimental ideas, I approached him and asked him if there was a way I could get more involved.

3. How has research enhanced you education?

Undergraduate research has probably been the most enriching part of my college experience. There are no limits to what you can do. You are not restricted by the nature of the course content or the time constraints of learning a subject in one quarter. This is partly due to the vast amount of professional research journals that are always available to students in the library. With new experimental designs and theories published every month, there is an enormous amount of dialogue going back and forth between researchers all over the world. This keeps the field exciting, dynamic and challenging.

4. What has been you favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?
One of the best feelings I can remember from my research was the day that Dr. Hoffman and I submitted our paper for publication. We conducted a series of four experiments during the spring quarter and we spent the whole summer calculating our results, analyzing them, and placing them within the larger context of current face research. Through this experience I learned how much time and effort goes into producing research papers and seeing the paper completed in its entirety helped me to appreciate everything that I have learned.
5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

I will be graduating at the end of this spring quarter and then I will be entering law school in the fall 2002. Although I will miss the field of face perception very much, I am really excited to learn about the legal framework of our society and how we can best use this system to promote justice and well being. I know that the skills I have learned here at UCI will be invaluable as I take this next step. In particular, the writing skills and logical argument building from my undergraduate research experience will help guide me as I begin to conduct legal research and learn how to build cases.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

I really encourage you to find a topic that you are passionate about - a topic that you enjoy reading about in your free time just because you find it interesting. This will not only make researching fun, but it will also give you a chance to really apply yourself and see what you are capable of. Also, most importantly, believe in yourself and your abilities, here at UCI there is so much support for undergraduate research whether it is in the form of a summer stipend, grants to cover experimental costs, a research symposium, or counseling. UROP has been a great source of support and aid to me during my research experience and they are just waiting to help and encourage all interested undergraduates. Good luck!

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '01 Anna Kaiser
Nov. '01 Sunny Staton
Oct. '01 Kristine Kolkman
Sep. '01 Raquel Fernandez
Aug. '01 Temre Davies
Jul. '01 Krikor Andonian
Jun. '01 Elizabeth Kirchner
May '01 Joshua Neil
Apr. '01 Alia Shbeeb
Mar. '01 Qyana Griffith
Feb. '01 Reshmi Basu
Jan. '01 Yousuke Hamai
Recent Year