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  • Center for Achievement in Psychological Science
  • Students from Dr. Otten's Lab
  • Psychology Department Faculty Fall 2017

    Your Psychology Faculty

Erica Wohldmann

Erica Wohldmann
(818) 677-6676
Office location:
ST 320



  • (2006) Joint Ph.D. in Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • (2004) M.A. Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder

Specialty Areas: Cognitive Psychology

Courses Taught

  • PSY 150 Principles of Human Behavior
  • PSY 369 Applied Cognitive Psychology
  • PSY 403/403L Cognition and Perception
  • PSY 426 Contemporary Trends in Psychology
  • PSY 488CF Cognition and Food
  • SUST 300 Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Sustainability
  • SUST 310 Best Practices in Sustainability

**Currently accepting new Research Assistants.

Selected Publications and Presentations

Wohldmann, E. L. (2017). An Urban Dweller’s Guide to Rewilding. Invited presentation delivered at TEDxUCLA on May 21, 2016.

Wohldmann, E. L. (2015). Planting a Seed: Applications of Cognitive Principles for Improving Food Choices. The American Journal of Psychology, 128, 209-218.

Wohldmann, E. L. (2013).  Closing the gap between knowing and doing: Applications of learning and transfer to improving food choices. American Journal of Psychology, 126, pp. 449-458.

Wohldmann, E. L., Healy, A. F., & Bourne, L. E., Jr.  (2012).  Specificity and transfer effects in time production skill:  Examining the role of attention.  Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 74, 766-778

Healy, A. F., & Wohldmann, E. L.  (2012).  Specificity and transfer of learning.  In B. Ross (Ed).  Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 57, 227-253.

Wohldmann, E. L. Reducing food deserts and promoting healthy eating through urban gardening. Invited talk delivered to the City of Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Green Practices and Projects Workshop on October 22, 2011.

Wohldmann, E. L. Redefining healthy in Los Angeles. Invited talk delivered to the City of Los Angeles Congress of Neighborhoods Annual Meeting on September 24, 2011.

Wohldmann, E. L. Examining the relationship between knowing and doing: Nutrition training for improving food choices. Invited talk delivered at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association on August 5, 2011.

Healy, A. F., Wohldmann, E. L., Kole, J. A., Schneider, V. I., Shea, K. M., & Bourne, L. E., Jr. (in press). Training for efficient, durable, and flexible performance in the military. In W. Arthur, Jr., E. A. Day, W. Bennett, Jr., & A. Portrey (Eds.), Individual and team skill decay: State of the science and implications for practice. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Healy, A. F., Wohldmann, E. L., & Bourne, L. E., Jr. (2011). How does practice with a reversed mouse influence subsequent speeded aiming performance? A test of global inhibition. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 23, 559-573.

Kurland, N. B., Michaud, K., Best, M., Wohldmann, E. L., Cox, H.M., Pontikis, K., & Vasishth, A. (2010). Overcoming silos: The role of an interdisciplinary course in shaping a sustainability network. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 9(3).

Wohldmann, E. L., Healy, A. F., & Bourne, L. E., Jr. (2010). Task integration in time production. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 72, 1130-1143.

Wohldmann, E. L., & Healy, A. F. (2010). Exploring Specificity of Speeded Aiming Movements: Examining Different Measures of Transfer, Memory & Cognition, 38, 344-355.

Wohldmann, E. L., & Quilici, J. L.  The influence of point-of-purchase on meal selections. Poster presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Boston, MA, November 20, 2009.

Wohldmann, E. L., Healy, A. F., & Bourne, L. E., Jr.  (2008).  A mental practice superiority effect: Less forgetting and more transfer than physical practice, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 24, 823-833 (lead article).

Wohldmann, E. L., Healy, A. F., & Bourne, L., E., Jr.  (2008).  Training specificity and global inhibition in speeded aiming movements.  Memory & Cognition, 36, 1228-1235.

Carmien, S. & Wohldmann, E. L. (2008). Mapping images to objects by young adults with cognitive disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 29, 149-157.

Wohldmann, E. L., Healy, A. F., & Bourne, L. E., Jr. Physical but not mental practice yields retroactive interference. Paper to be presented at the 48th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Long Beach, CA, November 17, 2007.

Wohldmann, E. L., Healy, A. F., & Bourne, L. E. Jr. (2007). Pushing the limits of imagination: Motor imagery for learning sequences and skill. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33, 254-261.

Healy, A. F., Wohldmann, E. L., Sutton, E. M., & Bourne, L. E., Jr. (2006). Specificity effects in training and transfer of speeded responses. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32, 534-546.

Wohldmann, E., L., Healy, A. F., & Bourne, L. E., Jr. Mental practice leads to less forgetting and interference than physical practice. Paper presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Houston, TX, November 18, 2006.

Healy, A. F., Kole, J. A., Wohldmann, E. L., Buck-Gengler, C. J., Parker, J. T., & Bourne, L. E., Jr. (2005). Optimizing the speed, durability, and transferability of training. In C. Izawa and N. Ohta (Eds.), Human learning and memory: Advances in theory and application (pp. 135-153). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Healy, A. F., Wohldmann, E. L., Parker, J. T., & Bourne, L. E., Jr. (2005). Skill training, retention, and transfer: The effects of a concurrent secondary task. Memory & Cognition, 33, 1457-1471.

Research Interests

My research is concerned with factors that influence learning and memory for knowledge and skills, as well as decision-making.

Divided Attention and Learning:  Situations that require divided attention can impact learning, memory, and performance of tasks in a variety of ways. My research in this area examines how cognition changes as a function of secondary task demands (divided attention). In the past, we have found learning to be highly specific to the task requirements, and future research will explore conditions under which learning is more flexible.  Because divided attention can be thought of as a stressor, this research helps to inform how learning and memory are altered by conditions of stress.

Motor Imagery: Have you ever wondered how your thoughts influence your actions?  Can thinking lead to doing?  In my laboratory, I examine the impact of motor imagery, defined as the simulation of movements in the absence of any overt physical action, to understand the relationship between thinking and action. For example, I conduct experiments to test people’s ability to use motor imagery to learn new motor skills and for maintaining motor skills over long delays. This research has important theoretical implications for understanding motor control and motor programming, as well as numerous practical applications to stroke rehabilitation, recovery from injury, and skill learning and retention.

Cognitive Factors that Influence Decision-Making about Nutrition and the Environment:  What we choose to eat has huge impacts on social and environmental issues. For example, diet-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are the leading causes of death in the U.S.  Agricultural pesticides are polluting our rivers and streams, drinking water that is necessary for maintaining life.  I design experiments to examine factors that influence food choices, but this research on decision-making and consumption can be applied more generally to understanding why we consume anything--material products and media, for example.  The goal of this work is to better understand how to create a more environmentally and socially conscious world.

Research assistants who work in my lab will gain valuable experience conducting psychological research, which will make them highly competitive applicants for graduate programs. They are trained to help me collect data by testing human subjects, to do library research, and to help me analyze data