We are the Mechanisms of Cognition and Attention (MoCA) Lab, located at the University of Arkansas. The lab is directed by the principle investigator Dr. Darya Zabelina. The research in the lab focuses on understanding creative cognition, imagination, and other related processes, and how these processes are linked with more traditional sub-fields of cognitive psychology, such as attention and executive functions. We use a variety of approaches, including behavioral, experience sampling, electrophysiological (EEG and ERP), and functional MRI (fMRI) techniques. We also do work on mind-wandering, mindfulness, problem solving, the influence of technology on creativity and imagination. MoCA is part of the UA Integrative Systems Neuroscience.


  • Welcome to our new PhD student Kent Hubert.
  • Honors student Whitney Davis and graduate student Josh Upshaw win 2nd place in the Arkansas Psychology Association poster competition for their poster “Imagination and Social Media Use in Young Adults.”
  • Honors students Whitney Davis and Ashley Keith receive Honors College Research Grants.
  • Honors student Lucas Bellaiche is accepted to the Princeton Neuroscience Institute Summer Internship Program.
  • Postdoctoral fellow Carl E. Stevens, Jr., Ph.D.  receives the Postdoctoral Fellows Award (PFA) from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS).
  • Darya Zabelina is awarded the Rising Star Award from the Association for Psychological Science (APS).
  • Welcome to our new PhD student Stephanie Kane, M.S.
  • Research assistant Hanah Barnard receives the E.D. and Peggy Yancey Scholarship from the Department of Psychology in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Honors students Emily Daniels and Peyton Jennings are named Seniors of Significance.
  • Welcome to the postdoctoral fellow Carl E. Stevens, Jr., Ph.D.
  • Welcome to our new PhD student Joshua Upshaw.
  • Honors student Peyton Jennings receives the E.D. and Peggy Yancey Scholarship from the Department of Psychology in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Honors student Emily Daniels receives the E.P. Trapp Award for outstanding psychology student.
  • Honors students Emily Daniels and Linzi Oppenheimer receive Honors College Research Grants.


Zabelina, D. L,.Thompson, L., Tobin, A., & White, R. (in press). The role of mindfulness in viewing and making art in children and adults. Mindfulness. 

Stevens, C. E., Jr., & Zabelina, D. L. (in press). Classifying creativity: Applying machine learning techniques to divergent thinking EEG data. NeuroImage.

Zabelina, D. L. & Silvia, P. J. (in press). Percolating ideas: The effects of caffeine on creative thinking and problem solving. Consciousness and Cognition

Daniels, E. C., Rodriguez, A., & Zabelina, D. L. (in press). Severity of misophonia symptoms is associated with worse cognitive control when exposed to misophonia trigger sounds. PLOS ONE.

 Zabelina, D. L. (in press). Neuroscience: Executive functions. In M. Runco & S. Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity, 3rd edition. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.

Zabelina, D. L. (in press). Imagination. In A. B. Bakker, F. Gander, W. Ruch, & L. Tay (Eds.), Handbook in positive psychology assessment. Brussels, Belgium: European Association of Psychological Assessment (EAPA).

Zabelina, D. L., Hechtman, L. A., Saporta, A., Grunewald, K., & Beeman, M. (in press). Brain activity sensitive to visual congruency effects relates to divergent thinking. Brain and Cognition. 

Zabelina, D. L., & Condon, D. C. (in press). The Four-Factor Imagination Scale (FFIS): A measure for assessing frequency, complexity, emotional valence, and directedness of imagination. Psychological Research. 

Stevens, C. E., Jr., & Zabelina, D. L. (2019). Creativity comes in waves: An EEG-focused exploration of the creative brain. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 27, 154-162.

Zabelina, D. L., Friedman, N. P., & Andrews-Hanna, J. R. (2019). Unity and diversity of executive functions in creativity. Consciousness and Cognition, 68, 47-56.