Stephen Mitroff

Room 304
Address: 2125 G Street, NW
Washington, District Of Columbia
Phone: 202-994-6912

Dr. Mitroff studied Cognitive Science as an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, where he worked with Alison Gopnik. He then received his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Harvard, working with Dan Simons. After a 3-year postdoctoral position at Yale, researching both adult visual cognition (with Brian Scholl) and infant cognition (with Karen Wynn), Dr. Mitroff joined the faculty at Duke University in 2005. In 2015, Dr. Mitroff and his lab moved to the Department of Psychology at GW.

Current Research

The GW Visual Cognition Lab explores the nature of visual cognition—examining mechanisms of visual memory, perception, and attention. The lab has a current primary focus on individual differences to reveal how it is that some people can outperform others, how can we quickly identify the best performers, and how can we then train those individuals to make them even better. Using a variety of techniques (e.g., big data from smartphone apps, sports vision training tools) and a variety of participants groups (e.g., athletes, patients, radiologists, TSA officers), Dr. Mitroff and his lab explore a number of issues related to vision and attention. More information about the lab can be found at


Ph.D. 2002, Harvard University


Ericson, J. M., Kravitz, D. J., & Mitroff, S. R. (2017). Visual search: You are who you are (+ a learning curve). Perception.

Biggs, A. T., Clark, K., & Mitroff, S. R. (2017). Who should be searching? Differences in personality can affect visual search accuracy. Personality and Individual Differences, 116, 353-358.

Mitroff, S. R., Biggs, A. T., & Cain, M. S. (2015). Multiple-target visual search errors: Overview and implications for airport security. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 2(1), 121-128. DOI: 10.1177/2372732215601111

Mitroff, S. R., Biggs, A. T., Adamo, S. H., Dowd, E. W., Winkle, J., & Clark, K. (2015). What can 1 billion trials tell us about visual search? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 41(1), 1-5. DOI: 10.1037/xhp0000012

Cain, M. S., Biggs, A. T., Darling, E. F., & Mitroff, S. R. (2014). A little bit of history repeating: Splitting up multiple-target visual searches decreases second-target miss errors. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 20(2), 112-125.

Biggs, A. T., & Mitroff, S. R. (2014). Different predictors of multiple-target search accuracy between non-professional and professional visual searchers. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67(7), 1335-1348. 10.1080/17470218.2013.859715

Cain, M. S., Adamo, S. H., & Mitroff, S. R. (2013). A taxonomy of multiple-target search errors. Visual Cognition, 21(7), 899-921. DOI:10.1080/13506285.2013.843627