Matt Johnson


Matthew R. Johnson, Ph.D.... where to begin? Psychologist, neuroscientist, international man of mystery.... Matt grew up in North Carolina, a glorious land filled from sea to shining mountains with tobacco fields, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Cheerwine soda, and pork barbecue cooked the only proper way. His academic career began at Yale University, where he double-majored in Cognitive Science (focusing on computational linguistics) and English (focusing on the novels of Kurt Vonnegut and developing his delightfully florid prose style). From there, he worked for two years at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, where he learned all about fMRI, and then returned to Yale for his Ph.D. in Neuroscience, where he learned that he actually had a lot more to learn about fMRI (and EEG, and lots of other stuff). He then worked for two years as an Assistant Professor at UNMC -- not the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus. After that, he returned to the USA for a two-year postdoc at, uh, Yale again. And then he came here to UNL, where he lived happily ever after, the end.

Likes: Apple products, junk food, podcasts, long walks on the beach, Matlab, caffeine, magnets, ellipses....

Dislikes: JavaScript, mean people, the iOS Podcasts app, phonies, tomatoes, mushrooms, pickles, olives, mornings.




Cheng Lim


Cheng majored in psychology at Duke University (see Matt’s description of North Carolina), then moved to Malaysia and worked as a consultant in Human Resources and psychometrics. After deciding that three years of a real job was enough, she began a PhD at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus in driving psychology, comparing Malaysian and UK drivers’ performance in various video-based tests. After finishing her PhD, she moved to UNL to learn all about fMRI and EEG from Matt. The end.

Likes: Leaving the plastic on new electronics, video games, ziplining, roller coasters

Dislikes: Mornings, bad drivers, other people taking the plastic off new electronics


Graduate Students


Evan Lintz


Originally from Connecticut, Evan has taken a rather non-traditional path towards graduate study. He is a former Sergeant and 8-year veteran of the Marine Corps and before deciding to pursue a degree in Psychology, managed a group of 25 restaurants. He graduated summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2013. When he started at ECSU, his goal was clinical psychology, however he quickly discovered that psychology had a ‘hard science’ side to it. Having realized that research was a perfect fit, he and his very supportive wife Chelsea and their 4 cats packed up and moved west to pursue graduate study.

Likes: Golfing, cooking, home-brewing, dragging knee on his motorcycles

Dislikes: Rude people



Zach Cole


Zach received his degree in Kinesiology from Washington State University in 2011. Following an opportunity, he took a construction job working geotechnical drilling for the Washington State Department of Transportation. After working an incredibly cold winter in the mountains, he decided to get back into school and pursue a career that worked primarily indoors. After completing a second degree at WSU (Psychology, 2013), he took a new job working with children at a mental hospital. Within a year, Zach moved to Indiana to attend Ball State University. After completing his MA in Cognitive and Social Processes, he moved to Virginia to manage Cindy Bukach's EEG lab at the University of Richmond. Now, as a PhD student, Zach is hoping to (a) bridge his core interests in health/fitness and executive function, and (b) become proficient in using eye tracking, EEG, and fMRI, and mind-bending deep/machine learning methods.

Likes: Golfing, rec sports, his herd of pets, laser tag, most “adrenaline rush” activities, dad jokes

Dislikes: Nasty second reviewers, the coldest part of Nebraska winters


Undergrads, volunteers, & interns

head_silhouette Hannah Ross Undergraduate volunteer, Fall 2018-present



Lab alumni


Lauren Bandel

Traveling far from her original home, the exotic city of Omaha, NE, having failed to befriend local legend Warren Buffett, Lauren came to UNL to experience even more adventure. Although she has always been a BA, in May 2017 she earned her degree in Psychology from UNL to prove it. During her time as an undergrad, Lauren worked as a research assistant in a few psychology labs and as a direct support professional for individuals with developmental disabilities and other mental health issues. In her quest to become world’s greatest, funniest and most humble psychologist, she joined the RAP Lab to take part in more research before grad school.

Likes: Every single dog that ever lived, puns, laser tag, Dennis Quaid (specifically in the Parent Trap), hiking

Dislikes: Decaf coffee, pigeons, heights

Last sighted: Doing a PhD at Southern Illinois University



A-a-ron Halvorsen

Aaron Halvorsen? Who's that? To be honest, we kind of forgot that he had a real name. For reasons unknown, he was gifted a variety of nicknames by the lab during his time working as an undergrad volunteer and then a lab manager between Fall 2016 and Spring 2020: A-a-ron, Chad, Scoots, and Train, to name a few. We only wish he could have stuck around longer so we could have kept changing his name.

Likes: Cows, neuroscience

Dislikes: Pandemics

Last sighted: Doing a PhD at Duke University



Rafay Khan

Originally hailing from the far off land of Pakistan, Rafay has been involved in scientific research in 3 different countries; Malaysia, England and the US. Like Dr. Johnson, he too spent two years at the non-Nebraska UNMC (University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus), after which he transferred to the main campus in Nottingham, UK, where he received his BSc. (Hons.) in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. After deciding that research would be the best way to learn how to read others’ minds, he decided to take up a research assistant job before going to grad school. He began in his current role at UNL in September 2015.

Likes: Arsenal, soccer, dogs, hiking, cliff diving, muscle cars, Archer

Dislikes: Mornings, C#

Last sighted: Doing a PhD at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign



Jo Shattuck

Jo Shattuck's work specializes in the fusion of neuroscience and sport. She earned a master's degree in sport science, and is currently conducting motor learning research using electroencephalography. She was a professional coach and world ranked racquetball player-ranked in the world’s top 10 for 10 straight years. She holds a provisional patent on a training device called the KAT (Kinesthetic Awareness Training). As a graduate student, her work involves the self-coined mantra: PANTHER, which stands for Principles of Athletics and Neuroscience Toward Human ExpeRtise. Her goal is to study the principles of neuroscience that improve human performance.

Last sighted: Working in Denver, still pantherin' it up.


head_silhouette Abby Adams Undergraduate volunteer, Fall 2016-Summer 2017
head_silhouette Mei Grace Behrendt Undergraduate volunteer, Fall 2018-Spring 2020
head_silhouette Arianna Dye Postbaccalaureate volunteer, Spring 2017-Fall 2018
head_silhouette Shauna Kister Intern, Summer/Fall 2016
head_silhouette Emma L'Heureux Undergraduate volunteer, Fall 2018-Spring 2020
head_silhouette Han Le High school volunteer, Fall 2016-Summer 2017
head_silhouette Zach Martin Undergraduate volunteer, Fall 2017-Spring 2018
head_silhouette Maya Samal Intern, Summer 2017
head_silhouette Tanisha Talib Undergraduate volunteer, Fall 2016-Summer 2017



Other people


You, maybe!

We are always seeking talented undergraduate and graduate students to work with the lab! See the home page for details on specific openings.