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Courtney Stevens

Professor of Psychology

Headshot of Courtney Stevens

Contact Information

Salem Campus

Smullin 252
900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301
503-370-6512 (Fax)


PhD, Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Oregon

MS, Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Oregon

BA, Linguistics, Reed College


Professor Stevens received her BA in linguistics from Reed College and her MS and PhD in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Oregon. Prior to joining the Willamette faculty, Dr. Stevens was a research associate at Weill Cornell Medical College and visiting faculty member at Sarah Lawrence College. In her research, Dr. Stevens examines typical and atypical brain development using non-invasive neuroimaging techniques (EEG/ERP, fMRI, DTI). She is particularly interested in the neural systems important to selective attention, as well as the role of selective attention on academic foundations, including language and literacy acquisition. Dr. Stevens’ research has appeared in several venues including the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Science, Brain Research, and the Journal of Learning Disabilities. She has also lectured both nationally and internationally on the development of attention.

Professor Stevens joined the Willamette faculty in 2008, where she is currently director of Willamette’s Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory (CNL). Professor Stevens teaches Cognitive Neuroscience, Language & Literacy Acquisition, Statistics, and Introduction to Psychology, as well as topical senior and freshmen seminars.


Cognitive Neuroscience - PSY355

Introduction to Psychology - PSY210

Research Methods & Analysis II [Statistics] with Lab – PSY253/253Y

Educational Science: Senior Seminar – PSY431W

Psychology of Social Class: Cross-cultural Perspectives on Poverty – IDS323

Child Trafficking – Summer Course in Cambodia – IDS212


‡ = paper includes Willamette undergraduate student co-authors (undergraduate names include asterisk)

‡ *Wiggins, E., *Mottarella, M., *Eggleston, S., *Good, K., & Stevens, C. (2018). 24-hour sleep deprivation impairs early attentional modulation of neural processing: An event-related brain potential study. Neuroscience Letters, 677, 32-36.

‡ *Niermeyer, M., *Miller, E., *Tamaoki, Y., *Wiggins, E., & Stevens, C. (2018). Single and compound Kanji words elicit distinct early neurophysiological responses: ERP evidence from fluent and naïve Kanji readers. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 47, 91-104.

Pakulak, E., Stevens, C., & Neville, H. (2018). Neuro-, cardio-, and immunoplasticity: Effects of early adversity. Annual Review of Psychology, 69, 5.1-28.

Pakulak, E., Hampton Wray, A., Longoria, Z., Isaza, A.G., Stevens, C., Bell, T., Burlingame, S., Klein, S., Berlinski, S., Attanasio, O., & Neville, H. (2017). Cultural adaptation of a neurobiologically-informed intervention in local and international contexts. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 158, 81-92.

‡ Stevens, C., Witkow, M., & *Smelt, B. (2016). Strengthening scientific reasoning skills in introductory psychology: Evidence from community college and liberal arts classrooms. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 2, 245-260.

Stevens, C. (2015). The cognitive neuroscience of sign language: Engaging undergraduate students’ critical thinking skills using the primary literature. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 14, A66-72.

‡ Stevens, C., Paulsen, D., *Yasen, A., & Neville, H. (2014). Atypical auditory recovery cycles in children from lower socio-economic backgrounds: ERP evidence for a role of selective attention. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 95, 156-166.

‡ Stevens, C., *McIlraith, A., *Niermeyer, M., *Rusk, N., & *Waller, H. (2013). Relative laterality of the N170 to single letter stimuli is predicted by a concurrent neural index of implicit processing of letter names. Neuropsychologia, 51, 667-674.

Stevens, C., & Bavelier, D. (2012). The role of selective attention on academic foundations: A cognitive neuroscience perspective. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 2S, S30-48.

‡ Stevens, C., Paulsen, D., *Yasen, A., & *Mitsunaga, L., & Neville, H. (2012). ERP evidence for attenuated auditory recovery cycles in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Brain Research, 1438, 35-47.


Professor of the Year, Willamette Student Body Mortar Board

Jane S. Halonen Teaching Excellence Award, American Psychological Association (National early-career teaching award for a faculty member in Psychology)

40 under 40 List: Professors Who Inspire, NerdWallet

National Institutes of Health – NIDCD, awarded, 07/2018- 06/2021. “Executive control in children who stutter” (R21DC017227-01). $469,903, subaward: $48,731. Role: Co-Investigator. (PI = Amanda Hampton Wray)

National Science Foundation – IUSE Program, awarded, 07/2015- 06/2019. “Promoting foundational scientific literacy skills in Introductory Psychology” (1505060). $248,454. Role: Principal Investigator. (co-PIs: Melissa Witkow and Kathryn Becker-Blease)

Willamette University

Psychology Department

Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-375-5306 voice
503-375-6512 fax