Faculty & Staff

Karen P. Yu

Professor of Psychology
B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; M.A., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Karen P. Yu has taught at Sewanee since 1996. She earned her B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Vanderbilt University, supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. Her dissertation examined the influence of semantic knowledge on visual motion perception, reflecting her broader interest in the potential influence of knowledge and expectations on what are traditionally conceptualized as basic perceptual processes.
Before coming to Sewanee, Professor Yu taught on a part-time basis at Vanderbilt University and Belmont University. At Sewanee, she has supervised numerous student independent study projects. Her upper-level seminar on decision-making has a particular focus on decisions with long-term consequences, such as environmental- and health-related decisions.
Professor Yu’s research interests are wide-ranging within the area of cognition, including metacognition, decision-making, unconscious components of and influences on cognition, and the influence of prior knowledge and expectations on various perceptual and cognitive processes. Dr. Yu’s research interests are shaped in no small part by students’ interests and questions. Her current projects include an examination of academic honesty and dishonesty in a decision-making context, and an examination of children’s reward preferences and the effects of food rewards on children’s conceptualizations of food in the context of the current obesity epidemic.

Courses offered
   230  Child, Family, and Community Development in Rural Appalachia
   358  Cognitive Psychology (lab)
   410  Cognitive Illusions (not offered 2015-16)
   411  Judgment and Decision-Making