Christine Dellefield-Lopez

Christine is originally from Belen, New Mexico. She has been in Zeta Tau Alpha sorority for the past two years at New Mexico State, where she fundraises and advocates for breast cancer education and awareness. For her DSP project, she is working on the behavior patterns of individuals in “clue finding” for search and rescue. Continuing her career, she plans on attending a PhD program for industrial organizational psychology or clinical psychology. Her overall goal throughout her career path is to help in the advancements of various techniques to improve mental health. Some activities she loves to do for fun are traveling and attending concerts/festivals.


Project Description:

Title: Examination of behavioral patterns during simulated open terrain search and rescue “clue finding”

 Abstract: This experiment will be part of a large series of simulated open terrain search and rescue (SAR) “clue finding” tasks.  Here, we will be data-mining an ongoing SAR study in order to further examine specific behavioral patterns during clue search.  Specifically, we will explore how certain scanning/search behaviors impact our one’s ability to find a variety of hidden objects.  For example, we will observe the extent to which searchers scan in 360 degrees (i.e., looking behind and to their side, and not just straight along their walking path), and engage in other behaviors such as changing their perspective through crouching.  The overall goal of this project is to establish a relationship between an individual’s natural tendency to engage in a variety of scanning and perspective-taking behaviors and their search accuracy and efficiency.  If such relationships can be empirically established, it will provide crucial information that can be used in training recommendations supplied to SAR responders and “ground pounders” (i.e., individuals who help search the last known location of a missing person for clues to their whereabouts).



  • Project description, timeline, and milestones developed with mentor; on file with DSP
  • Complete half of project milestones
  • Complete project
  • Attend a professional conference (without presenting)
  • Take the GRE
  • Promote #DiscoveryScholars ten times on social media
  • Apply for graduate or professional school

Completed benchmarks listed in italics


Christine’s mentor: Dr. Michael C. Hout:

Michael C. Hout grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and attended the University of Pittsburgh for his bachelor’s degree before moving to Tempe, Arizona to get a master’s and PhD at Arizona State University.  He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at New Mexico State University, and an Associate Editor at the journal Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics. His research focuses primarily on visual cognition (including visual search, attention, eye movements, and memory) and the development of alternative methods of collecting similarity data for use in multi-dimensional scaling. He has won several awards for research and teaching, including the Rising Star award from the Association for Psychological Science, and currently engages in outside consulting for organizations such as Major League Baseball. In his limited free time, he enjoys walking his dogs, hiking, playing hockey, and riding his motorcycle.