Rene Mcpherson

Rene Mcpherson is from Los Angeles, California. After high school, he served in the Army for eight years. In 2017, he transferred to New Mexico State University from Los Angeles City College. He is currently an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology, and he is planning on going to graduate school for human computer interaction or cognitive psychology. He is working with Dr. Hout and Hailey Sandin on developing a database of complex visual stimuli. In his free time, he likes to lift weights, read fantasy novels, and spend time with his family.


Project Description: 

The project we are working on is a visual feedback system that will allow users to receive feedback while searching a complex visual scene. More specifically, this system will have the capability of informing the user of the areas that have already been searched (or ignored). The area of this study that Rene will primarily be focusing on is the creation of a database of complex visual scenes. The visual feedback study cannot be done without this database of visual scenes, and our hopes are that many search researchers will make use of these generated stimuli. The scenes will include real world and simulated visual stimuli, and the study has the potential to yield results that can improve TSA screening efficiency.



  • Project description, timeline, and milestones developed with mentor; on file with DSP
  • Complete project
  • Present scholarly work at URCAS
  • Present scholarly work at conference, exhibition, recital, film festival, reading, etc.
  • Take the GRE
  • Promote #DiscoveryScholars ten times on social media
  • Apply for graduate or professional school


Rene’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.