About Me

Here's where you can find me. ̌


Discoverer in training.

I'm currently a PhD student in Dr. Kevin Ochsner's Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience Lab at Columbia University, where I began in fall 2017. While I'm not working on research (and often while I am), I'm probably drinking from a very large cup of tea. I also co-manage an informal R users club in the department, and help to organize a semesterly coding bootcamp and bi-weekly meetings/workshops to enrich our collective R experience.


In 2013 I started working as a research assistant on a media multitasking & cognition project with Dr. Melina Uncapher, then a research associate in Dr. Anthony Wagner's Memory Lab, during my freshman year at Stanford University. She couldn't get rid of me, and I continued working with her in the lab throughout undergrad, earning two undergraduate summer fellowships through Stanford (PsychSummer and Bio-X) so I would literally never have to leave. I completed my bachelor's degree in three years, serving as an undergraduate Teaching Fellow for Psych One, Stanford's introductory psychology course, during my third year, while also completing an honors thesis under Drs. Uncapher and Wagner.

After graduation in 2015, I transitioned into a full-time lab manager + research assistant position in the Memory Lab. As lab manager/RA, I served as a jack-of-most-trades, handling various arms of data collection and analysis for our healthy aging study, maintaining lab needs both tangible (office supplies, copies, uncomfortable amounts of coffee) and intangible (IRB protocols, software licenses, moral support), and defusing tense meetings with horrible jokes. I also spent some time assisting Dr. Uncapher with data processing and statistics for her educational neuroscience projects with the Neuroscape group at UC San Francisco.


Some of my code.

My personal GitHub, or my humble code abode.

The Columbia Psychology R tutorial collection, which I co-maintain.

cuPsychRTools, a petite R package of tidyverse-safe helper functions I've assembled.


Talk to me.


A snapshot of my CV.

Awards & Honors

Fellow, Kavli Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience, 2019

Honorable Mention, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, 2019

Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, Stanford University, 2015

Zimbardo Teaching Prize, Psych One, Stanford University, 2015

Teaching Experience

Section leader, Experimental Methods in Psychology, Columbia University, fall 2018

Teaching assistant & guest lecturer, Science of Psychology, Columbia University, fall 2017

Teaching fellow & section leader, Psych One, Stanford University, fall 2014 - spring 2015

Psychometric estimation of emotion reporting thresholds. Thieu, M; Ochsner, KN (2019). Poster presented at Society for Affective Science Meeting (Boston, MA), 2019. link

Uncapher, M. R., Thieu, M. K., & Wagner, A. D. (2016). Media multitasking and memory: Differences in working memory and long-term memory. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 1-8. link

Chronic media multitasking and distraction: Neural substrates and mnemonic consequences. Thieu, M; Uncapher, MR; Wagner, AD (2015). Talk presented at UCLA Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (Los Angeles, CA), 2015.

Chronic media multitasking and distraction: Neural substrates and mnemonic consequences. Uncapher, MR; Thieu, M; Wagner, AD (2015). Poster presented at Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting (San Francisco, CA), 2015.

Reduced working memory predicts impaired long-term memory in chronic media multitaskers. Thieu, M; Uncapher, MR; Wagner, AD (2014). Poster presented at Bay Area Memory Meeting (Stanford, CA) and Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Symposium (Stanford, CA), 2014.

Effects of media multitasking on working and long-term memory. Thieu, M; Uncapher, MR; Wagner, AD (2013). Poster presented at Psych-Summer Poster Session (Stanford, CA), 2013.

Publications & Presentations