Dr. Paul Mattson


Subjects Taught
Phone (direct)
(360) 417-6468
Office Location
Ph.D in Experimental Psychology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA.
M.S. Experimental Psychology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA.
B.A. Philosophy & Psychology, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

Originally from Tulsa Oklahoma, I completed my undergraduate degree in philosophy and psychology at the University of Kansas.  I then studied experimental psychology at Washington State University, where I completed my Masters degree and my Ph.D.  I’ve taught in many different schools across the country, and have lived in Oklahoma, Kansas, Washington, Oregon, and New York state before settling down in Port Angeles.  I’m married to an amazing woman, and we have two adorable but noisy Pembroke Welsh Corgis.

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mind, and it addresses key questions that I am very interested in.  For example:  What is consciousness?  What is memory, and how does it work?  What is the relationship between the biology of the brain and the way that we create memories, make decisions, or plan actions in the environment?  When most people think about psychology, they think about therapy or listening to someone’s problems.  That is not at all what I do.  I am a scientist who investigates the nature of the brain as an information processing system, and my passion is introducing my students to the surprising diversity and breadth of the field of psychology.

I’ve been teaching since I was in graduate school, and my experience is very broad.  I have prepared and taught courses on the psychology of learning, cognitive psychology, introduction to statistics, research methods, sensation and perception, evolutionary psychology, history of psychology, consciousness, psychological assessment, abnormal psychology, lifespan psychology, and social psychology.  Oh, yes, and I’ve also taught introduction to psychology.  Many, many times.  Even though I do not currently teach all of those courses, I funnel my broad range of teaching experience along with my research experience into my current course offerings to give students a deeper look at major topics in the field of psychology above and beyond what is presented in the textbook.

Teaching Philosophy:

My general research interest is in understanding the relationship between perception and action.  My past research has focused on the role of feature binding in perception and action, and how action plans that are similar to one another are capable of interfering with one another when presented closely in time.  I have also conducted research that investigated how action plans are stored in working memory and the types of working memory representations that can interfere with them.  My future research goals include exploring how action plans become automatic, how binding strength among features in action plans relates to the acquisition of automatic responses, how habits are formed, how this process relates to learning, and how we make decisions using these action plans.  I am also interested in the application of cognitive psychology research to improve classroom instruction.