Robert Melara

Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology

Additional Departments/Affiliated Programs



North Academic Center







Robert Melara

Robert Melara


Degree/Date: B.A., 1979 Institution: State University of New York at Stony Brook Specialization: Psychology

Degree/Date: M.A., 1982 Institution: New School for Social Research Specialization: Psychology

Degree/Date: Ph.D., 1987 Institution: New School for Social Research Specialization: Psychology

Degree/Date: Post-doctoral Fellowship, 1987-1989 Institution: John B. Pierce Laboratory and Yale University Specialization: Sensory Psychophysics

Research Interests

Dr. Melara is a psychophysicist and cognitive neuroscientist by training.  He currently is the chairperson of the Department of Psychology at City College, City University of New York.  He has 30 years of experience as an investigator of normal and impaired processes of attention in humans.  He has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles designed to identify the cognitive and neural mechanisms of inhibition, perceptual discriminability, and working memory that govern attentive focus and distraction in the visual, tactile, and auditory modalities.  Pursuit of these mechanisms has provided Dr. Melara with extensive experience using a range of laboratory attention tasks, statistical methods, and mathematical models.


Chen, S., & Melara, R.D. (2014). Rejection positivity predicts trial-to-trial reaction times in an auditory selective attention task: A computational analysis of inhibitory control.  Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8: 585. doi:  10.3389/fnhum.2014.00585 PMCID: PMC4137173

Persuh, M., Gomez, M., Bauer, L., & Melara, R. D. (2014). Feature-based inattentional blindness: Loss of awareness to featural information in fully attended objects. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 76, 2229-2239.

Fertuck, E. A., Tsoi, F., Grinband, J., Ruglass, L., Melara, R. D., & Hien, D. A. (2016). Facial trustworthiness perception bias elevated in individuals with PTSD compared to trauma-exposed controls. Psychiatry Research, 237, 43-48. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2016.01.056

Persuh, M., & Melara, R. D. (2016).  Barack Obama Blindness (BOB): Absence of visual awareness to a single object. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10: 118. doi:  10.3389/fnhum.2016.00118

Eichorn, N., Marton, K., Schwartz, R. G., Melara, R. D., & Pirutinsky, S. (2016). Does working memory enhance or interfere with speech fluency in adults who do and do not stutter? Evidence from a dual-task paradigm. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59, 415-429.

Bravo, E., Melara, R., & Fertuck, E. (2016). Journal Watch review of Maternal attachment representation and neurophysiological processing during the perception of infants’ emotional expressions. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 64, 817–820. doi: 10.1177/0003065116667293

Rubin, M., Hien, D. A., Das, D., & Melara, R. D. (2017). Inhibitory control under threat: The role of spontaneous eye blinks in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Brain Sciences, 7, 16; doi:10.3390/brainsci7020016

Melara, R. D., Ruglass, L. M., Fertuck, E. A., & Hien, D. A. (2018). Regulation of threat in post-traumatic stress disorder: Associations between inhibitory control and dissociative symptoms. Biological Psychology, 133, 89-98.

Melara, R. D., Singh, S.., & Hien, D. A. (2018). Neural and behavioral correlates of attentional inhibition training and perceptual discrimination training in a visual flanker task. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12, 191. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00191

Massara, F., Porcheddu, D., & Melara, R. D. (2018).  Luxury brands pursuing lifestyle positioning: Effects on willingness to pay. Journal of Brand Management. doi: 10.1057/s41262-018-0130-4

Massara, F., Scarpi, D. Melara, R. D., & Porcheddu, D., (2018).  Affect transfer from national brands to store brands in multi-brand stores. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 45, 103-110.

Fertuck, E. A., & Melara, R. (2018). Non-affective constraint. In V. Zeigler-Hill & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. New York, NY: Springer. 

Ruglass, L. M., Shevorykin, A., Dambreville, N., & Melara, R. D. (2019). Neural and behavioral correlates of attentional bias to cannabis cues among adults with cannabis use disorders.  Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 33(1), 69-80.



Additional Information

Ongoing Research Support


1R25DA035161-01.  Hien (PI)                                                                     
Dates of Project: 6/15/13-6/14/18
Source:  NIDA
Translational research training in addictions for racial/ethnic minorities at City College of New York (CCNY) and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC)
This research training program is designed to increase the number of interdisciplinary scientists capable to serve as Principal Investigators on extramurally funded studies in drug abuse research from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups, still identified as a pressing public health need.
Role: Co-Investigator


5P20CA192993-03 Sheffer (PI)
Dates of Project: 6/15/15-6/14/20
Source:  NIDA
Translational Research Education and Training to Eliminate Tobacco Disparities
Role: Research Education Curriculum and Training (REACT) Program faculty


Melara (PI)
Dates of Project: 6/1/17 - 5/31/22
Source: OASAS.
EPIC: Environmental Prevention Initiative at CCNY.
Role: PI


1 ROI CA218496-01A1. Ahles (PI)
Dates of Project: 1/1/18 - 12/31/22.
Source: NCI.
Assessment of sensory gating, attention, and executive control in breast cancer.
Role: Co-Investigator