Justin MacDonald, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology


Auditory research scientist and professor with experience in audio interface design and evaluation, statistics, and psychoacoustics. Strong skills in experiment design, data analysis, simulation, and interface design and testing.


Ph.D., Quantitative-Mathematical Psychology, Purdue University
M.S., Quantitative-Mathematical Psychology, Purdue University
B. S., Psychology, University of Washington


Assistant/Associate Professor, Engineering Psychology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 8/07 – present. Develop and execute research lines in the areas of human auditory interface design, audio algorithms, and statistical methodology. Perception research lines include the development and evaluation of augmented auditory reality devices, as well as the development of novel auditory interfaces such as those based on bone conduction and spatial audio. Currently the Principal Investigator for an NIH grant for $856k (2017 through 2020) to develop and evaluate an assistive device for the hearing impaired. The device uses eye-tracking and a novel source separation algorithm to amplify sounds coming from the direction of the user’s eye gaze. System development and evaluation are currently underway.

Research Psychologist, Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, 1/04 – 5/07. Led human factors research in applied auditory perception, including work in bone-conducted hearing, HRTF measurement, spatial audio, sound localization, speech intelligibility, interface and communication system design and evaluation, loudspeaker equalization, and hearing protection.

Research Scientist, Science Applications International Corporation, Columbia, South Carolina, 4/06 – 9/06. Led a short-term research project for the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute during a leave of absence from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory position. Designed and executed an extensive research program to test newly developed deception detection equipment in the field.


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Skills and Expertise

  • Coding: Python, MATLAB, SQL, some C/C++ & SAS
  • Machine Learning: Linear regression, logistic regression, decision trees, random forest
  • Univariate and multivariate statistical analysis
  • Cognitive and computational modeling
  • Experiment design and human data collection
  • Algorithm design for augmented auditory perception

Funding History

  • Attention-guided speech enhancement for hearing-impaired listeners (funded 1/6/2017). Role: Principal Investigator. NIH Support of Competitive Research (SC1) grant. Amount: $856,933 ($600,000 direct costs, $256,933 indirect costs) over 4 years.
  • Development of a model of multisource sound localization (5/22/2009 – 9/15/2009). Role: Principal Investigator. Army Research Laboratory Director’s Research Initiative (DRI) grant. Amount: $100,000 direct costs.