Nancy O'Neill Associate Professor of Psychology
Dr. Jessica Payne holds appointments at Harvard Medical School and at the University of Notre Dame, where she currently holds the Nancy O'Neill Collegiate Chair in Psychology, and is an Assistant Professor. She is also the director of the Sleep Stress and Memory (SAM) Lab at the University. Payne’s research focuses on how sleep and stress independently and interactively influence human memory, emotion, performance and creativity. She teaches various courses in Psychology and Neurobiology, including a popular course entitled “The Sleeping Brain” for which she won Harvard University’s Bok Center Award for teaching excellence and Notre Dame’s Frank O’Malley award for undergraduate teaching and service. She also recently won the Laird Cermak Award for her contribution to memory research.
Payne has recently become interested in applying her research findings to business organizations, striving to help leaders understand how to work with, rather than against, the natural abilities of the human brain. Dr. Payne is currently the H. Smith Richardson Jr. Fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina. She has also served since 2009 on the Medical Advisory Board for Humana, Inc., a fortune 100 company that markets and administers health insurance with a focus on holistic wellness.
Dr. Payne’s postdoctoral fellowship was split between Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard University’s Psychology Department. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology/Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Arizona, a Master’s Degree in Experimental Psychology from Mount Holyoke College, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of San Diego.
This position was established by the University with earnings from the O’Neill Family Professorship in Philosophy, established in 1979. The original O’Neill Professorship honors two brothers, Francis J. “Steve” O’Neill and Hugh M. O’Neill, while this position pays tribute to Steve’s widow, the late Nancy O’Neill.