Dr. Matchock has been a faculty member at Penn State Altoona since 2003. His research focuses on circadian and seasonal rhythms in physiology and behavior, with a special emphasis on reproduction and evolution. One line of research focuses on how reproductive processes (e.g., pubertal maturation/menarche) can be influenced by early testosterone exposure (as measured with 2D:4D ratios or direct assays of testosterone) and family composition or socioendocrinology. In addition, he has investigated seasonal rhythms of menarche, which are possibly mediated by the photoperiod. He has also investigated circadian and seasonal rhythms in steroid hormones such as cortisol and testosterone during the puberty period. A second line of research is related to cognitive neuroscience and investigates how components of attention, (e.g., orienting, alerting, and conflict resolution) can be modulated by chronobiological factors. Specifically, this interdisciplinary work is starting to examine how circadian (time-of-day), homeostatic, and sleep inertia (i.e., that period of grogginess and hypovigilence experienced upon awakening) – induced influences interfere with attentional processes. This research may help to better understand deficits in performance that require selective attention when in a non-optimal state. Finally, Dr. Matchock has recently been involved with various student and colleague-initiated projects such as: the evolutionary basis of grandparent solicitude; how social support (including social support in the form of a pet) can affect physiological components of the stress response; and how proneness to infidelity can be gleaned from facial cues. Dr. Matchock also teaches Introductory Psychology, Research Methods, and courses in Biological Psychology.
Circadian and seasonal rhythms of physiology and behavior, including circadian changes in attention and alertness
Social influences on reproduction
Animal-assisted therapy and the stress response