My research investigates the importance of sleep from various perspectives: its role in emotional memory in animals, its relationship to memory errors in humans, and its alteration in individuals with concussion. I have interests in the basic science aspects of this work - such as the role of sleep in emotional memory in animals and memory errors in humans - as well as translational work with applications to disorders involving impairments of memory such as PTSD and concussion.
For decades my research focused on understanding the basic mechanisms of sleep and emotional memory in laboratory animals. I discovered that short-term REM sleep deprivation produces a memory impairment that is comparable to one of the fundamental symptoms of PTSD. More recently, I have been collaborating with Marianne Lloyd, Ph.D., to investigate the relationship between sleep and sleep disturbances to memory errors in humans. I am also working with Sona Patel, Ph.D., of the School of Health and Medical Sciences to better understand how sleep is altered after concussion.
In addition, I have a line of pedagogical research investigating how various syllabus features affect student perceptions of faculty members, partly conducted in collaboration with Elizabeth McCrea, Ph.D., of the School of Business.
I have been at Seton Hall since 2003. Courses that I frequently teach include Biological Psychology (and lab), Undergraduate Teaching Experience in Psychology, Research Methods, Neuropsychology of Religious Experience, and Orientation to the Psychology Major. Prior to my arrival at SHU I worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, where I conducted research on the neural mechanisms of sleep and emotion, and as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Purdue University - Fort Wayne in Indiana.
- Ph.D., University of Vermont, 1997
- M.A., University of Vermont, 1994
- B.A., Salve Regina University, 1991
- Hunter, A.S., & Meshkati, N. (2020). A descriptive analysis of the perceptions of graduating psychology majors: Reasons for choosing the major, valuable experiences, and suggestions for change. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/stl0000232
- Hunter, A.S. (2019). Short-term REM deprivation does not affect acquisition or reversal of a spatial learning task. Behavioural Processes. https://doi.org/ 10.1016/j.beproc.2019.103985
- Howard, K.A. & Hunter. A.S. (2019). Immediate and long-lasting cognitive consequences of adolescent chronic sleep restriction. Behavioral Neuroscience. doi: 10.1037/bne0000312
- Hunter, A.S. (2018). REM deprivation but not sleep fragmentation produces a sex-specific impairment in extinction. Physiology and Behavior, 196, 84-94. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.08.008
- Hunter, A.S. & Lloyd, M.E. (2018). Faculty discuss study strategies, but not the best ones: A survey of suggested exam preparation techniques for difficult courses across disciplines. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 4(2), 105-114. doi: 10.1037/stl10000107
- Hunter, A.S. (2015). Impaired extinction of fear conditioning after REM deprivation is magnified by rearing in an enriched environment. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 122, 11-18. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2015.01.003
- "The effects of social housing on extinction of fear conditioning in rapid eye movement sleep deprived rats." Experimental Brain Research, 232(5), 1459-67. doi: 10.1007/s00221-014-3828-x, May 2014.
- Effects of REM deprivation and an NMDA agonist on the extinction of conditioned fear." Physiology and Behavior, 93, 274- 281, August 2008.
- "REM sleep deprivation affects extinction of cued but not contextual conditioning." Physiology and Behavior, 84(3), 343- 349, May 2005.
Grants and Awards
- Seton Hall Faculty Teacher of the Year, 2014
- Psychology Professor of the Year, awarded by the Seton Hall chapter of Psi Chi, 2012
- Provost's Faculty Scholarship Award: Journal article publication (2008)
- Provost's Summer Research Fellowship, Summer 2005, Project title: REM Sleep Deprivation and Learning: Neurobiological Mechanisms
- Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Summer 2008, with Jessica Nicaretta (undergraduate student); Project title: Effects of REM Sleep Deprivation on Spatial Memory: Data Analysis