Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour

Jennifer J. Stiegler-Balfour, Ph.D.


Professor, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Assistant Academic Director, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences


Decary Hall 351
Biddeford Campus
Eligible for Student Opportunities

Dr. Stiegler-Balfour is a Professor of Psychology and the principal investigator of the Reading Comprehension and Cognition (RCC) Lab. The primary questions addressed in the RCC Lab are focused on gaining a better understand of the memory processes involved in reading comprehension and learning. Among her current projects is a series of studies focused on examining the impact of emerging technologies such as iPads, Kindles and other tablets on reading comprehension and learning processes. Dr. Stiegler-Balfour teaches courses including Psychology Statistics and Research Methods, Cognition and Memory, Psychology of Consciousness and a seminar in Cognition and Learning. Since 2011, Dr. Stiegler-Balfour has also served as the faculty advisor of the UNE Chapter of the PSI CHI Honor Society. 



Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology
University of New Hampshire
M.S.T. in College Teaching
University of New Hampshire
Hood College


Current research

The foundation of Dr. Stiegler-Balfour’s research is focused on exploring basic and applied questions of human cognition with a focus on understanding and improving learning during reading.

At the center of her research is the pursuit of a deeper understanding of the various factors which differentiate skilled- from less-skilled readers, and the actions which can be undertaken to remediate reading deficits. Her work in assessing the dynamic relation between reading skill, text characteristics and reading strategies has been recognized by the Society for Text and Discourse in the form of the Jason Albrecht Outstanding Young Scientist Award (2010).

One of Dr. Stiegler-Balfour’s current research projects investigates the connection between technology and reading comprehension and learning. Specifically, this line of research examines whether reading on digital mediums (e.g. iPads, Kindles, computers) can be a reasonable alternative to traditional print text, particularly for individuals who have lower reading skill. Further studies are underway to determine how reading on digital devices can be optimized for readers. 

Selected publications

* denotes student author

Stiegler-Balfour, J.J., Martin, N.T.*, & Sahouria, A.* (2024). Does the talking head matter? The mediating effect of social connectedness on cognitive load and remote learning during a global pandemic. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology. Advance online publication.

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., Roberts, Z.*, LaChance, A.*, Sahouria, A.*, & Newborough, E.* (2023). Is reading under print and digital conditions really equivalent? Differences in reading and recall of expository text for higher and lower ability comprehenders. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 176,

Smith, E.R., Stiegler-Balfour, J.J., Williams, C.R., Walsh, E.K., & O'Brien, E.J. (2020). Access to prior spatial information. Memory & Cognition, 48(7), 1234-1248. doi: 10.3758/s13421-019-00996-4.

Stiegler-Balfour, J.J., Jakobsen, K.V., Stroud, M.J., & Daniel, D.B. (2020). APA-style citations can create a roadblock to textbook comprehension for less-skilled readers. Teaching of Psychology, 47(2), 147-155. doi: 10.1177/0098628320901384

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. & Benassi, V. A. (2015). Guiding questions promote learning of expository text for less-skilled readers. Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 1, 312-325. doi:10.1037/stl0000044 

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (2015). Teaching online courses in psychology. In D. Dunn (Ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Undergraduate Psychology Education (pp. 275-285). Oxford University Press, NY: NY.

Troisi, J.D., Leder-Elder, S., Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., Fleck, B.K.B., Good, J.J. (2015). Effective teaching outcomes associated with the mentorship of early career psychologists. Teaching of Psychology, 42, 242-247. doi: 10.1177/0098628315587623

Troisi, J. D., Leder-Elder, S., Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., Fleck, B. K. B., Good, J. J. (2015). Not all types of mentors are created equal: Comparing the effectiveness of intra-departmental, intra-university, and self-selected mentors. Teaching of Psychology, 29, 17-22.

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., Benassi, V. A., Tatsak, H.*, Taatjes, A. * (2014). The influence of guiding questions on skilled- and less-skilled readers’ understanding of written discourse. In V. A. Benassi, C. E Overson, & C. M. Hakala (Eds.), Applying the science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum (pp. 293-298). Retrieved from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology website: ISBN:  978-1-941804-29-2.

Good, J. J., Keeley, J., Leder, S., Afful, S., & Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. (2013). Supporting our junior faculty: Assessing the concerns and needs of early career faculty. Teaching of Psychology, 40, 340-345. doi: 10.1177/0098628313501048

Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., & Overson, C. E. (2012). Useful resources for preparing the new professoriate. In W. Buskist, & Benassi, V. A (Eds.), Effective college and university teaching: Strategies and tactics for the new professoriate (pp. 207-217). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN: 978-1-4129-9607-5

Cook, A. E., Lassonde, K. A., Splinter, A., Guéraud, S., Stiegler-Balfour, J. J. & O’Brien, E. J. (2012). The role of relevance in the activation and instantiation of predictive inferences. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 29 244-257. doi: 10.1080/01690965.2012.748926

Blanc, N., Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., & O’Brien, E. J. (2011). Does the certainty of information influence the updating process? Evidence from the reading of news articles. Discourse Processes, 48, 387-403. doi: 10.1080/0163853X.2011.552844

Research interests

Dr. Stiegler-Balfour is interested in developing a deeper understanding of the cognitive processes involved in reading comprehension, memory following learning experiences and translation of cognitive science research to educational settings.

Research topics