Cognitive Program Faculty

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* This faculty member is not accepting graduate students for the 2015–2016 school year

Marie Banich

Research Interests: My research program takes a cognitive neuroscience approach to understanding brain processes involved in attentional and executive control. My research mainly focuses on using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine this issue in both neurologically-intact and clinical populations, in individuals ranging in age from adolescents to adulthood.

Lyle E. Bourne, Jr.

Research Interests: My main interest is in cognitive psychology, but I have also worked in clinical, biological, and social psychology. I now do research primarily on human learning and memory for facts and skills. I use basically an experimental approach in research, but I have also collaborated on the development of quantitative and computational models and on neurophysiological studies of cognitive processes.

Eliana Colunga

Research Interests: Cognitive and language development, combining computational modeling and cross-linguistic studies with children and adults.

Tim Curran

Research Interests: My main research interests focus on the cognitive neuroscience of memory, learning, and visual object recognition. More specific interests include recognition memory and perceptual expertise. Most of my research involves EEG recording and/or behavioral research, but I am beginning to dabble in fMRI and studies with psychoactive drugs.

Lewis O. Harvey, Jr.

Research Interests:Vision and visual perception, psychophysics, signal detection theory, dynamic organization, & human factors/ergonomics

Alice F. Healy

Research Interests: My research interests include memory and cognitive processes, especially long-term retention, learning, information processing, psycholinguistics, reading, short-term memory, and decision-making. In recent years, my research has been focused on training knowledge and skills with the aim to optimize training efficiency, the durability of trained knowledge and skills over delay intervals with no rehearsal or practice, and the transfer of learned knowledge and skills to new contexts and modified task requirements. My other research focuses include letter and word processing in reading, memory for item and order information, and political peace and war decisions. My studies use an analytic, experimental approach.

Matt Jones

Research Interests: My research uses mathematical and computational modeling to explore the interplay between learning and knowledge representation. One line of work uses sequential effects in category learning and related tasks to investigate perceptual dimensions, selective attention, and the nature of category representations. Related research studies the role of relational structure and analogy in concept representations, and implications for syntactic-semantic interactions in language comprehension. More recently I have been working on integrating principles of category learning and reinforcement learning, to understand how discovering effective internal representations facilitates learning of complex, dynamic tasks.

Albert Kim

Research Interests: My laboratory investigates the neural bases of language processing. We use neuroscientific and behavioral measures as well as computational modeling techniques to approach this issue. Most of our current work uses scalp-recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) to study neural processes involved in language processing. We study the neural mechanisms that subserve grammatical, semantic, and higher levels of processing during sentence comprehension. We also study the neural mechanisms of visual word recognition, including very early processes around 150 milliseconds after the onset of a visual word.

Walter Kintsch

Research Interests: Language, learning, and memory

Akira Miyake

Research Interests: My research interests focus on the nature and organization of working memory (including inner speech) and executive functions as well as their roles in complex cognition. I study these topics in a variety of contexts (e.g., language comprehension and learning, spatial thinking, fluid reasoning) using behavioral experiments, individual differences analyses, and behavioral genetics. In my recent collaborative research, I have also started to examine how different types of executive functions (e.g., updating, shifting, and inhibiting) may be implicated in behavioral self-regulation (e.g., dieting, substance use) and other socially and clinically important behaviors, such as the expression and suppression of stereotypes.

Yuko Munakata

Research Interests: My research focuses on the developmental changes that support cognitive control over one's behavior. How do we become increasingly able to maintain goals in working memory, inhibit inappropriate behaviors, and manage other aspects of executive function? Why do children often show behavioral dissociations in this process, appearing precocious when tested with certain tasks, but clueless on other measures meant to measure the same abilities? I am particularly interested in the learning mechanisms and knowledge representations that support these processes. My lab uses multiple methods, with a focus on behavioral and computational neural network approaches.

Richard K. Olson

Research Interests: My research is focused on the etiology and remediation reading disabilities and ADHD. Data from identical and fraternal twins are being used to assess the genetic and environmental influence on reading, ADHD, and related cognitive deficits. The remediation of reading and related language deficits is being explored through the use of computer programs in the Boulder schools. We are also longitudinally testing population samples of twins in Australia, Colorado, and Scandinavia beginning in preschool and following them through the early grades to better understand the genetic and environmental etiology of individual differences in early reading, language, and attention across different countries.

Randall O'Reilly

Research Interests: I develop computational and formal models of the biological bases of cognition (computational cognitive neuroscience), focusing on specialization of function in and interactions between hippocampus, prefrontal cortex/basal ganglia, and posterior neocortex in learning, memory, attention, and controlled processing. I test predictions from these models using a range of behavioral and other experimental techniques, and in collaboration with other researchers. I am currently working on integrating various existing models into an embodied cognitive agent, to explore the sensory-motor grounding of cognition and more realistic forms of learning.

Peter G. Polson

Research Interests: Formal theories of skill acquisition and transfer, human-computer interaction, the application of cognitive models in design processes.

Tor Wager

Research Interests: The mission of our lab is to investigate the brain pathways that underlie the generation and regulation of pain and emotion. One line of work concerns how cognitive and motivational factors influence the way in which painful stimuli and other aversive events are processed in the brain and body. Two related lines of work involve developing biomarkers for pain and emotion, and studying the roles of conceptual knowledge and learning in pain perception and avoidance behavior. A fourth line of work investigates the cortical-subcortical circuits involved in social evaluative threat. Recent and ongoing studies combine measurements of emotional behavior and self-report, brain activity (measured with fMRI, or, less frequently, PET or EEG), and peripheral physiology, including measures of autonomic and endocrine activity. Our lab has a particular emphasis on developing and using new analysis methods to gain a clearer picture systems-level interactions among of brain regions. We are also engaged in collaborative, translational research incorporating brain systems-level analyses into the study of clincial disorders, including PTSD, depression, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder.

Michael Wertheimer

Research Interests: 

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