Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience

Behavioral and cognitive neuroscience

Behavioral and cognitive neuroscientists seek to understand the neural mechanisms underlying behavior and cognition. They study how these neural mechanisms unfold across the lifespan and how they support normal and impaired cognition and behavior using a variety of neuroscience approaches in humans and other animals.

In addition to the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Group in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience is represented in other departments, such as psychiatry, neurology, and molecular physiology and biophysics. Members of this group investigate the neural mechanisms underlying such processes as learning, memory, emotion, attention, perception, sleep, development, stress, addiction, thirst, and hunger.

The majority of research in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience area involves the use of animal models to study the neural mechanisms underlying learning, memory, emotion, perception, sleep, development, stress, drug addiction, thirst and hunger. This research involves the use of systems and cellular neuroscience methods such as in vivo neurophysiology, optogenetics, neuropharmacology, neuroanatomy, metabolic imaging, cellular imaging and genetic manipulations, in concert with sophisticated behavioral measures.

The human neuroscience faculty examine the neural mechanisms underlying various behavioral and cognitive processes such as learning, memory, language, emotion, executive function, decision making, as well as the effects of aging on these processes. This research involves the use of primarily noninvasive methods such as scalp-recorded EEG, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and neuropsychological assessment, but also the use of more invasive techniques such as electro-corticography (ECoG).

There is a long history of collaboration between neuroscience researchers in psychology and neurology, starting with the joint appointment of Professor Arthur Benton in psychology and neurology and the founding of the Benton Neuropsychological Laboratory (located in neurology). There are also strong ties between psychology and the departments of psychiatry, neurosurgery, otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, biology, and communication sciences and disorders.

Participating Research Centers, Projects and Programs

Education and Training