Cognitive-Neuroscience Program Faculty


The Department of Psychology partners with the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) to provide interested students with training in cognitive neuroscience. Created in 1994, the CNBC is dedicated to the study of the neural basis of cognitive processes, including learning and memory, language and thought, perception, attention, and affect. Students interested in this option must be admitted into and complete the requirements of one of our training programs, while also being admitted into and completing the requirements of the CNBC certificate program. This allows students to complement deep training in the behavioral sciences with an advanced understanding of brain function and neuroscience methods.

Students in the CNBC certificate program complete four courses, attend CNBC sponsored colloquia and student-sponsored "brain bags," and participate in an annual retreat. They receive travel support, a personal computer of their choice, and in some cases stipend support (e.g., through appointment to the Behavioral-Brain training program designed especially for students in the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon Psychology departments).

Interested students may apply to the CNBC at the same time as they apply to a training program in our department, or at any point during their early training in our department.

Students can work with any faculty advisor in the Department of Psychology and also complete the CNBC certificate program. However, the participating faculty members have an especially strong interest in cognitive neuroscience training.

Participating Faculty

  • James Becker, Ph.D. Human memory disorders, the neuroanatomical damage which produces human memory disorders
  • Marc Coutanche, Ph.D. Learning through fast mapping, concept learning, memory consolidation, the role of sleep in memory formation, ventral temporal cortex, anterior temporal lobes, fMRI analysis methods, informational connectivity, applications of machine learning methods to brain data
  • Eric Donny, Ph.D. Addiction, behavioral pharmacology, nicotine and tobacco research
  • Kirk Erickson, PhD. Effects of exercise and environment on brain function
  • Julie Fiez, Ph.D. Behavioral and neuroimaging investigations of: 1) language, reading, and working memory, 2) reward and motivation, and 3) learning and plasticity
  • Erika Forbes, Ph.D. Positive affect and reward processing in the development of adolescent depression
  • Peter Gianaros, Ph.D. Neurobiology of stress and health disparities
  • Tirsten Inagaki, Ph.D. Social affective neuroscience, social relationships and health
  • Jana Iverson, Ph.D. Communication development in typical and atypical populations, early identification of autism
  • Melissa Libertus, Ph.D. Developmental cognitive neuroscience, educational neuroscience, numerical cognition
  • Beatriz Luna, Ph.D. changes in brain function that underlie the development of response inhibition and working memory, plasticity of brain function in childhood epilepsy, neurophysiology of autism and schizophrenia
  • Chuck Perfetti, Ph.D. Language and reading processes, relations between contexts and linguistic structures in parsing and comprehension, role of implicit speech processes in reading across different writing systems, individual differences in reading ability, learning from texts, with an emphasis on learning and reasoning about history texts
  • Michael Pogue-Geile, Ph.D. Behavior genetics, schizophrenia, neuropsychology
  • Kathryn Roecklein, Ph.D. Behavioral genetics of mood disorders, circadian rhythms
  • Michael Sayette, Ph.D. Nicotine and alcohol use, abuse, and cessation, cognitive control and social influences
  • Walter Schneider, Ph.D.  Cognitive neuroscience, connectionist and physiological models of cognition, attention and automaticity, skill acquisition
  • Christian Schunn, Ph.D. spatial cognition, complex learning, educational neuroscience
  • Daniel Shaw, Ph.D. developmental precursors of child conduct problem, identification of gene x environment interactions
  • Greg J. Siegle, Ph.D. physiological and neuroimaging investigation of emotional information processing and interactions between emotion and cognition in healthy individuals and individuals who are clinically depressed, Computational neural network modeling of interactions of emotion and cognition, and their application to affective psychopathology
  • Natasha Tokowicz, Ph.D. Adult second language learning, bilingualism, within and across-language lexical ambiguity, semantic representations within and across languages
  • Melissa Libertus, Ph.D. Cognitive development; math abilities; numerical cognition; working memory; individual differences in cognitive abilities in infancy and childhood; developmental cognitive neuroscience (EEG/ERP, fMRI)