Timothy Verstynen, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Psychology, CMU

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Research Interest Summary

Neuroscience of Action Planning & Skill Learning; Computational Modeling

Research Interests

My research centers on how we plan our actions, how this changes the experience and how the organization of the underlying neural pathways regulates these abilities. Using a combination of psychophysics, computational modeling and multimodal brain imaging (fMRI, diffusion imaging, TMS, etc.), my lab focuses on three main research themes.

Selecting or stopping actions: How do we quickly convert sensory cues into motor plans? How do we stop a planned action? How do these abilities break down in different populations?
Dynamics of skill learning: Why are some skills learned quickly while others require days or weeks of practice? What are the computational and neural mechanisms involved?
Structure-function associations: Does the topography (i.e. wiring diagram) of a neural pathway reveal aspects of its computations? What features predict individual differences in the organization or integrity of these connections?

Representative Publications

Verstynen, TD, Weinstein, AM, Schneider, WW, Jakicic, JM, Rofey, DL, Erickson, KI. (in press). Increased body mass index is associated with global decreases in white matter microstructural integrity. Psychosomatic Medicine.

Gianaros, PJ, Marsland, AL, Sheu, LK, Erickson, KI, Verstynen, TD. (in press). Inflammatory pathways link socioeconomic disadvantage to white matter architecture. Cerebral Cortex.



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