Training Program in the Neuroscience of Human Cognition

Cognitive Neuroscience Program

In a group of laboratories at Northwestern, ground-breaking investigations of the functions of the human brain are being accomplished using state-of-the-art methods of monitoring the brain in action. By anchoring these psychological investigations in brain science, future work in these labs promises to produce many new insights into the human mind and various human talents such as creativity, memory, perception, and awareness.

Northwestern researchers are inventing novel ways to creatively apply brain imaging and other methods to attack age-old questions about the mind. Whereas only philosophical approaches were used in the past to ask about the nature of human experience – how we perceive the world, how we attain knowledge and come to understand new ideas, and what underlies the awareness that each of us personally and privately experiences – modern methods of neuroscience can now be applied. We can now study in great detail how various mental feats are accomplished. A partial list of phenomena currently under study by Northwestern Cognitive Neuroscience professors includes:

  • how people come up with insights (Aha! experiences)
  • how memories are formed in the brain
  • how our two hemispheres work cooperatively
  • basic steps to seeing visual objects
  • become an expert in seeing visual categories
  • subliminal perception
  • memories we have that don’t become conscious
  • recognizing the people we know
  • remembering something that never happened
  • how a good night’s sleep helps memory and insight
  • drawing inferences to understanding language
  • and how emotion and attention can alter perception, thinking, and problem-solving.



Paller, Ken, PhD

Associate Director:

Mesulam, Marek-Marsel, MD

Steering Committee:

Paller, Ken, PhD
Mesulam, Marek-Marsel, MD
Disterhoft, John, PhD
Kraus, Nina, PhD
Reber, Paul, PhD

View list of all Faculty Profiles associated this grant


Apkarian, Apkar, PhD Grabowecky, Marcia, PhD Revelle, William, PhD
Ashley, Richard, PhD Houk, James, PhD Richeson, Jennifer, PhD
Beeman, Mark, PhD Kording, Konrad, PhD Rogalski, Emily, PhD
Bodenhausen, Galen, PhD Kraus, Nina, PhD Rosenfeld, J. Peter, PhD
Booth, James, PhD Kuhnen, Camelia, PhD Suzuki, Satoru, PhD
Bradlow, Ann, PhD Larson, Charles, PhD Thompson, Cynthia, PhD
Breiter, Hans, MD Marian, Viorica, PhD Voss, Joel, PhD
Chiao, Joan, PhD Mesulam, Marek-Marsel, MD Wang, Lei, PhD
Csernansky, John, MD Mineka, Susan, PhD Weintraub, Sandra, PhD
Disterhoft, John, PhD Nusslock, Robin, PhD Wong, Patrick, PhD
Franconeri, Steven, PhD Ortony, Andrew, PhD Wright, Beverly, PhD
Gentner, Dedre, PhD Paller, Ken, PhD Zee, Phyllis, MD, PhD
Goldrick, Matthew, PhD Parrish, Todd, PhD Zinbarg, Richard, PhD
Gottfried, Jay, PhD Reber, Paul, PhD


PreDoctoral Trainees:

James Bartolotti (Advisor: Marian, Viorica, PhD)
Yangqing Xu, PhD (Advisor: Franconeri, Steven, PhD)
Darya Zabelina (Advisor: Beeman, Mark, PhD)

Pre Doctoral Affiliate Trainees:

Sara Berger (Advisor: Apkarian, Vania, PhD)
Narun Pornpattananagkul (Advisor: Nusslock, Robin, PhD)
Michael Tennekoon (Advisor:  Booth, James, PhD)

PostDoctoral Trainees:

Sabra Abbott, PhD (Advisor: Zee, Phyllis, MD, PhD)
Laura Batterink, PhD (Advisor: Paller, Ken, PhD)
David Brang, PhD (Advisor: Gravowecky, Marcia, PhD)
Reuven Hammer, PhD (Advisor: Booth, James, PhD)
Anthony Ryals, PhD (Advisor: Voss, Joel, PhD)

For more information, contact: Sally McIver