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 with this grant


Apkarian, A. Vania Grafman, Jordan Rogalski, Emily
Ashley, Ric Kahnt, Thorsten Rosenfeld, J. Peter
Beeman, Mark Kording, Konrad Siddique, Teepu
Bodenhausen, Galen Kraus, Nina Suzuki, Satoru
Bradlow, Ann Larson, Chuck Thompson, Cynthia
Cerf, Moran Losh, Molly Voss, Joel
Corcos, Daniel Marian, Viorica Wang, Lei
Csernansky, John Mesulam, M. Marsel Weintraub, Sandra
Disterhoft, John Nusslock, Robin Wright, Beverly
Franconeri, Steve Paller, Ken Zee, Phyllis
Gentner, Dedre Parrish, Todd Zinbarg, Rick
Goldrick, Matt Reber, Paul
Gottfried, Jay Revelle, William
Grabowecky, Marcia Richeson, Jennifer

Predoctoral Trainees:

Amanda Cook (Advisor: Emily Rogalski, PhD)
Paula de los Angeles (Advisor: Lei Wang, PhD)
Nelly Papalambros (Advisor: Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD)
Laura Shanahan (Advisor: Jay Gottfried, MD, PhD)
Darya Zabelina (Advisor: Mark Beeman, PhD)
Jacob Zweig (Advisor: Marcia Grabowecky, PhD)

Predoctoral Affiliate Trainees:

James Bartolotti (Advisor: Viorica Marian, PhD)
Narun Pornpattananagkul (Advisor: Robin Nusslock, PhD)
Darya Zabelina (Advisor: Mark Beeman, PhD)

Postdoctoral Trainees:

Reuven Hammer, PhD (Advisor: James Booth, PhD)
Andrew Lovett, PhD (Advisor: Steven Franconeri, PhD)

For more information, contact Dr. Ken Paller: