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
Grabowecky, Marcia, Ph
Reber, Paul, PhD


Apkarian, A. Vania Paller, Ken
Beeman, Mark Parrish, Todd
Csernansky, John Reber, Paul
Disterhoft, John Rogalski, Emily
Franconeri, Steve Siddique, Teepu
Gottfried, Jay Suzuki, Satoru
Grabowecky, Marcia Thompson, Cynthia
Grafman, Jordan Voss, Joel
Kahnt, Thorsten Wang, Lei
Kording, Konrad Weintraub, Sandra
Kraus, Nina Zee, Phyllis
Marian, Viorica
Mesulam, Marsel
Nusslock, Robin

Predoctoral Trainees:

Amanda Cook (Advisor: Emily Rogalski, PhD)
Paula de los Angeles (Advisor: Lei Wang, PhD)
Laura Shanahan (Advisor: Jay Gottfried, MD, 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:

Michael Cohen (Advisor: Paul Reber, PhD)
James Howard (Advisor: Thorsten Kahnt, PhD)
Carola Salvi (Advisors: Mark Beeman, PhD, Jordan Grafman, PhD)

For more information, contact Dr. Ken Paller: