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.

Human Cognition faculty are listed here. Seminars and other activities can be viewed at the Cognitive Brain Mapping Group site.

Upcoming event

The Human Cognition T32 is excited to host a “Candid Conversations with Faculty” event with Dr. Mike Yassa on Monday, August from noon-1:30pm on the Chicago campus, Laboratory for Human Neuroscience, Ward Building 19th Floor, 303 E. Chicago Ave.

We’d like to invite any interested graduate student or postdoc in our Northwestern cognitive neuroscience community to attend.  There are a limited number of spots which we’ll fill first come, first served.  Additional information and the opportunity to RSVP can be found on this google form​.  You’ll receive an email to confirm your space at the conversation.  Please direct any questions to


Ken Paller, PhD

Associate Director:

Marek-Marsel Mesulam, MD

Steering Committee:

Ken Paller, PhD
Marek-Marsel Mesulam, MD
John Disterhoft, PhD
Marcia Grabowecky, PhD
Paul Reber, PhD


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

Predoctoral Trainees:

Melisa Menceloglu (Advisor: Satori Suzuki, PhD)
Kristen Warren (Advisor: Joel Voss, PhD)

Predoctoral Affiliate Trainees:

Ann Carroll (Advisor: Robin Nusslock, PhD) (Clinical Psychology program)
Tina Gupta (Advisor: Vijay Mittal, PhD) (Clinical Psychology program)
Torben Noto (Advisor: Christina Zelano, PhD)

Postdoctoral Trainees:

James Kragel (Advisor: Donna Jo Bridge, PhD)
Matthew Nelson (Advisors: Marsel Mesulam, MD; Matthew Tate, MD, PhD)

For more information, contact Dr. Ken Paller: