Cognition and Behavior

Research in the area of cognition and behavior is concerned with linking neurological processes with cognitive processes or behavior. Some researchers in this area use brain electroencephalography (EEG) to examine the brain’s electrophysiological correlates of such cognitive processes as attention , executive functioning, and learning and memory (Cleary and Davies). Some researchers use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine which brain areas are involved in different aspects of learning, memory or decision-making (Cleary and Seger). Other researchers examine the behavioral effects of altered brain development caused by selective genetic deletions (Tobet), and how anti-insulin-like growth factor (IGF) affects performance on cognitive tests (Ishii).


Cleary: The Cleary lab studies human memory, with a particular focus on familiarity-based recognition.  We study familiarity as it relates to the processing of music, linguistic information, and pictorial information as well as how it relates to such phenomena as the experience of déjà vu. We attempt to understand the neural underpinnings of familiarity-based recognition using both electrophysiological methods such as EEG and skin conductance, and we collaborate with other MCIN labs using neuroimaging methods, such as fMRI.        

Cleary AM, Ryals AJ, Nomi JN. Can déjà vu result from similarity to a prior experience? Support for the similarity hypothesis of déjà vu. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 16,1082-1088 (2009).

Morris AL, Cleary AM, Still MS. The role of autonomic arousal in feelings of familiarity. Consciousness and Cognition 17, 1378-1385 (2008).


Davies: We examine the relationship between brain processing, using EEG, and functional behaviors (i.e., cognition and performance in everyday activities).  Cognitive and behavioral measures of interest include attention, executive functions, intelligence, self-regulation, academic performance, motor and sensory behaviors.

Chang W-P, Davies PL, Gavin WJ,  Error Monitoring in College Students with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  J Psychophysiol 23, 113-125 (2009). 

Hwang J-L, Davies PL.  Brief Report—Rasch Analysis of the School Function Assessment Provides Additional Evidence for the Meaningfulness of the Activity Performance Scales.  Am J Occupational Therapy, 63, 369-373 (2009).


Ishii: Anti-insulin-like growth factor (IGF) infused i.c.v. blocks learning and memory (L&M) in rats.  Elderly people with the lowest IGF levels do most poorly on cognitive tests. Alzheimer's patients, diabetic patients, and diabetic rats have low IGF levels and impaired L&M. Treatment with IGF prevents impaired learning/memory in the latter. IGF also preserves synapses, CNS circuitry and behavioral reflexes in lesioned animals.

Pulford BE, Whalen LR, Ishii DN. Peripherally administered IGF-I preserves hindlimb reflex and spinal cord noradrenergic circuitry following a central nervous system lesion in rats. Exptl Neurol 159, 114-123 (1999).

Lupien S.B, Bluhm EJ, Ishii DN. Systemic IGF-I administration prevents cognitive impairment in diabetic rats, and brain IGF regulates learning/memory in normal adult rats. JNeurosci Res 74, 512-523 (2003).


Seger: Broadly, the Seger lab is interested in relating the cognitive processes involved in human learning and thinking to their neural substrates.  We are particularly interested in how the basal ganglia are involved in category learning, sequence learning, and decision making.  In addition, we collaborate on studies of memory, language, music, and executive functioning with other MCIN laboratories.

Seger CA, Miller EK.  Category learning in the brain.  Annu Rev Neurosci (in press) (2010)

Schmidt G, Seger CA. Neural correlates of metaphor processing:  The roles of figurativeness, familiarity and difficulty. Brain and Cognition 71375-386 (2009).


Tobet: We conduct behavior tests to determine whether selective genetic deletions that alter brain development impact functions in adulthood.

Grgurevic N, Büdefeld T, Rissman EF, Tobet SA, Majdic G. Aggressive behaviors in adult SF-1 knockout mice that are not exposed to gonadal steroids during development.Behav Neurosci  122,876-884 (2008). PMID: 18729641

Zhao L, Kim KW, Ikeda Y, Anderson KK, Beck L, Chase S, Tobet SA, Parker KL. CNS-specific   knockout of steroidogenic factor 1 results in increased anxiety-like behavior.Mol Endo 22,1403-1415 (2008). PMID: 18372344