Human Neuroscience ; Theory and Computation
Human Neuroscience ; Theory and Computation

Robert Bendheim and Lynn Bendheim Thoman Professor in Neuroscience. Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience.

Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University, 1990
MD, University of Pennsylvania, 1983

Research: Focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms underlying cognitive control, and their disturbance in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression.
Areas of Research: Human Neuroscience; Theory and Computation
Research Lab
240 Neuroscience

Faculty Assistant:
Daisy Anderson

Research Focus

I am a cognitive neuroscientist, with over three decades of research experience in computational and mathematical modeling as well as empirical studies of human brain function and behavior, focusing on the neural mechanisms responsible for cognitive control and human intelligence, and how our growing understanding of these can be brought to bear in the design of computational architectures with more human-like cognitive capabilities. My work lies at the points of contact between neuroscience, psychology, computer science, and mathematics, as well as behavioral economics and psychiatry, and involves collaborations with investigators in each of these fields. Some of the theoretical. empirical, and methodological contributions my colleagues and I have made are reflected in the publications below.

Selected Publications


Cohen JD, Dunbar K & McClelland JL (1990). On the control of automatic processes: A parallel distributed processing model of the Stroop effect. Psychological Review, 97(3), 332-361.

Servan-Schreiber D, Printz H & Cohen JD (1990). A network model of catecholamine effects: Gain, signal-to-noise ratio, and behavior. Science, 249, 892-895.

Cohen JD & Servan-Schreiber D (1992). Context, cortex and dopamine: A connectionist approach to behavior and biology in schizophrenia. Psychological Review, 99, 45-77.

Miller EK & Cohen JD (2001). An integrative theory of prefrontal cortex function. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 24, 167-202. 

Botvinick, MM, Braver TS, Carter CS, Barch DM & Cohen JD (2001). Conflict monitoring and cognitive control. Psychological Review, 108(3) 624-652.

Aston-Jones G & Cohen JD (2005). An integrative theory of locus coeruleus-norepinephrine function: Adaptive gain and optimal performance. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 28, 403-450. 

Rougier NP, Noelle DC, Braver TS, Cohen JD & O’Reilly RC (2005). Prefrontal cortex and the flexibility of cognitive control: Rules without symbols. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 102(20), 7338-7343.

Bogacz R, Brown ET, Moehlis J, Hu P, Holmes P & Cohen JD (2006). The physics of optimal decision making: A formal analysis of models of performance in two-alternative forced choice tasks. Psychological Review, 113(4), 700-765.

Kriete T, Noelle DC, Cohen JD & O’Reilly RC (2013). Indirection and symbol-like processing in the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 110(41), 16390-16395.

Shenhav A, Botvinick MM & Cohen JD (2013). The expected value of control: An integrative theory of anterior cingulate cortex function. Neuron, 79, 217-240.

Musslick S & Cohen JD (2021). Rationalizing constraints on the capacity for cognitive control. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 25(9), 757-775.

Agrawal M, Mattar M, Daw ND & Cohen JD (2021). The temporal dynamics of opportunity costs: A normative account of cognitive fatigue and boredom. Psychological Review, 129(3), 564.

Webb TW, Sinha I & Cohen JD (2021). Emergent symbols through binding in external memory. ICLR 2021: Proceedings of the International Conference on Learning Representations.



Cohen JD, Forman SD, Braver TS, Casey BJ, Servan-Schreiber D & Noll DC (1994). Activation of prefrontal cortex in a non-spatial working memory task with functional MRI. Human Brain Mapping, 1, 293-304.

Carter CS, Braver TS, Barch DM, Botvinick MM, Noll DC & Cohen JD (1998). Anterior cingulate cortex, error detection and the on-line monitoring of performance. Science, 280, 747-749.

MacDonald AW, Cohen JD, Stenger VA & Carter CS (2000). Dissociating the role of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex in cognitive control. Science, 288, 1835-1837.

Greene JD, Sommerville RB, Nystrom LE, Darley JM & Cohen JD (2001). An fMRI investigation of emotional engagement in moral judgment. Science, 293, 2105-2108.

Kerns JG, Cohen JD, MacDonald III AW, Cho RY, Stenger VA & Carter CS (2004). Anterior cingulate conflict monitoring and adjustments in control. Science, 303(5660), 1023-1026.

McClure SM, Laibson DI, Loewenstein G & Cohen JD (2004). Separate neural systems value immediate and delayed monetary rewards. Science, 306, 503-507.

D’Ardenne K, McClure SM, Nystrom LE & Cohen JD (2008). BOLD responses in the dopaminergic ventral tegmental area during a classical conditioning task. Science, 319(5867), 1264-7.

Gilzenrat MS, Nieuwenhuis S & Cohen JD (2010). Pupil Diameter Tracks Changes in Control State Predicted by the Adaptive Gain Theory of Locus Coeruleus Function. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 10(2), 252-269.

Ho M, Abel, D, Correa CG, Littman ML, Cohen JD & Griffiths TL (2022). People construct simple representations to plan. Nature 606(7912), 129-136.



Cohen JD, MacWhinney B, Flatt M & Provost J (1993). PsyScope: A new graphic interactive environment for designing psychology experiments. Behavioral Research Methods, Instruments & Computers, 25(2), 257-271.

Forman SD, Cohen JD, Fitzgerald M, Eddy WF, Mintun MA & Noll DC (1995). Improved assessment of significant activation in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): Use of a cluster-size threshold. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 33, 636-647.

Wang, Y., Li, K., Charikar, M., Cohen, J. D., & Turk-Browne, N. B. (2013). What you find depends on how you look: Category selectivity in frontal cortex revealed by whole-brain correlation analysis. Journal of Vision, 13(9), 493-493.

deBettencourt MT, Cohen JD, Lee RF, Norman KA & Turk-Browne NB (2015). Closed-loop training of attention with real-time brain imaging. Nature Neuroscience, 18(3), 470-474.

Kumar M, Anderson M, Antony J, Baldassano C, Brooks PB, Cai MB, Po-Hsuan, Chen C, Ellis CT, Henselman-Petrusek G, Huberdeau D, Hutchinson B, Li YP, Lu Q, Manning JR, Mennen AC, Nastase SA, Richard H, Schapiro AC, Schuck NW, Shvartsman M, Sundaram N, Suo D, Turek JS, Turner D, Vo V, Wallace G, Wang Y, Williams JA, Zhang H, Zhu X, Capota M, Cohen JD, Hasson U, Li K, Ramadge PJ, Turk-Browne N, Willke TL & Norman KA (2021). BrainIAK: The Brain Imaging Analysis Kit. Aperture Neuro 1(4).

Wallace G, Polcyn S, Brooks PP, Mennen A, Zhao K, Scotti PS, Michelmann S, Li K, Turk- Browne NB, Cohen JD, & Norman KA (2022). RT-Cloud: A cloud-based software framework to simplify and standardize real-time fMRI. NeuroImage, 257, 119295. j.neuroimage.2022.119295 .

Musslick S, Cherkaev A, Draut B, Butt A, Srikumar V, Flatt M & Cohen JD (2022). SweetPea: A standard language for factorial experimental design. Behavioral Methods in Research, 1-25.

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