Joel Voss, PhD
Department of Medical Social Sciences and Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
633 N. Saint. Clair St., 19th Fl.
Chicago, IL 60611
Research in the Laboratory for Human Neuroscience in the Department of Medical Social Sciences concerns how specialized neural systems interact to support behavior and cognition, and how these interactions become disrupted in mental illness and neurological disorder. We focus on learning and memory, seeking to understand how neural processing is altered by experience and how these alterations relate to the awareness that learning has occurred and the ability to modify future behaviors accordingly. Central to this work is the acknowledgment that even simple behaviors and learning abilities rely on complex chains of interactions among distinct brain regions and associated cognitive operations, such as those related to executive control, attention, memory, and motor control. We therefore develop new methods to tease apart these interactions and thus study the linkages among neural processing, behavior, and cognition in a manner that honors this complexity.
Some issues that we are currently pursuing include: (1) the antecedents of mental illness and neurological disorder in disrupted brain-system interactions early in life, (2) the neural processing responsible for volition and the disruptions that cause avolitional symptoms in schizophrenia and depression, and (3) the distinction between conscious and nonconscious processing and how an individual’s general awareness of processing relates to his ability to introspect on the negative impacts of poor mental/physical health (i.e., health-related quality of life). The tools we use currently include eye-movement tracking, electroencephalography (EEG/ERP), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and various methods for modeling brain-system interactions. This research is currently supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Voss JL, Paller KA (2009). An electrophysiological signature of unconscious recognition memory. Nature Neuroscience, 12, 349-355.
Voss JL, Paller KA (2010). Real-time neural signals of perceptual priming with unfamiliar geometric shapes. Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 9181-9188.
Voss JL, Lucas HD, Paller KA (2010). Conceptual priming and familiarity: Different expressions of memory during recognition testing with distinct neurophysiological correlates. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22, 2638-2651.
Voss JL, Gonsalves BD, Federmeier KD, Tranel D, Cohen NJ (2011). Hippocampal brain-network coordination during volitional exploratory behavior enhances learning. Nature Neuroscience, 14, 115-120.
Voss JL, Warren DE, Gonsalves BD, Federmeier KD, Tranel D, Cohen NJ (2011). Spontaneous revisitation during visual exploration as a link among strategic behavior, learning, and the hippocampus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,108(31):E402–E409.