Brain, Behavior and Cognition

Overview

In Brain, Behavior & Cognition Psychology (BBC), the crossroads of the neural and cognitive sciences are explored.  In this area, psychologists examine how we perceive the world, acquire new information, retrieve memories, communicate and interact with others, and effect complex cognitive abilities such as creative problem solving.

Research in Brain, Behavior & Cognition Psychology at Northwestern University animates several themes. One theme is centered on memory and the various mechanisms whereby information is stored as a function of experience. Memory is revealed in the form of conscious retrieval of autobiographical experiences and in implicit memory that alters behavior without awareness, both of which depend on neurobiological mechanisms of neural plasticity. BBC also investigates a variety of human cognitive phenomena using sophisticated behavioral, neuroimaging, and psychophysiological measures.  EEG measures are used in several BBC labs to study visual perception, attention, emotion, memory, meditation, comprehension of complex language structures, deception, creativity, and insight. Traditional psychophysical methods are used in studies of perception and attention, methods of molecular biology are used in studies of neural plasticity, and studies in patient populations provide additional leverage on the problem of understanding human mental functions from both neural and cognitive perspectives.

A unique strength of BBC Psychology at Northwestern lies in the many opportunities it affords to work in collaboration on projects with other students and faculty. The BBC Program collaborates on projects with the Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program (NUIN), the Cognitive Science Program, the Cognitive Neuroscience Program, the Cognitive Brain Mapping Group, the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, and other units on campus. The BBC Program is a focal point for Cognitive Neuroscience research at Northwestern.