Skip to main content


How cognitive control emerges in the brain

Research Achievements

How cognitive control emerges in the brain

Deanna Barch and Todd Braver study how humans exert control over their thoughts and behavior, and how this control can break down. Cognitive control is a central aspect of many higher-level functions, such as attention and working memory. Further, the loss of cognitive control is a major component of many neuropsychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia. The ultimate goal of their research is to contribute to an understanding of how cognitive control emerges in the brain, in terms of the interactions between neural processing elements, and without recourse to "homunculus"-type explanations. Further, they wish to understand the role that loss of cognitive control plays in neuropsychiatric disorders, and what underlying pathophysiology gives rise to such control deficits. To achieve these goals, they use computational modeling and convergent cognitive neuroscience methods. Over the IGERT grant period Drs. Barch and Braver have trained eight CCSN trainees and associates.