Brain And Cognitive Science Faculty

* Faculty member who may supervise Ph.D. students in Psychology

Core Faculty

Antoine Bechara 
(Ph.D., 1991, University of Toronto)
Professor and Area Head
Decision neuroscience, addiction, smoking, prefrontal cortex, insula, Iowa Gambling Task, brain lesions, brain imaging

Laura A. Baker 
(Ph.D., 1983, University of Colorado)
Director, Southern California Twin Project
Behavioral genetics, childhood psychopathology, aggression, antisocial behavior, individual differences

Irving Biederman 
(Ph.D, 1966, University of Michigan)
Harold W. Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience
Director, Image Understanding Laboratory
Shape recognition; object, face, and scene perception and recognition; perceptual and cognitive pleasure; brain imaging, attention.

Antonio Damasio 
(M.D., Ph.D., 1974, University of Lisbon)
David Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience and Professor of Psychology and Neurology
The neural basis of cognition and behavior at large-scale systems level, using MR lesion method, PET/fMRI, and histological mapping of neuropathological tissue. Research areas include face and object recognition, emotion processing, emotion and decision-making, and the limbic and brainstem sites of pathology in Alzheimer's disease

Hanna Damasio 
(M.D., 1969, University of Lisbon)
Dana Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience and Professor of Psychology and Neurology 
Director, Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center
Language and other higher cognitive and emotional processes investigated with brain imaging methods such as computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance scanning (MR), and PET.

Michael E. Dawson 
(Ph.D., 1967, Arizona State University)
Consciousness processes, emotion, learning, psychopathology, psychophysiology, schizophrenia, virtual reality

Ernest Greene 
(Ph.D., 1968, University of Oregon)
Department of Psychology, College of Letters, Arts & Sciences

David Lavond 
(Ph.D., 1979, The Ohio State University)
Learning and memory, the neurobiological basis of learning and memory, brain localization of psychological functions, recovery of function after brain injury

Stephen Madigan 
(Ph.D., 1969, The University of Toronto)
Associate Professor 
Human learning and memory, intelligence

Toben H. Mintz 
(Ph.D., 1996, University of Rochester)
Associate Professor
Language acquisition in infants and toddlers, computational modeling

John Monterosso 
(Ph.D., 1998, University of Pennsylvania)
Associate Professor
Decision neuroscience, self-control, addiction

Bosco S. Tjan 
(Ph.D., 1997, University of Minnesota)
Associate Professor
Co-Director, Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center
Director, Laboratory for Functional and Computational Vision 
Visual neuroscience, computational vision, visual impairments and recoveries, assistive technologies, psychophysics, neuroimaging

David A. Walsh 
(Ph.D., 1974, University of Minnesota)
Associate Professor
Cognitive and motivational foundations of personal decision-making, beliefs, and the self-regulation of health behaviors from early childhood to old age

Justin Wood 
(Ph.D., 2008, Harvard University)
Assistant Professor
Origins of cognition, visual working memory

Joint USC Faculty

Michael Arbib 
(Ph.D., 1963, MIT)
University Professor, Fletcher Jones Chair in Computer Science, and Professor of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering
Neural networks, brain theory, neuroinformatics, neural simulation, visuomotor coordination in animals and robots.

Sarah Bottjer 
(Ph.D., 1980, Indiana University, Bloomington)
Professor of Biological Sciences and Psychology 
Activity-dependent neural & behavioral plasticity in song birds

Caleb Finch 
(Ph.D., 1969, Rockefeller University)
ARCO/William F. Kieschnick Chair in the Neurobiology of Aging University Professor
Cell biology, mechanisms controlling postnatal development and aging in man and other mammals, Alzheimer's disease

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang 
(Ed.D., 2005, Harvard)
Assistant Professor of Education Assistant Professor of Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute
Neural and psychological bases of social emotion and social interaction

Laurent Itti 
(Ph.D., 2000, California Institute of Technology)
Associate Professor of Computer Science
Computational modeling, Biological vision, Computer vision, Functional neuroimaging, Human psychophysics, Neural networks, Artificial intelligence, Neuromorphic engineering, Neuromimetic algorithms

Mara Mather 
(Ph.D., 2000, Princeton)
Associate Professor of Gerontology and Psychology
Emotional memory, Cognitive neuroscience of aging, Stress and decision making

Bartlett Mel 
(Ph.D., 1989, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Computational neuroscience, dendritic processing, neuromorphic models of vision

Larry Swanson 
(Ph.D., 1972, Washington University)
Milo Don and Lucille Appleman Professor Department of Biological Sciences
Hunger and thirst, limbic system, motivation, structural neuroscience

Adjunct Faculty

Lynne Bernstein
(Ph.D. University of Michigan)
Professor of Speech and Hearing Science, George Washington University
Program Director, National Science Foundation
Speech Perception, Multisensory Processing, Deafness, Language Processing, Cognitive Neuroimaging

Teaching and Research Faculty

Ann Renken 
(Ph.D., 2001, Baylor University)
Assistant Professor (teaching)
Emotion, affects, and spatial attention


  • Department of Psychology
  • University of Southern California
  • SGM 501
  • 3620 South McClintock Ave.
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061
  • Phone: (213) 740 - 2203