Research on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory

  • How and where memory occurs in the brain, particularly memory acquired through practice
  • How experience shapes action, perception and thought through pervasive mechanisms of plasticity throughout the human brain
    • Implicit and explicit memory contributions to perceptual-motor skill learning
    • Implicit and explicit memory in visual category learning
  • How general cognitive ability can be improved through cognitive practice
    • Repetitive training of working memory span to improve cognition
    • For both younger adults and to remediate age-related cognitive decline


Current Projects

  • Perceptual-motor skill learning using the SISL task
  • Working memory training using the SeVi-WM task
  • Using computational modeling and functional neuroimaging to study interactions among the brain’s memory systems
  • Investigating memory system interactions and intuitive decision making using visual category learning.

Check the Presentations link on the right side bar to see the most recent ideas and reports as presented as posters and talks at recent conferences.

Interested in Participating in Research?


Contact Information
309 Cresap Laboratory
Department of Psychology
Northwestern University
Phone: (847) 467-5779
Mailing Address
Reber Laboratory
Northwestern University
2029 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60201


Surgical skill

One potential application for our basic studies of skill learning is understanding the development of skill in performing surgery.  So I was intrigued when happening to stumble across the following report of factors predicting successful surgical outcomes: Surgeon specialization and operative mortality in United States: retrospective analysis BMJ 2016; 354 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i3571 (Published 21 July …

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Dark side of intuition — unconscious bias

The occasion is tragic, but I am happy to see some more public discussion of ‘unconscious bias’ in the context of recent events related to the police shootings of minority ‘suspects.’  I particularly like the title of this piece: “A former officer explains why racist police violence occurs even when cops ‘aren’t racist’” http://www.rawstory.com/2016/07/a-former-officer-explains-why-racist-police-violence-occurs-even-when-cops-arent-racist/ I …

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10,000 hours

I ran into a few references/mentions recently of The Dan Plan, a guy who is dedicating a few years of his life to “testing the 10,000 hours hypothesis”.  Specifically, he quit his job and is playing golf full-time trying to reach a professional level of play from a starting point of never having played before …

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Ives-Louter CNS 2016 -- Final png

CNS 2016 — Using a new category learning paradigm to elicit implicit learning

Using a new category learning paradigm to elicit implicit learning Catherine Ives-Louter, Ben Reuveni, Paul J. Reber, Northwestern University Research suggests that both explicit and implicit memory are implicated in visual category learning, which offers a unique opportunity to study the mechanisms and interactions of these memory systems. However, the study of implicit visual category …

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