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Paul J. Reber, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychology & Communication Sciences and Disorders (courtesy)
Northwestern University

Head of the Brain, Behavior and Cognition Program at NU Psych

Link to Faculty page at Northwestern University Psychology Department

A Wordle based on my current CV (Aug 2011) which seems like a surprisingly good snapshot.

Professional interests

My research focuses primarily on memory throughout the human brain, particularly the cognitive neuroscience of implicit memory and skill learning.  In my laboratory, we study memory phenomena with traditional experimental psychology methods, functional neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies of patients with learning or memory disorders (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease).  We have extensively examined the neurocognitive basis of human visual category learning and the operation of the multiple brain systems that support different types of learning.  In particular, a combination of computational modeling and functional neuroimaging shows great promise for identifying the neural basis of these mechanisms, their operating characteristics, and how they interact in complex tasks.

Recent new external funding for our research aims to translate basic science of learning and memory to practical applications outside the laboratory.  The cognitive neuroscience of implicit learning is being used to develop improvements in training procedures aimed at the rapid development of skilled intuition (two projects funded by the Office of Naval Research).  We are also exploring the application of memory systems research to enhancing learning and memory via targeted memory reactivation as a collaboration with Ken Paller’s lab (funded by DARPA). A novel application of implicit learning to cybersecurity has led to the development of alternate personal authentication schemes resistant to coercion attacks (funded by NSF).  A collection of projects examining neuropsychological patient populations is aimed at exploring cognitive remediation and “brain training” protocols that depend particularly on intense, repeated practice (currently funded by NINDS, previously also by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund).  In each of these applied implicit learning approaches, the often underappreciated influence of the neural consequences of implicit learning is directed towards improvement in cognitive function based on principles derived from our basic science laboratory research.


Professional Experience

Sept. 1998-Present Professor of Psychology & Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University
Fellow, Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Northwestern University Medical School.
Member, Northwestern University Institute for Neuroscience
1997-1998 Cognitive Neuroscience Research Fellow, Magnetic Resonance Institute &
Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Diego.
1993-1997 Post-doctoral fellow with Larry R. Squire, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry
University of California at San Diego.


1989-1993 Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Psychology
1984‑1988 B.S. Eng in Computer Science, University of Pennsylvania, Moore School of Electrical Engineering

Professional Activities

  • Head of the Psychology Department Brain Behavior and Cognition program, 2009-present
  • Institute for Public Health and Medicine, 2012-present
    • Beuhler Center for Aging and Center for Behavior and Health
    • Member, Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies, 2012-present
    • Member, Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience program, 1998- present
  • Associate Editor, Cortex, 2015-
  • NIH Reviewer, Fellowships Review Panel (F02B, Standing member and co-chair since June 2013), SBIR Review Panel (July 2013), Adult Psychopathology and Disorders of Aging (ad hoc), June 2012
  • NSF Cognitive Neuroscience Program Ad Hoc Reviewer

A usually out-of-date list of publications is available here


PJR May 2016



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