Cognition and Action Laboratory

Director: Laurel Buxbaum, PsyD


We investigate the interface between cognitive representations of objects, tasks, and action planning processes using behavioral testing with healthy and brain-damaged participants, support vector lesion-symptom mapping (SVR-LSM, a machine learning approach), Functional Connectivity, eye tracking, Virtual Reality, and fMRI. This work enables us to understand how conceptual representations may be “grounded”, and the aspects of object representations that may be disrupted after stroke to frontal, temporal, or parietal brain regions. In addition, we study the role of spatial and body representations in the control of attention and action.

Programs of Research

  • The role of abstract kinematics in movement imitation (with Aaron Wong and John Krakauer)
  • Task-related activation of tool-related actions (with Frank Garcea and Heath Matheson)
  • Virtual reality treatment of phantom limb pain (with Branch Coslett)
  • Representations of the body in phantom limb syndrome (with Amanda Therrien)
  • Functional and resting state connectivity of the skilled action network (with Frank Garcea)
  • Neuroanatomic substrates of action competition (with Ricarda Schubotz)
  • Multimodal communication and co-speech gesture (with Gabriella Vigliocco, Marja-Liisa Mailend, and Myrna Schwartz)


Post-doctoral Fellows

  • Cory Potts, PhD
  • Haley Dresang, PhD

Research Assistants

  • Rachel Metzgar

Post-Doctoral Alumni

  • Laura Barde, Research Development Team Manager, University of California San Francisco
  • Frank Garcea, PhD
  • Tania Giovannetti, Associate Professor of Psychology, Temple University
  • Steve Jax, Institute Scientist, MRRI
  • Solene Kalenine, CNRS Researcher, Laboratoire URECA, Université Charles-de-Gaulle Lille III, France
  • Chia-lin Lee, Assistant Professor, Linguistics Department at National Taiwan University
  • Richard Palluel-Germain, Psychology and Neurocognition Laboratory, Universite’ Pierre Mendes
  • Antonella Pavese, Senior User Experience Researcher, Google, Inc.
  • Konstantinos Tsagkaridis, Neapolis University
  • Christine Watson, MRRI Research Associate
  • Matthieu De Wit, Assistant Professor, Muhlenberg College