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 (in collaboration with Steve Gotts and Alex Martin), eye tracking (in collaboration with Dan Mirman), Virtual Reality, and fMRI (in collaboration with Sharon Thompson-Schill, Steve Gotts, and Alex Martin). 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 Heath Matheson and Frank Garcea)
  • Virtual reality treatment of phantom limb pain (with Katherine Kuchenbecker, Elisabetta Ambron, and Branch Coslett)
  • Representations of the body in phantom limb syndrome
  • Functional and resting state connectivity of the skilled action network (with Steve Gotts, Alex Martin, Christine Watson, and Frank Garcea)
  • Action and non-action sequencing in the left hemisphere (with Ricarda Schubotz)
  • Apraxia rehabilitation using network-strengthening treatment (with Matthieu De Wit)
  • Multimodal communication and co-speech gesture (with Gabriella Vigliocco, Marja-Liisa Mailend, and Myrna Schwartz)


Post-doctoral Fellows
  • Frank Garcea, PhD
  • Marja-Liisa Mailend, PhD
Research Assistants
  • Veronica Kreter
  • Cortney Howard
  • Harrison Stoll
Post-Doctoral Alumni
  • Laura Barde, Research Development Team Manager, University of California San Francisco
  • 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