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Brian Anderson

Associate Professor
Areas of Speciality
  • Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Affective Science
  • Psychology 208
Professional Links
Office Hours
Office hours held online for Fall 2020. See your syllabus for times and log in information
Accepting Students
Yes for 2021-2022

Research Interests

My research investigates the mechanisms by which reward learning changes how we direct our attention in the future. To this end, I have pioneered an approach in which simple, arbitrary stimuli are paired with reward in a training procedure and then appear as task-irrelevant distractors during performance of a subsequent task. I examine how these previously reward-associated stimuli are processed in both healthy participants and in individuals who struggle with addiction and other psychopathologies, using both human behavior and functional neuroimaging. I am also interested in how punishment learning influences subsequent attention, and how we can employ goal-directed attentional control in order to minimize distraction.

The findings from my research not only inform our understanding of basic mechanisms of attentional control, but also have clearly identifiable clinical implications. For patients who struggle with addiction, ignoring stimuli associated with their drug of abuse is very difficult to do and this difficulty contributes to relapse. Attention can be persistently drawn to drug-related stimuli, even when the patient has the goal of maintaining abstinence. My research demonstrates that normal, healthy individuals can develop strikingly similar attentional biases as the result of simple associative learning between stimuli and non-drug reward, suggesting that addiction-related attentional biases may be reflective of a broader and more basic cognitive process.

Recent Publications

Kim, A. J., & Anderson, B. A. (2020). Neural correlates of attentional capture by stimuli previously associated with social reward. Cognitive Neuroscience, 11, 5-15.

Kim, H., & Anderson, B. A. (2019). Dissociable components of experience-driven attention. Current Biology, 29, 841-845. 5-year IF: 10.09

Kim, H., & Anderson, B. A. (2019). Neural evidence for automatic value-modulated approach behavior. NeuroImage, 189, 150-158. 5-year IF: 6.91

Kim, H., & Anderson, B. A. (2019). Dissociable neural mechanisms underlie value-driven and selection-driven attentional capture. Brain Research, 1708, 109-115. 5-year IF: 2.94

Gregoire, L., & Anderson, B. A. (2019). Semantic generalization of value-based attentional priority. Learning and Memory, 26, 460-464. 5-year IF: 3.40

Anderson, B. A., & Kim, H. (2019). Test-retest reliability of value-driven attentional capture. Behavior Research Methods, 51, 720-726. 5-year IF: 4.71

Anderson, B. A., & Kim, H. (2019). On the relationship between value-driven and stimulus-driven attentional capture. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, 81, 607-613. 5-year IF: 1.97

Anderson, B. A., & Britton, M. K. (2019). Selection history in context: Evidence for the role of reinforcement learning in biasing attention. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics 81, 2666-2672. 5-year IF: 1.97

Hinault, T., Blacker, K. J., Gormley, M., Anderson, B. A., & Courtney, S. M. (2019). Value-driven attentional capture is modulated by the contents of working memory. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 19, 253-267. 5-year IF: 3.41

Anderson, B. A. (2019). Neurobiology of value-driven attention. Current Opinion in Psychology, 29, 27-33. 5-year IF: pending (newer addition to the Current Opinion Series by Elsevier, which are by invitation only)

Anderson, B. A., & Kim, H. (2018). Mechanisms of value-learning in the guidance of spatial attention. Cognition, 178, 26-36. 5-year IF: 4.33

Anderson, B. A., & Kim, H. (2018). On the representational nature of value-driven spatial attentional biases. Journal of Neurophysiology, 120, 2654-2658. 5-year IF: 2.70

Anderson, B. A., & Kim, H. (2018). Relating attentional biases for stimuli associated with social reward and punishment to autistic traits. Collabra: Psychology, 4(1), article 10. 5-year IF: pending

Sali, A. W., Anderson, B. A., Yantis, S., Mostofsky, S. H., & Rosch, K. S. (2018). Reduced value-driven attentional capture among children with ADHD compared to typically developing controls. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 46, 1187-1200. 5-year IF: 4.40

Anderson, B. A. (2018). Controlled information processing, automaticity, and the burden of proof. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 25, 1814-1823. 5-year IF: 3.78

Sali, A. W., Anderson, B. A., & Courtney, S. M. (2018). Information processing biases in the brain: Implications for decision-making and self-governance. Neuroethics, 11, 259-271. 5-year IF: 1.28

Anderson, B. A., Kuwabara, H., Wong, D. F., Roberts, J., Rahmim, A., Brasic, J. R., & Courtney, S. M. (2017). Linking dopaminergic reward signals to the development of attentional bias: A positron emission tomographic study. NeuroImage, 157, 27-33. 5-year IF: 6.91

Anderson, B. A. (2017). Reward processing in the value-driven attention network: Reward signals tracking cue identity and location. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, 12, 461-467. 5-year IF: 4.52

Anderson, B. A., Kuwabara, H., Wong, D. F., & Courtney, S. M. (2017). Density of available striatal dopamine receptors predicts trait impulsiveness during an attention-demanding task. Journal of Neurophysiology, 118, 64-68. 5-year IF: 2.70

Anderson, B. A., Chiu, M., DiBartolo, M. M., & Leal, S. L. (2017). On the distinction between value-driven attention and selection history: Evidence from individuals with depressive symptoms. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 24, 1636-1642. 5-year IF: 3.78

Anderson, B. A., & Halpern, M. (2017). On the value-dependence of value-driven attentional capture. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, 79, 1001-1011. 5-year IF: 1.97

Anderson, B. A. (2017). On the feature specificity of value-driven attention. PLOS ONE, 12(5), e0177491. 5-year IF: 3.34

Anderson, B. A. (2017). Counterintuitive effects of negative social feedback on attention. Cognition and Emotion, 31, 590-597. 5-year IF: 2.67

Xu, K. Z., Anderson, B. A., Emeric, E. E., Sali, A. W., Stuphorn, V., Yantis, S., & Courtney, S. M. (2017). Neural basis of cognitive control over movement inhibition: Human fMRI and primate electrophysiology evidence. Neuron, 96, 1447-1458. 5-year IF: 16.32

Anderson, B. A. (2017). Going for it: The economics of automaticity in perception and action. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26, 140-145. 5-year IF: 7.57

Recent Grants