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Darrell Worthy

Associate Professor
Areas of Speciality
  • Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience
  • (979) 845-3799
  • PSYC 287
Professional Links
Accepting Students for 2024-2025?

Research Interests

Key words that describe work we have done or are currently conducting in the lab: Reinforcement learning, Decision-making, Categorization, Associative learning, Aging and cognition, Mathematical modeling, fMRI, Substance abuse, disinhibition, depression, Choking under pressure, Personality, Dopamine, Spontaneous eye-blink rate, Gambling tasks, Bayesian statistics.

Dr. Worthy’s research uses behavioral methods, computational modeling, and neuroscience methods to examine the topics listed above. One broad focus of our research is to develop formal mathematical models of cognitive processes such as learning or decision-making that lead to testable predictions using behavioral or fMRI experiments. This line of work examines issues relevant to the fields of Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience with the goal of fully understanding how and why people think and behave the way they do in different situations.

A second line of research utilizes cognition and cognitive neuroscience methods to examine individual differences in cognitive processes such as learning and decision-making. For example, how do clinical issues like depression or substance abuse affect the way people respond to rewards or punishments? Or, how does gender or aging affect decision-making? This line of work seeks to bridge gaps across sub-disciplines in psychology by applying cognitive neuroscience methods to questions traditionally examined by researchers in other fields.

Recent Publications

Don, H.J., Otto, A.R., Cornwall, A.R., Davis, T., & Worthy, D.A. (2019). Learning reward frequency over reward probability: A tale of two learning rules. Cognition, 2019, 104042

Byrne, K..A., & Worthy, D.A.. (2019).  Examining the link between reward and response inhibition in individuals with substance use problems.  Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 194, 518-525.    

O’Bryan, S.R., Worthy, D.A., Livesey, E.J., & Davis, T. (2018).  Model-based fMRI reveals dissimilarity underlying base rate neglect.  eLife, 7:e36395.

Cornwall, A.C., Byrne, K.A., & Worthy, D.A. (2018).  Gender differences in preference for reward frequency versus reward magnitude in decision-making under uncertainty.  Personality and Individual Differences, 135, 40-44.

Smayda, K.E., Worthy, D.A., & Chandrasekaran, B. (2018).  Better late than never (or early): Late music training enhances decision-making.  Psychology of Music, 46(5), 734-748.

Pang, B., Blanco, N.J., Maddox, W.T., & Worthy, D.A. (2017). To Not Settle for Small Losses: Evidence for an Ecological Aspiration Level of Zero in Dynamic Decision-Making.  Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 24(2), 536-546

Recent Grants

Affiliated Research Cluster

Neuroscience & Personality Processes. Human learning and decision making across the lifespan; motivation and cognition.