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Joseph Orr

Associate Department Head
Associate Professor
Areas of Speciality
  • Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience
  • (979) 845-4409
  • PSYC 233
Professional Links
Office Hours, Spring 2024
By appointment only
Accepting Students for 2024-2025?

Research Interests

Dr. Orr directs the Cognitive Neuroscience of Goals and Actions Laboratory (CONGAlab). Research in the CONGAlab examines the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying executive functions. Specifically, we are interested in the mechanisms that enable us to flexibly adapt to changes in the environment or changes in our internal goals. These mechanisms enable us to multitask or switch quickly from one task to another. Work from the lab has demonstrated that while people tend to avoid switching tasks when given the choice, they are more efficient at switching when the choice is driven by internal goals rather than external cues. We are investigating the factors that maximize these abilities-such as reward, as well as factors that interfere with these abilities-such as fatigue. Work in the lab involves behavioral approaches, computational modeling, non-invasive brain stimulation, pupillometry, and neuroimaging (MRI, EEG/ERP). Dr. Orr’s work is currently funded by the National Science Foundation.

Recent Publications

* denotes A&M graduate student

Imburgio, M.J. & Orr, J.M. (2021). Component processes underlying voluntary task selection: Separable contributions of task-set inertia and reconfiguration. Cognition, 212. 104685.

Imburgio, M.J., Ballard, H.K., Cornwall, A.C., Worthy, D.A., Bernard, J.A., & Orr, J.M. (2021). Preliminary effects of prefrontal tDCS on dopamine-mediated behavior and psychophysiology. Behavioural Brain Research, 402. 113091.

Orr, J.M., Lopez, J., Imburgio, M.J., Pelletier-Baldelli, A., Bernard, J.A. & Mittal, V.A. (2020). Adolescents at clinical high risk for psychosis show qualitatively altered patterns of activation during rule learning. NeuroImage: Clinical, 27, 102286.

Orr, J.M., Imburgio, M., Bernard, J.A., & Banich, M.T. (2019). Striatal-frontal network activation during voluntary task selection under conditions of monetary reward. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 19(5), 568–585.

Imburgio, M.J. & Orr, J.M. (2018). Effects of Prefrontal tDCS on Executive Function: Methodological Considerations Revealed by Meta-Analysis. Neuropsychologia, 117, 156-166.

Lusher, J., Ji, J., & Orr, J.M. (2018). High-Performance Correlation and Mapping Engine for Rapid Generating Brain Connectivity Networks from Big fMRI Data. Journal of Computational Science, 26, 157-164.



Recent Grants

NSF 1928695, “Augmenting Spatial Cognition Capabilities of Future Workforce for Enhanced Human Performance in Altered Gravitational Environments Using Virtual Reality Technologies.”

Affiliated Research Cluster

Neuroscience & Affective Science. Voluntary task selection behavior; prefrontal cortex; neuroimaging; addiction and psychosis in humans.