ZiF Research Group

Cognitive Behavior of Humans, Animals, and Machines:

Situation Model Perspectives

October 2019 – July 2020

Convenors: Werner Schneider (Bielefeld, GER), Helge Ritter (Bielefeld, GER)

Mark D'Esposito


Foto Neuroscience and Psychology,
Jr. Brain Imaging Center, &
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, &
Department of Psychology,
University of California, Berkeley, USA
E-Mail: despo@berkeley.edu


Dr. D'Esposito earned his medical degree in 1987 at the SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse and completed a Neurology Residency and Fellowship training at Boston University Medical Center. In 1993, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and later became Chief of the Cognitive Neurology Division. In 2000, he was recruited to the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley to become Professor of Neuroscience, and the Director of the newly created Henry H. Wheeler, Jr. Brain Imaging Center. He also practices Neurology at the Northern California VA Medical Center. He has over 375 research publications, written and edited six books, and received numerous competitive NIH research grants. He has trained over 75 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows and received many clinical and academic awards. He is currently the Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Current Main Research Interests

My research focuses on investigating the neural bases of high-level cognitive processes such as working memory and cognitive control, achieved through several different experimental approaches and methodologies including functional MRI (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electrocorticography (ECoG). My lab also investigates the role of the dopaminergic system in working memory and cognitive control with pharmacological studies during which direct dopaminergic agonists are administered to healthy subjects. Based on the knowledge gained from our basic cognitive neuroscience research, we are developing and implementing cognitive therapeutic approaches to patients with traumatic brain injury and healthy elderly with executive function deficits. Finally, our methodological research is aimed at developing improved techniques for the acquisition and the analysis of fMRI and TMS data.

Five selected publications with particular relevance to the Research Group
  • Nee, D. E., & D'Esposito, M. (2016). The hierarchical organization of the lateral prefrontal cortex. Elife, 5, e12112.
  • D'Esposito, M., & Postle, B. R. (2015). The cognitive neuroscience of working memory. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, 115-142.
  • Voytek, B., Kayser, A. S., Badre, D., Fegen, D., Chang, E. F., Crone, N. E., Parvizi, J., Knight, R. T., & D'Esposito, M. (2015). Oscillatory dynamics coordinating human frontal networks in support of goal maintenance. Nature Neuroscience, 18, 1318-1324.
  • Sreenivasan, K. K., Curtis, C. E., & D'Esposito, M. (2014). Revisiting the role of persistent neural activity during working memory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18, 82-89.
  • Badre, D., & D'Esposito, M. (2009). Is the rostro-caudal axis of the frontal lobe hierarchical? Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10, 659-669.