Todd Braver

Todd Braver

​Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Radiology, and Neuroscience
William R. Stuckenberg Professor in Human Values and Moral Development
PhD, Carnegie Mellon
MS, Carnegie Mellon
BS, University of California, San Diego
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    mailing address:

    • Washington University
      CB 1125
      One Brookings Drive
      St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Professor Braver's laboratory studies how humans exert control over their thoughts and behavior, and how this control can break down. His work focuses on the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying memory, attention, and controlled processing.

    Professor Braver studies the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying memory, attention, and controlled processing. His research approach combines computational modeling (using connectionist framework), functional neuroimaging (using fMRI and PET methods), and behavioral studies (in normal and clinical populations, and under pharmacological challenge). Ongoing projects include testing model predictions regarding (1) how the prefrontal cortex represents and maintains information in working memory; and (2) how the dopamine neurotransmitter system regulates control over these processes.

    Selected Publications

    • Braver, T.S., Cole, M., Etzel, J., Kay, K.,  and Zacks, J. (2015) Reward Motivation Enhances Task Coding in Frontoparietal Cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 1-13.  

    • Chiew KS, Braver TS. (2014) Dissociable influences of reward motivation and positive emotion on cognitive control. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. Apr 15. 

    • Westbrook JA, Braver TS. (2013) The economics of cognitive effort. Behav. and Brain Sciences. Behav Brain Sci. Dec;36(6):704-5; discussion 707-26.

    • Braver, T.S. (2012).  The variable nature of cognitive control:  A dual-mechanisms framework.   Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16, 106-113. PMCID:PMC3289517

    • Cole, M.W., Yarkoni, T., Repovs, G., Anticevic, A, and Braver, T.S. (2012). Global connectivity of prefrontal cortex predicts cognitive control and intelligence. Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 8988-8999.

    • Burgess, G. C., Conway, A.R.A., Gray, J.R.  and Braver, T.S. (2011). Neural mechanisms of interference control explain the relationship between fluid intelligence and working memory span.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140, 674-692.  PMID: 21787103

    • Braver TS, Cole MW, Yarkoni T. (2010).  Vive les differences! Individual variation in neural mechanisms of executive control. Current Opinion in  Neurobiology, 20(2):242-50. PMCID: PMC2904672

    • Jimura, K., Locke, H.S., and Braver, T.S. (2010).  Prefrontal cortex mediation of cognitive enhancement in rewarding motivational contexts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,109, 8871-8876. PMCID:PMC2889311

    • Braver, T.S., Paxton, J.L., Locke, H.S,  and Barch, D.M. (2009). Flexible neural mechanisms of cognitive control within human prefrontal cortex.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106, 7351-7356. PMCID: PMC2678630

    • Paxton, J.L., Barch, D.M., Racine, C.A., and  Braver, T.S.  (2008). Cognitive control, goal maintenance, and prefrontal function in healthy aging. Cerebral Cortex. 18, 1010-1028. PMCID: PMC2904686

    • Brown, J.W., Reynolds, J.R. and Braver, T.S. (2007).  A computational model of fractionated conflict-control    mechanisms in task-switching. Cognitive Psychology, 55, 37-85. PMID: 17078941

    • Brown, J.W. and Braver, T.S. (2005).  Learned predictions of error likelihood in the anterior cingulate cortex. Science, 307, 1118-1121. PMID: 15718473

    • Braver, T.S., Reynolds, J.R. and Donaldson, D.I.  (2003). Neural mechanisms of transient and sustained cognitive control during task-switching.  Neuron, 39, 713-726. PMID: 12925284

    • Gray, J.R., Chabris, C.F., and Braver, T.S. (2003). Neural mechanisms of general fluid intelligence Nature Neuroscience, 6, 316-322. PMID: 12592404

    • Braver, T.S., Barch, D.M., and Cohen, J.D. (1999).  Cognition and control in schizophrenia: A computational model of dopamine and prefrontal function.   Biological Psychiatry, 46, 312-328. PMID: 10435197

    • Braver, T.S., Cohen, J.D., Nystrom, L.E., Jonides, J., Smith, E.E. and Noll, D.C. (1997).  A parametric study of prefrontal cortex involvement in human working memory. NeuroImage, 5, 49-62. PMID: 9038284