Research in the Rissman Lab employs functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), coupled with carefully designed behavioral tasks, to characterize the neural underpinnings of human memory. We are particularly interested in understanding the cognitive control processes that guide our efforts to encode information into memory and to retrieve relevant episodic details from our past. To gain leverage on these mechanisms, we have developed and applied innovative fMRI data analysis techniques that exploit the multi-dimensional richness of neuroimaging data. Rather than simply using fMRI to document the functional contributions of individual brain regions, our work seeks to characterize the dynamic interactions between brain networks as well as to decode the informational content of distributed brain activity patterns. In an effort to enhance the ecological validity of our experimental work, many of our recent projects have evaluated the retrieval of memories formed in a naturalistic setting. For instance, we can study real-world autobiographical memory by capturing people’s life events with wearable cameras or study contextual influences on memory by having learning occur within immersive virtual reality environments. Beyond our functional neuroimaging work, we have recently been using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to identify white matter pathways that underlie differences in people’s abilities to strategically control the memorization of important information, and we are using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to modulate prefrontal function. The bulk of our work has sought to characterize basic mechanisms of memory in the healthy adult brain, but we also conduct collaborative research examining functional and structural changes associated with cognitive aging and various forms of psychopathology.
Westphal, A.J., Chow, T.E., Ngoy, C., Zuo, X., Liao, V., Storozuk. L.A., Peters, M.A.K., Wu, A.D., and Rissman, J. (2019). Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation to left rostrolateral prefrontal cortex selectively improves source memory retrieval. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. [Early Access, p. 1-12]
Bainbridge, W.A. and Rissman J. (2018) Dissociating neural markers of stimulus memorability and subjective recognition during episodic retrieval. Scientific Reports, 8, 8679.
Reggente, N., Cohen, M.S., Zheng, Z., Castel, A.D., Knowlton, B.J., and Rissman, J. (2018) Memory recall for high reward value words correlates with individual differences in white matter pathways associated with reward processing and fronto-temporal communication. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12, 241.
Chow, T.E., Westphal, A.J., and Rissman J. (2018) Multivoxel pattern classification differentiates personally experienced event memories from secondhand event knowledge. NeuroImage, 176, 110-123.
Chow, T.E. and Rissman, J. (2017) Neurocognitive mechanisms of real-world autobiographical memory retrieval: insights from studies using wearable camera technology. Annals of the NY Academy of Sciences, 1396, 202-221.
Westphal, A.J., Wang, S., and Rissman, J. (2017) Episodic memory retrieval benefits from a less modular brain network organization. Journal of Neuroscience, 37(13),3523–3531.
De Shetler, N.G. & Rissman, J. (2017) Dissociable profiles of generalization/discrimination in the human hippocampus during associative retrieval. Hippocampus, 27, 115–121. [featured as cover article]
Rissman, J., Chow, T.E., Reggente, N., and Wagner, A.D. (2016) Decoding fMRI signatures of real-world autobiographical memory retrieval. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 28(4), 604–620.
Westphal, A.J., Reggente, N., Ito, K., and Rissman, J. (2016) Shared and distinct contributions of rostrolateral prefrontal cortex to analogical reasoning and episodic memory retrieval. Human Brain Mapping, 37, 896-912.