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Welcome to the Computational Memory and Perception Lab, directed by Dr. Rosie Cowell in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

We are interested in the neural and cognitive mechanisms of visual perception and memory in the human brain. We also investigate how these functions are disrupted by brain damage in the ventral visual stream and medial temporal lobe. We use computational models, fMRI and behavioral studies of memory in human populations (young adults, healthy older adults, and individuals with brain lesions). Our research asks questions such as: Are there common neural representations for perceiving and remembering? Do amnesic patients have memory problems that relate to problems with higher-order perception? Is it best to think about the contribution of brain regions to cognition in terms of the 'processes' (recollection, familiarity) they carry out, or in terms of the 'stuff' (scenes, objects, conjunctions) they represent?

We are also developing novel methods for fMRI analysis, using maximum likelihood estimation and Bayesian hierarchical modeling. Our goal is to develop a mathematical technique that can characterize the neural-level responses that give rise to the voxel tuning functions observed in early visual areas using fMRI.

Our research is funded by the Cognitive Neuroscience Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF CAREER Award 1554871), and by the NIMH under the BRAIN Initiative (
© Cowell Lab 2017, University of Massachuetts, Amherst.
Lab Schedule Fall 2017 - Click here
Join cMAP lab
As a Graduate Student
The lab accepts graduate students wishing to pursue a PhD in either the Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience Program or the Neuroscience and Behavior Program. The next application deadline is for entry in Fall 2018. Please visit the UMass gradschool website, the Neuroscience and Behavior Program website, and the graduate page of the Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience Division of the UMass PBS department. Contact Rosie Cowell by email for information specific to the cMAP Lab.

There will be positions available for undergraduate Research Assistants (for 398B course credit) in Spring 2018. Please complete the cMAP RA Application Form and send it to Rosie Cowell by email in late Fall 2017.

If you wish to complete an Independent Study (for 496A course credit) in the lab, you must first complete a 398B. Please let us know your plans at the time of applying.

If your long-term goal is to complete an Honors Thesis in the lab, please speak to Rosie Cowell about this as early as possible. You must have first completed a semester of 496A (Independent Study). Also note that if you would like to write a thesis involving either fMRI or computational models, a critical pre-requisite is to be proficient in the MATLAB programming language. For Honors projects involving other methodologies (i.e., behavioral studies), MATLAB skills are also important but could be 'learned on the job'.
As an undergraduate
computational Memory and Perception Lab