Michael Posner

Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology
Member, ION

Ph.D. University of Michigan
M.S. University of Washington
B.S. University of Washington

Lab Website
Office: 433 Straub
Phone: 541-346-4939


Research Interests: Cognitive-Neuroscience; Neural mechanisms and structures underlying selective attention

Overview: Michael Posner is Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon and Adjunct Professor at the Weill Medical College in New York (Sackler Institute).

Dr. Posner's current work deals with genetic and experiential factors in the development of brain networks underlying attention and learning. We are currently examining how changes in white matter might contribute to improved performance.  In one study conducted together with the Niell lab we are imposing a theta rhythm on cells in the anterior cingulate of the mouse and examining whether the resultant activity leads to improved myelination in pathways near the cingulate.   We are also examining if epigenetic factors related to methylation might account for individual differences in this process.


Related Articles

Developing attention in typical children related to disabilities.

Handb Clin Neurol. 2020;173:215-223

Authors: Posner MI, Rothbart MK, Ghassemzadeh H

We define attention by three basic functions. The first is obtaining and maintaining the alert state. The second is orienting overtly or covertly to sensory stimuli. The third is selection among competing responses. These three functions correspond to three separable brain networks. Control of the alert state develops in infancy but continues to change till adulthood. During childhood, the orienting network provides a means of controlling affective responses, e.g., by looking away from negative events and toward positive or novel events. The executive network mediates between competing voluntary responses by resolving conflicts. Executive control improves rapidly over the first 7 years of life. Autistic spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are two disorders that have been shown to involve deficits in attention networks. We examine connections between developing attention networks and these disorders.

PMID: 32958175 [PubMed - in process]