Sharon Thompson-Schill

Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology
Co-Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
BA, Psychology, Davidson College;
Ph.D. Cognitive Psychology, Stanford University
Office Location: 
Room D 405, Richards Labs, 3700 Hamilton Walk
Research Interests: 
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Neuroscience
Language and Communication
Memory and Learning
Sensation and Perception
Specific Research Areas: 

Neural basis of human memory and language with an emphasis on semantic memory and frontal lobe function

Research Synopsis: 

We study the biological bases of human cognitive systems – perception, memory, language, thought, cognitive control – and the interrelations among these systems, with a particular emphasis on the characterization of typical and atypical variation across individuals.

Recent projects emphasize (1) functions of the frontal lobe in the regulation of thought and behavior, especially in relation to language and memory processes; and (2) the organization and neural substrates of concept knowledge (especially knowledge of visual attributes) and the relation between conceptual information and perception and language.

We answer these questions by developing and implementing a wide array of behavioral and neuroscientific methods with both typical and atypical populations, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), lesion-deficit mapping of neurological patients, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), genotypic analysis of typical variation, on-line eye-tracking, & so on.


Professor Sharon Thompson-Schill will not be considering new graduate students for admission for Fall 2024.


Selected Publications: 

Coutanche, M. N. & Thompson-Schill, S. L. (in press). Consolidation of new knowledge in adulthood via fast mapping. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. PMID: 26139618

Musz, E. & Thompson-Schill, S. L. (in press). Semantic variability predicts neural variability of concepts. Neuropsychologia. PMID: 25462197

Persichetti, A. S., Aguirre, G. K., & Thompson-Schill, S. L. (in press). Value is in the eye of the beholder: Early visual cortex codes monetary value of objects during a diverted attention task. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. PMID: 25390198

Coutanche, M.N. & Thompson-Schill, S. L. (in press). Creating concepts from converging features in human cortex. Cerebral Cortex.  PMID: 24692512

Nozari, N. & Thompson-Schill, S. L. (2013). More attention when speaking: does it help or does it hurt? Neuropsychologia, 51, 2770-2780.  PMID: 24012690

Coutanche, M. N. & Thompson-Schill, S. L. (2013). Information Connectivity: Identifying synchronized discriminability of multi-voxel patterns across the brain. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7.  PMID: 23403700

Lupyan, G.,, Mirman, D., Hamilton, R., & Thompson-Schill, S. L. (2012). Categorization is modulated by transcranial direct current stimulation over left prefrontal cortex. Cognition, 124, 36-49.   PMID: 22578885

Hindy, N., Altmann, G., Kalenik, E., & Thompson-Schill, S. L. (2012). The effect of object state-changes on event processing: Do objects compete with themselves? Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 5795-5803.   PMID: 22539841

Thompson-Schill, S. L., Ramscar, M., & Chrysikou, E. G. (2009). Cognition without control: When a little frontal cortex goes a long way. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 259-263. PMID: 20401341

Thompson-Schill, S. L., Swick, D., Farah, M. J., D'Esposito, M., Kan, I. P., & Knight, R. T. (1998).  Verb generation in patients with focal frontal lesions: A neuropsychological test of neuroimaging findings. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 95, 15855-15860.  PMID: 986106019. 

Thompson-Schill, S. L., D'Esposito, M., Aguirre, G. K., & Farah, M. J. (1997).  Role of left prefrontal cortex in retrieval of semantic knowledge: A re-evaluation.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 94, 14792-14797.  PMID: 9405692  


Courses Taught: 

PSYC 149 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience
PSYC 400 Undergraduate Honors Seminar

Neuroscience Graduate Group
Ariana Familiar [Psychology Graduate Student]
Lisa Musz [Psychology Graduate Student]
Sarah Solomon [Psychology Graduate Student]
Nathan Tardiff [Psychology Graduate Student]
Anna Leshinskaya [postdoc]
Elizabeth Karuza [postdoc] 
Heath Matheson [postdoc]