Walter Schneider, PhD

Professor, Psychology


629 Learning Research Development Center
F: 412-624-3068
Website >


PhD, Indiana University (1975)


Cognitive neuroscience, semantic representation, skill acquisition, connectionist/hybrid modeling, brain imaging.

Research Summary

Dr. Schneider investigates dynamic cortical processing in human behavioral and brain imaging studies and computer simulation models. Behavioral and brain imaging studies focus on the understanding of human learning, executive control, and attention. Research examines cortical areas involved in learning including frontal, parietal, and cingulate cortex, subcortical structures (e.g., hippocampus), and sensory processing areas (e.g., thalamus and visual cortex). The brain imaging research utilizes functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to produce high 3D spatial resolution (near millimeter) maps identifying the location and relative activation of stages of the visual system and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) to map cortical connectivity. These data provide the basis for detailed tracking of the dynamics of cortical processing. We are developing methods to map human network level cortical processing. Behavioral and brain imaging data details how rapidly and in what forms attention moves and what are the component structures of learning (goal popping, memory retrieval, feedback processing).


Schneider, W., and Chein, J. M. Controlled & Automatic Processing: From Mechanisms to Biology. Cognitive Science, 27:525-559, 2003.

Chein, J. M., and Schneider W. Neuroimaging studies of practice-related change: fMRI and meta-analytic evidence of a domain-general control network for learning. Cognitive Brain Research, 25 (3), 607-623, 2005.

Hill, N. M., and Schneider, W. Brain changes in the development of expertise: Neurological evidence on skill-based adaptations. In K. A. Ericsson, N. Charness, P. Feltovich, and R. Hoffman (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. New York: Cambridge University, 653-682, 2006.

Goldberg, R.F., Perfetti, C.A., and Schneider, W. Distinct and common cortical activations for multimodal semantic categories. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 2006.

Cole, M.W. and Schneider, W. The cognitive control network: Integrated cortical regions with dissociable functions", NeuroImage. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.03.071, 2007