Carnegie Mellon University

Timothy Verstynen

Timothy Verstynen

Associate Professor of Psychology and the Neuroscience Institute

  • 335F Baker Hall
  • 412-533-2961

Areas of Expertise

Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Computational, Learning Science


My research centers on how we plan our actions, how this changes with experience and how the organization of the underlying neural pathways regulates these abilities. Using a combination of psychophysics, computational modeling and multimodal brain imaging (fMRI, diffusion imaging, TMS, etc.), my lab focuses on three main research themes.

  • Selecting or stopping actions: How do we quickly convert sensory cues into motor plans? How do we stop a planned action? How do these abilities break down in different populations?
  • Dynamics of skill learning: Why are some skills learned quickly while others require days or weeks of practice? What are the computational and neural mechanisms involved?
  • Structure-function associations: Does the topography (i.e., “wiring diagram”) of a neural pathway reveal aspects of its computations? What features predict individual differences in the organization or integrity of these connections?


Complete List of Publications

"Dynamic sensorimotor planning during long-term sequence learning: the role of variability, response chunking and planning errors." T. Verstynen, J. Phillips, E. Braun, B. Workman, C. Schunn, and W. Schneider. PLoS ONE (in press)

"Inflammatory pathways link socioeconomic inequalities to white matter architecture." P. Gianaros, A. Marsland, L. Sheu, K. Erickson, T. Verstynen. Cerebral Cortex (in press).

"Increased body mass index is associated with global decreases in white matter microstructural integrity." T. Verstynen, A. Weinstein, D. Rofey, W. Schneider, J. Jakicic, K. Erickson. Psychosomatic Medicine (in press).

"Microstructural organizational patterns in the human corticostriatal system." T. Verstynen, D. Badre, K. Jarbo and W. Schneider. J Neurophys. 107(11):2984-95 (2012)

"Visuotopic cortical connectivity underlying attention revealed with white-matter tractography." A. Greenberg, T. Verstynen, Y.C. Chiu, S. Yantis, W. Schneider, M. Behrmann. J. Neuroscience 32(8), 2773-2782 (2012).

"How each movement changes the next: an experimental and theoretical study of fast adaptive priors in reaching." T. Verstynen and P.N. Sabes. J. Neuroscience 31(27):10050- 10059 (2011).

"Using pulse oximetry to account for high and low frequency physiological artifacts in the BOLD signal" T. Verstynen and V. Deshpande. NeuroImage. 55(4):1633-44 (2011).

"Network dynamics mediating ipsilateral motor cortex activity during unimanual actions." T. Verstynen and R.B. Ivry. J Cog Neuro 23(9):2468-80. (2011).

"In vivo assessment of microstructrual topographies in the human corticospinal pathways." T. Verstynen, K. Jarbo, S. Pathak, and W. Schneider. J Neurophysiol. 105: 336-346 (2011).