Harlan M Fichtenholtz PhD

Associate Research Scientist in Psychiatry

Research Interests

Cognitive neuroscience: electrophysiology; social neuroscience

Research Summary

In order to successfully navigate the world, one must be able to understand and interpret the vast array of social and emotional signals that are encountered every day. One of the most important social stimuli is the human face. Variable aspects of the face such as gaze shifts and facial expressions provide humans with powerful social signals that allow us to be aware of the attentional focus and internal state of others. Using both behavioral and cognitive neuroscience methods, my primary research focuses on elucidating the neural correlates of the interactions between a person and the social world.

Characterizing how the brain interprets and utilizes social information is critical to the understanding of social interaction as well as higher-level social cognitive processing such as Theory of Mind and its disruption is associated with social and emotional deficits, such as those associated with autism. In a second line of research I focus on how the processing of emotional stimuli disrupts cognitive functions and the role of these disruptions in emotional disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Selected Publications

  • Fichtenholtz, H. M., Hopfinger, J. B., Graham, R., Detwiler, J. M., & LaBar, K. S. (2009). Event-related potentials reveal temporal staging of dynamic emotional expression and gaze shift effects on attentional orienting. Social Neuroscience, 4, 317-331.
  • Graham R, Friesen CK, Fichtenholtz H, and LaBar K. (in press). Facial expression facilitates target detection but does not modulate rapid reflexive orienting to gaze. Visual Cognition.
  • Fichtenholtz HM, Hopfinger JB, Graham R, Detwiler JM, and LaBar KS (2007). Facial expressions and emotional targets produce separable ERP effects in a gaze directed attention study. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, 2, 323-333.
  • Fichtenholtz HM, Dean HL, Dillon DG, Yamasaki H, McCarthy G, and LaBar KS (2004). Emotion-Attention Network Interactions during a Visual Oddball Task. Cognitive Brain Research, 20, 67-80.

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