Sarah Shomstein

Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience; Affiliated Faculty: Neuroscience Institute and Mind-Brain Institute
Room 309
Address: 2125 G St NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20052
Phone: 202-994-5957



Current Research

My research is concerned with understanding the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying attentional selection, and focuses on two questions in particular. The first question concerns the representations, or units, from which selection occurs and this line of research focuses primarily on the behavioral and neural correlates of spatial and object-based selection as human observers analyze incoming information. The second question concerns the computations involved in the selection per se and this research investigates the neural source of the attentional signal and the impact this signal exerts on the neural trace of the sensory stimulus before and after it has been attentionally selected. To explore these issues, I employ multiple methodologies including behavioral paradigms, eye tracking, and functional neuroimaging both in normal individuals as well as in individuals with attentional deficits following brain damage. Utilizing a converging methodologies approach is fundamental to my research program, as the limitations of one method can be compensated for by another. For more information about Dr. Shomstein's research, visit the Attention and Cognition Laboratory.


Ph.D. 2003, Johns Hopkins University


Shomstein, S. & Johnson, J. (in press). Shaping attention with reward: Effects of reward on space- and object-based attention. Psychological Science.

Behrmann, M. & Shomstein, S. (in press). The neural basis of neglect. International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 3rd edition.

Lee, J. & Shomstein, S. (2013). Differential effects of reward on space- and object-based attentional allocation. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(26), 10625-10633.

Shomstein, S. (2012).  Cognitive functions of the posterior parietal cortex: Top-down and bottom-up attentional control. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 6:38.

Shomstein, S., Kravitz, D., & Behrmann, M. (2012). Attentional control: Temporal relationship within the fronto-parietal network. Neuropsychologia, 50 (6), 1202-1210.

Shomstein, S. (2012). Object-based attention: Strategy vs. Automaticity. WIREs Cognitive Science, 3, 163-169.

Shomstein, S., Lee, J., & Behrmann, M. (2010). Top-down and bottom-up attentional guidance: Investigating the role of the dorsal and ventral parietal cortices. Journal of Experimental Brain Research: Special Issue on Visuo-Spatial Neglect in honor of Gino Pizzamiglio, 206 (2), 197-208.