Daniel Krawczyk

Debbie and Jim Francis Chair in Behavioral Brain Sciences
Professor - Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Tags: Cognition and Neuroscience

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Psychology, Cognitive Science
University of California, Los Angeles - 2003
M.A. - Cognitive Neuroscience
University of California, Los Angeles - 2000
B.A. - Psychology
State University of New York, College at Fredonia - 1998

Research Areas

Research Interests

My research broadly focuses on the way that people attend to and remember information in order to solve problems, reason, and make decisions. I use functional MRI measures to better understand how areas of the brain are involved in attention, short-term maintenance of information, and representing motivating incentives. I am also interested in the brain correlates of memory for faces, scenes, and objects. Findings from these studies indicate that regions involved in attention and memory are activated to a greater extent when motivation is increased. This greater brain activation is often accompanied by faster and more accurate task performance.

I am investigating human reasoning in a separate, but related, line of research. I use picture and verbal reasoning tasks that require subjects to solve analogy problems or draw conclusions based on the relations among items. These tasks have been applied to individuals with Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), a form of dementia resulting in damage to the frontal or temporal cortex, in order to assess the involvement of those brain regions in problem-solving and inhibition of irrelevant items. I use similar tasks to assess the reasoning abilities of individuals with social cognition impairments such as Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, and Schizophrenia. Work is also underway to investigate reasoning in individuals with ADHD. Findings from these studies have indicated that relational reasoning requires both memory and attention in order to manipulate information to solve problems and to screen out distracting incorrect information. Intact frontal cortex is highly associated with these mental operations.

Additionally, I am interested in how people make complex decisions, such as legal verdicts or economic choices. In this work I have investigated the way that preferences toward options and attributes change as people process information related to a decision. Typically, we find that the act of deciding changes peoples preferences and attitudes so that their eventual choice is well-supported, while the choice they will reject is poorly supported. This effect may explain why people are able to make complex decisions confidently.

Publications

Kandalaft, M. R., Didehbani, N., Cullum, C. M., Krawczyk D. C., Allen, T., Tamminga, C. A., & Chapman, S. B. (in press). The Wechsler Social Perception Test: A preliminary comparison with other measures of social cognition. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. [link]  In Press - Publication
Kandalaft, M. R., Didehbani, N., Krawczyk D. C., Allen, T.T., & Chapman, S. B. (2013). Virtual reality social skills training for young adults with Asperger Syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 34-44. 2013 - Publication
Krawczyk, D. C. & D’Esposito, M. (2013). Modulation of working memory function by  motivation through loss-aversion. Human Brain Mapping, 34, 762-774. 2013 - Publication
Didehbani, N., Shad, M. U., Kandalaft, M. R., Allen, T.T., Tamminga, C. A., Krawczyk D. C. & Chapman, S. B. (2012). Insight into Illness and social attributional style in Asperger's syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 2754- 2760. 2012 - Publication
Krawczyk, D. C. (2012). The cognition and neuroscience of human reasoning. Brain Research, 1428, 13-23. [link]  2012 - Publication
Shokri Kojori, E., Motes, M. A., Rypma, B., & Krawczyk, D. C. (2012). The network architecture of cortical processing in visuo-spatial reasoning. Scientific Reports, 2, 411. [link]    2012 - Publication
Maguire, M. J., McClelland, M. M., Donovan, C. E., Tillman, G. D., & Krawczyk, D. C. (2012). Tracking cognitive phases in analogical reasoning with event-related potentials. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38, 273-281. [link]  2012 - Publication
Boggan, A. L., Bartlett, J. C., & Krawczyk, D. C. (2012). Chess Masters show a hallmark of face processing for chess. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141, 37-42. [link]   2012 - Publication
McAdams, C. & Krawczyk, D. C. (2011). Impaired neural processing of social attribution in Anorexia Nervosa. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 194, 54-63. [link]   2011 - Publication
Scheibel, R. S., Newsome, M. R., Wilde, E. A., McClelland, M. M., Hanten, G. R., Krawczyk, D. C., Cook, L. G., Chu, Z. D., Vasquez, A. C., Yallampalli, R., Lin, X., Hunter, J. V., & Levin, H. S. (2011). Brain activation during a social attribution task in adolescents with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. Social Neuroscience, 6, 582-598. [link]   2011 - Publication

Appointments

Assistant Professor
University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center [2006–Present]
Assistant Professor
The University of Texas at Dallas [2006–Present]
Ruth L. Kirschstein Post-Doctoral Fellow
University of California, Berkeley [2003–2006]
Laboratory of Mark D'Esposito

Projects

Multi-attribute decision making by constraint-satisfaction.
2000–2000 Simon, D., Krawczyk, D. C., & Holyoak, K. J. (2000). Annual Meeting of The Society for Judgment and Decision Making, New Orleans, Louisiana, November.
Decision making by constraint satisfaction.
2004–2004 Simon, D., Krawczyk, D. C., & Holyoak, K. J. (2004). Annual Meeting of The Society for Judgment and Decision Making, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November.
Influences of reward motivation on encoding and delay in human working memory.
2005–2005 Krawczyk, D. C. & D'Esposito, M. (2005). Bay Area Memory Meeting, University of California, Davis, August.
Cognitive coherence in preference-based choice.
2001–2001 Simon, D., Krawczyk, D. C., & Holyoak, K. J. (2001). UCLA mini-conference on Happiness, Pleasure, & Judgment. Los Angeles, California, November.
Robustness of decision-related attitudes under central executive disruption.
2006–2006 Krawczyk, D. C. (2006). Annual Meeting of The Society for Judgment and Decision Making, Houston, Texas, November.

Additional Information

Research Mentoring
2003-2004 University of California, Berkeley:
Mentored 1 Haas Scholars Program undergraduate
Mentored 3 undergraduates who assisted me in conducting fMRI research on the neural basis of executive control and motivation.

1999-2003 University of California, Los Angeles:
Mentored 15 UCLA undergraduate students and 1 visiting Yale undergraduate who served as research assistants on various projects investigating analogical reasoning, decision making, and preference change.

2002, 2003 University of California, Los Angeles:
Mentored two students from the Psychology Research Opportunity Program (PROPS), one of whom won the best research project award in her year for coherence in decision making project.
Felloships and Awards
  • 2003 Nominated for Joseph Gengerelli Distinguished Dissertation Award, UCLA Department of Psychology
  • 2002-2003 Dissertation Fellowship, UCLA Department of Psychology
  • 2002 Finalist for Marshall Sherfield Fellowship
  • 2001 Fellowship to the Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College
  • 2000, 2001, 2002 UCLA Conference Travel Award
  • 1998-1999 University Fellowship, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 1998 State University of New York Chance||ors Award for Student Excellence
  • 1998 Psi Chi Medallion from Psychology Department, SUNY, College at Fredonia
  • 1997, 1998 Psychology Merit Award, Psychology Department, SUNY, College at Fredonia
  • 1997 Inducted into Psi Chi, Psychology Honor Society
Grant Review
Marsden Fund, Royal Society of New Zealand

News Articles

Brain Study: Amygdala May Play Bigger Role in Facial Recognition
New research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas reveals that the amygdala may play a larger role in the brain’s ability to recognize faces than previously thought.
In a study published in Neuropsychologia, scientists found that the amygdala responded more specifically to faces than the fusiform face area (FFA), part of the brain traditionally known for facial recognition.
Scientist Gets Grant for Study of Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries
A researcher from the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas has been awarded a $2.7 million grant from the Department of Defense (DoD) under the Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program.

The grant, awarded to Dr. Daniel Krawczyk, deputy director of the Center for BrainHealth, will fund research, via a virtual technology platform, to improve cognitive and functional deficits for veterans who have experienced traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Grant to Help Brain Scientists Dig Deeper into Detecting Deception
Social interactions, such as navigating a conversation or determining whether someone is being truthful or not, are some of the most complex tasks the brain carries out, yet little is understood about the social brain on a neurobiological level.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Biotechnology Office awarded scientists at the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas a $401,000 grant to develop a method that would map and quantify aspects of the social brain. Researchers will investigate deception using imaging technology and advanced mathematical analysis to quantify its brain-basis. The study will incorporate the impact of cultural differences, an aspect increasingly relevant to military intelligence gathering operations.
Virtual Reality Helps Children on Autism Spectrum Improve Social Skills
Although most children with high-functioning autism have above average intellectual capabilities, they often experience social difficulties. Deficits in social communication and difficulty inhibiting thoughts and regulating emotions can lead to social isolation and low self-esteem. However, new research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas shows that a new virtual reality training program is producing positive results.

“Individuals with autism may become overwhelmed and anxious in social situations,” research clinician Dr. Nyaz Didehbani said. “The virtual reality training platform creates a safe place for participants to practice social situations without the intense fear of consequence.”
Wisdom in cause and action
Seeking evidence for why an event occurred is part of human nature, and it involves some of the most critical thinking processes we have. This process can allow us to determine the result of our actions based on immediate and clear feedback. Gaining insight into the world around us has resulted in numerous scientific discoveries. Engineering, medicine, and law are all fields in which clear feedback can allow us to make remarkable progress by understanding cause and effect relationships.

A medical situation can be life-threatening if the direct cause is not identified. In a searching for causes, we may look to the internet – not always the most reliable source of information on the cause of a health problem. We might be led to assume that the cause of a severe headache is a brain aneurysm when in fact it’s a migraine. Or consider stock traders… they can make a lot of money when they understand causes and effects. But many value situations are complex and uncertain. Cognitive or emotional biases enter into our thinking when we don’t have all of the relevant information. Biased evaluation of the cause can lose traders a lot of money.

Affiliations

Mentored Students
Karen Fox (2002-2003): Indiana University, Ph.D. Program in Cognitive Science Yun Chu-Jones (2001-2002): University of Hawaii at Manoa, Ph.D. Program in Cognitive Psychology Stephan Dickert (2001): University of Oregon, Ph.D. Program in Cognitive Psychology

Funding

fMRI Studies of Motivation and Executive Function.
- National Institute of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (postdoctoral) [2006–2018]
Functional MRI Studies of Working Memory and Reward Motivation.
- National Institute of Health RO3 Award [2006–2007]
Information Processing and the Emergence of Cognitive Coherence in Decision Making.
- American Psychological Association Science Directorate Dissertation Research Award [2003–2018]