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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.”
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.