Marty G. Woldorff

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of California at San Diego 1989

  • B.A., University of California at Berkeley 1978


Dr. Woldorff's main research interest is in the cognitive neuroscience of attention. At each and every moment of our lives, we are bombarded by a welter of sensory information coming at us from a myriad of directions and through our various sensory modalities -- much more than we can fully process. We must continuously select and extract the most important information from this welter of sensory inputs. How the human brain accomplishes this is one of the core challenges of modern cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Woldorff uses a combination of electrophysiological (ERP, MEG) and functional neuroimaging (fMRI) methods to study the time course, functional neuroanatomy, and mechanisms of attentional processes. This multimethodological approach is directed along several main lines of research: (1) The influence of attention on sensory and perceptual processing; (2) Cognitive and attentional control mechanisms; (3) The role of attention in multisensory environments; (4) The interactive relationship between attention and reward; and (5) The role of attention in perceptual awareness.


Attention, Perception, Cognitive Control, Perceptual Awareness, EEG, ERP, fMRI, Cognitive Neuroscience

Geib, BR, Stanley, ML, Dennis, NA, Woldorff, MG, and Cabeza, R. "From hippocampus to whole-brain: The role of integrative processing in episodic memory retrieval." Human brain mapping 38.4 (April 2017): 2242-2259. Full Text

McKay, CC, van den Berg, B, and Woldorff, MG. "Neural cascade of conflict processing: Not just time-on-task." Neuropsychologia 96 (February 2017): 184-191. Full Text

Donohue, SE, Woldorff, MG, Hopf, J-M, Harris, JA, Heinze, H-J, and Schoenfeld, MA. "An electrophysiological dissociation of craving and stimulus-dependent attentional capture in smokers." Cognitive, affective & behavioral neuroscience 16.6 (December 2016): 1114-1126. Full Text

van den Berg, B, Appelbaum, LG, Clark, K, Lorist, MM, and Woldorff, MG. "Visual search performance is predicted by both prestimulus and poststimulus electrical brain activity." Scientific reports 6 (November 30, 2016): 37718-. Full Text Open Access Copy

Donohue, SE, Harris, JA, Heinze, H-J, Woldorff, MG, and Schoenfeld, MA. "An electrophysiological marker of the desire to quit in smokers." The European journal of neuroscience 44.9 (November 2016): 2735-2741. Full Text

Demeter, E, De Alburquerque, D, and Woldorff, MG. "The effects of ongoing distraction on the neural processes underlying signal detection." Neuropsychologia 89 (August 2016): 335-343. Full Text

Langford, ZD, Krebs, RM, Talsma, D, Woldorff, MG, and Boehler, CN. "Strategic down-regulation of attentional resources as a mechanism of proactive response inhibition." The European journal of neuroscience 44.4 (August 2016): 2095-2103. Full Text

Harris, JA, Donohue, SE, Schoenfeld, MA, Hopf, J-M, Heinze, H-J, and Woldorff, MG. "Reward-associated features capture attention in the absence of awareness: Evidence from object-substitution masking." NeuroImage 137 (August 2016): 116-123. Full Text

Demeter, E, and Woldorff, MG. "Transient Distraction and Attentional Control during a Sustained Selective Attention Task." Journal of cognitive neuroscience 28.7 (July 2016): 935-947. Full Text

San Martín, R, Kwak, Y, Pearson, JM, Woldorff, MG, and Huettel, SA. "Altruistic traits are predicted by neural responses to monetary outcomes for self vs charity." Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 11.6 (June 2016): 863-876. Full Text


Path Toward MRI with Direct Sensitivity to Neuro-Electro-Magnetic Oscillations awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2014 to 2018

Attentional Mechanisms in Multisensory Environments awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2006 to 2018

Basic predoctoral training in neuroscience awarded by National Institutes of Health (Training Faculty). 1992 to 2017

A Compute Cluster for Brain Imaging and Analysis awarded by National Institutes of Health (Minor User). 2016 to 2017

Training in Fundamental &Translational Neuroscience awarded by National Institutes of Health (Training Faculty). 2005 to 2016

Improving Math Ability via Primitive Number Sense Training awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2014 to 2015

Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Cortical Neuronal Activity awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2010 to 2015

Studies of Attention Using Combined ERPs and fMRI awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2001 to 2015

Representation of Number in Infancy awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2003 to 2012

Precision Targeting of fMRI-Guided TMS Using a Robotic Arm System awarded by National Institutes of Health (Investigator). 2010 to 2011