Rachel Alison Adcock

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Yale University 1999

  • M.D., Yale University School of Medicine 1999


Dr. Adcock received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Emory University and her MD and PhD in Neurobiology from Yale University.  She completed her psychiatry residency training at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute at UC-San Francisco and did neurosciences research as a postdoctoral fellow at UC-SF, the San Francisco VA Medical Center, and Stanford before joining the Duke faculty in 2007. Her work has been funded by NIDA, NIMH, NSF and Alfred P. Sloan and Klingenstein Fellowships in the Neurosciences, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and honored by NARSAD awards, the 2012 National Academy of Sciences Seymour Benzer Lectureship, and the 2015 ABAI BF Skinner Lectureship. The overall goals of her research program are to understand how brain systems for motivation support learning and to use mechanistic understanding of how behavior changes biology to meet the challenge of developing new therapies appropriate for early interventions for mental illness.


Memory, motivation, neuroscience, dopamine

Murty, VP, Tompary, A, Adcock, RA, and Davachi, L. "Selectivity in post-encoding connectivity with high-level visual cortex is associated with reward-motivated memory." The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience (December 5, 2016).

Murty, VP, LaBar, KS, and Adcock, RA. "Distinct medial temporal networks encode surprise during motivation by reward versus punishment." Neurobiology of learning and memory 134 Pt A (October 2016): 55-64. Full Text

Wang, C, Ji, F, Hong, Z, Poh, JS, Krishnan, R, Lee, J, Rekhi, G, Keefe, RSE, Adcock, RA, Wood, SJ, Fornito, A, Pasternak, O, Chee, MWL, and Zhou, J. "Disrupted salience network functional connectivity and white-matter microstructure in persons at risk for psychosis: findings from the LYRIKS study." Psychological medicine 46.13 (October 2016): 2771-2783. Full Text

Scult, MA, Knodt, AR, Hanson, JL, Ryoo, M, Adcock, RA, Hariri, AR, and Strauman, TJ. "Individual Differences in Regulatory Focus Predict Neural Response to Reward." Social neuroscience (April 14, 2016).

MacInnes, JJ, Dickerson, KC, Chen, NK, and Adcock, RA. "Cognitive Neurostimulation: Learning to Volitionally Sustain Ventral Tegmental Area Activation." Neuron 89.6 (March 2, 2016): 1331-1342. Full Text

McClernon, FJ, Conklin, CA, Kozink, RV, Adcock, RA, Sweitzer, MM, Addicott, MA, Chou, YH, Chen, NK, Hallyburton, MB, and DeVito, AM. "Hippocampal and Insular Response to Smoking-Related Environments: Neuroimaging Evidence for Drug-Context Effects in Nicotine Dependence." Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 41.3 (February 2016): 877-885. Full Text

Murty, VP, Ballard, IC, and Adcock, RA. "Hippocampus and Prefrontal Cortex Predict Distinct Timescales of Activation in the Human Ventral Tegmental Area." Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) (January 29, 2016).

Chiew, KS, Stanek, JK, and Adcock, RA. "Reward Anticipation Dynamics during Cognitive Control and Episodic Encoding: Implications for Dopamine." Frontiers in human neuroscience 10 (January 2016): 555-.

Klauser, P, Zhou, J, Lim, JK, Poh, JS, Zheng, H, Tng, HY, Krishnan, R, Lee, J, Keefe, RS, Adcock, RA, Wood, SJ, Fornito, A, and Chee, MW. "Lack of Evidence for Regional Brain Volume or Cortical Thickness Abnormalities in Youths at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis: Findings From the Longitudinal Youth at Risk Study." Schizophrenia bulletin 41.6 (November 2015): 1285-1293. Full Text

Murty, VP, Shermohammed, M, Smith, DV, Carter, RM, Huettel, SA, and Adcock, RA. "Resting state networks distinguish human ventral tegmental area from substantia nigra." NeuroImage 100 (October 2014): 580-589. Full Text



Johnson, EB, Wilson, J, Poh, J, Yaakub, S, Dorairaj, K, Rapisarda, A, Chee, M, Chong, SA, Subramaniam, M, Keefe, R, Kraus, M, Thong, J, Bong, YL, and Adcock, RA. "Midbrain Modulation of Hippocampus Dependent Learning in Singaporeans at Ultra High Risk for the Development of Schizophrenia." April 15, 2012.

Murty, VP, Chong, SA, Subramaniam, M, Keefe, R, Kraus, M, Poh, J, Dorairaj, K, Thong, J, Bong, YL, and Adcock, RA. "Amygdala Reactivity in Singaporeans at Ultra High Risk for the Development of Schizophrenia." May 1, 2011.

Targeting reward dysfunction as a mechanism to improve smoking cessation awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Mentor). 2016 to 2021

Smoking/Nicotine Dependence in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) awarded by National Institutes of Health (Collaborator). 2014 to 2019

Characterizing Neural Mechanisms of Cognitive Control awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2010 to 2019

Environment Cue-Reactivity: Brain, Behavior and Clinical Outcomes in Tobacco Use awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2014 to 2019

Instructed Activation of the Human Dopaminergic Midbrain Using Real-Time fMRI in Nicotine-Dependent Individuals awarded by Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2018

Increasing Motivation in ADHD Via Self-activation of VTA awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2018

Acute and chronic nicotine modulation of reinforcement learning awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Mentor). 2013 to 2018

Connectivity of the Dopaminergic Midbrain During Learned Regulation of Intrinsic Motivation awarded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2017

BRAIN EAGER: Bayesian Models of Translational Neural Networks: Motivation and Reward awarded by National Science Foundation (Advisor). 2014 to 2017

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