Rachel Alison Adcock

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

Dandash, Orwa, et al. “Altered striatal functional connectivity in subjects with an at-risk mental state for psychosis.Schizophr Bull, vol. 40, no. 4, July 2014, pp. 904–13. Pubmed, doi:10.1093/schbul/sbt093. Full Text

Braver, Todd S., et al. “Mechanisms of motivation-cognition interaction: challenges and opportunities.Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci, vol. 14, no. 2, June 2014, pp. 443–72. Pubmed, doi:10.3758/s13415-014-0300-0. Full Text

Clark, Kait, et al. “Context matters: the structure of task goals affects accuracy in multiple-target visual search.Appl Ergon, vol. 45, no. 3, May 2014, pp. 528–33. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2013.07.008. Full Text

Yaakub, Siti N., et al. “Preserved working memory and altered brain activation in persons at risk for psychosis.Am J Psychiatry, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2013, pp. 1297–307. Pubmed, doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.12081135. Full Text

Libertus, Klaus, et al. “Size matters: how age and reaching experiences shape infants' preferences for different sized objects.Infant Behav Dev, vol. 36, no. 2, Apr. 2013, pp. 189–98. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2013.01.006. Full Text

Murty, Vishnu P., et al. “Hippocampal networks habituate as novelty accumulates.Learn Mem, vol. 20, no. 4, Mar. 2013, pp. 229–35. Pubmed, doi:10.1101/lm.029728.112. Full Text

Murty, Vishnu P., et al. “Threat of punishment motivates memory encoding via amygdala, not midbrain, interactions with the medial temporal lobe.J Neurosci, vol. 32, no. 26, June 2012, pp. 8969–76. Pubmed, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0094-12.2012. Full Text

Ballard, Ian C., et al. “Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex drives mesolimbic dopaminergic regions to initiate motivated behavior.J Neurosci, vol. 31, no. 28, July 2011, pp. 10340–46. Pubmed, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0895-11.2011. Full Text

Whitford, T. J., et al. “Electrophysiological and diffusion tensor imaging evidence of delayed corollary discharges in patients with schizophrenia.Psychol Med, vol. 41, no. 5, May 2011, pp. 959–69. Pubmed, doi:10.1017/S0033291710001376. Full Text

Murty, Vishnu P., et al. “Reprint of: fMRI studies of successful emotional memory encoding: a quantitative meta-analysis.Neuropsychologia, vol. 49, no. 4, Mar. 2011, pp. 695–705. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.02.031. Full Text


Selected Grants

From Phenotype to Mechanism: Mapping the Pathways underlying Risky Choice awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2009 to 2011