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

Murty, Vishnu P., et al. “Is all motivation good for learning? Dissociable influences of approach and avoidance motivation in declarative memory.Learn Mem, vol. 18, no. 11, 2011, pp. 712–17. Pubmed, doi:10.1101/lm.023549.111. Full Text

Murty, Vishnu P., et al. “fMRI studies of successful emotional memory encoding: A quantitative meta-analysis.Neuropsychologia, vol. 48, no. 12, Oct. 2010, pp. 3459–69. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.07.030. Full Text

Shohamy, Daphna, and R. Alison Adcock. “Dopamine and adaptive memory.Trends Cogn Sci, vol. 14, no. 10, Oct. 2010, pp. 464–72. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.tics.2010.08.002. Full Text

Han, Sanghoon, et al. “Functional significance of striatal responses during episodic decisions: recovery or goal attainment?J Neurosci, vol. 30, no. 13, Mar. 2010, pp. 4767–75. Pubmed, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3077-09.2010. Full Text

Dale, Corby L., et al. “Timing is everything: neural response dynamics during syllable processing and its relation to higher-order cognition in schizophrenia and healthy comparison subjects.Int J Psychophysiol, vol. 75, no. 2, Feb. 2010, pp. 183–93. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2009.10.009. Full Text

Adcock, R. Alison, et al. “When top-down meets bottom-up: auditory training enhances verbal memory in schizophrenia.Schizophr Bull, vol. 35, no. 6, Nov. 2009, pp. 1132–41. Pubmed, doi:10.1093/schbul/sbp068. Full Text

Carter, R. McKell, et al. “Activation in the VTA and nucleus accumbens increases in anticipation of both gains and losses.Front Behav Neurosci, vol. 3, 2009, p. 21. Pubmed, doi:10.3389/neuro.08.021.2009. Full Text

Adcock, R. Alison, et al. “Reward-motivated learning: mesolimbic activation precedes memory formation.Neuron, vol. 50, no. 3, May 2006, pp. 507–17. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2006.03.036. Full Text

Knutson, Brian, and R. Alison Adcock. “Remembrance of rewards past.Neuron, vol. 45, no. 3, Feb. 2005, pp. 331–32. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2005.01.020. Full Text

Adcock, R. A., et al. “Functional neuroanatomy of executive processes involved in dual-task performance.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, vol. 97, no. 7, Mar. 2000, pp. 3567–72. Pubmed, doi:10.1073/pnas.060588897. Full Text