PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Cognition and Neuroscience of Reasoning, Memory, and Attention
Dr. Krawczyk completed his doctoral training at the UCLA in cognitive neuroscience in human reasoning and decision-making. He did his postdoctoral training at the University of California, Berkeley, where he focused on studying functional brain-imaging methods (fMRI) to better understand the neural basis of human cognition.
In 2006 he joined the faculty at The University of Texas at Dallas in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Dr. Krawczyk is also involved with the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas. He is actively investigating reasoning and social cognition in disorders such as autism and traumatic brain injury. He also studies human expertise. Dr. Krawczyk is jointly appointed in the Psychiatry Department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. There he is affiliated with the Advanced Imaging Research Center (AIRC) devoted to using functional brain imaging methods to study cognition in healthy and disordered populations.
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. I am using fMRI measures to understand deficits in attention and memory in individuals who suffer front traumatic brain injuries and how these individuals respond to cognitive training.
I am 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 TBI in order to assess the involvement of those brain regions in problem-solving and inhibition of irrelevant items. 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.
Additionally, 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 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.
Krawczyk, D. C. (2012). The cognition and neuroscience of human reasoning. Brain Research, 1428, 13-23.
Krawczyk, D. C., Boggan, A. L., McClelland, M. M. & Bartlett, J. C. (2011). The neural organization of perception in chess experts. Neuroscience Letters, 499, 64-69.
Krawczyk, D. C., Hanten, G., Wilde, E. A., Li, X., Schnelle, K. P., Merkley, T. L., Vasquez, A. C., Cook, L. G., McClelland, M. M., Chapman, S. B., & Levin, H. S. (2010). Deficits in analogical reasoning in adolescents with traumatic brain injury. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 4:62.