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Joy Geng


  • Ph.D., Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University
  • B.A., Psychology, Cornell University


In addition to her academic appointment, Joy Geng is a faculty member of the Center for Mind and Brain. She is also the core faculty member for the Integrated Attention Lab, which focuses on how goal-directed and sensory-driven information are integrated to determine what we perceive. In addition, she has served as a National Science Foundation panel member and is a member of several professional organizations, including the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, the Vision Sciences Society and the Society for Neuroscience. She has also served as associate editor of PLoS ONE in 2011 and as guest associate editor of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in 2013.  

Research Focus

Professor Geng’s research focuses on how goal-directed and sensory-driven information are integrated to determine what we perceive. The purpose of her work is to understand the mechanisms of attentional control that flexibly balance the ability to select task-relevant information and suppress irrelevant distractors. She is interested in both the neural and cognitive processes involved and use fMRI and eye-tracking combined with response time and accuracy measurements.

Selected Publications

  • Vossel, S.,  Geng, J. J., &  Friston, K. (2014). Attention, predictions and expectations, and their violation: attentional control in the human brain, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 8:463.
  • Stankevich, B., &  Geng, J.J. (2014). Reward associations and spatial probabilities produce additive effects on attentional selection, Attention, Perception & Psychophysics.
  • Geng, J. J. (2014). Attentional mechanisms of distractor suppression. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 23: 147-153.
  • Minzenberg, M. J.,  Gomes, G. C.,  Yoon, J. H., Watrous, A. J.,  Geng, J. J.,  Firl, A. J., &  Carter, C. S. (2014). Modafinil Augments Oscillatory Power in Middle-Frequencies During Rule Selection", Psychophysiology.
  • Lockhart S. N.,  Roach, A. E., Luck, S. J.,  Geng, J., Beckett, L., Carmichael, O., & Decarli, C. (2013). White matter hyperintensities are associated with visual search behavior independent of generalized slowing in aging. Neuropsychologia.


Professor Geng teaches in the areas of Cognitive Neuroscience, Perception and Current Research in Psychology.


Professor Geng has won numerous awards throughout her career, including the Social Sciences Dean's Innovation Award for 2013 and the 2013 UC Davis Academic Senate small grant in aid of research. In 2012, she was awarded a UC Davis Academic Senate Travel Grant and a UC Davis academic research grant. In 2011, she received a UC Davis Interdisciplinary Research grant and was nominated for the UC Davis Excellence in Teaching award. In addition, she has been selected a Hellman Fellow and has received a Royal Society International Postdoctoral Fellowship, an APA Science Directorate Dissertation Research Award, a National Science Foundation SFIGERT training grant with the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, among other recognition.