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Benjamin Tamber-Rosenau, Ph.D.

Ben Tamber-Rosenau, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Developmental, Cognitive, & Behavioral Neuroscience
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

Office: Fred J. Heyne Building, Room 231B
Lab: Fred J. Heyne Building, Room 7
Phone: 713-743-9601

Biographical Summary

I completed my Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences working with Professor Steven Yantis. There, I focused my research on the brain mechanisms of selective attention, both to perceptual items and to items held in working (or short-term) memory. Following my graduate work, I performed postdoctoral research at Vanderbilt University, primarily working with Professor René Marois to study the neural basis of the limits of our capacities for attention and working memory. While at Vanderbilt, I also performed postdoctoral research with Professor Isabel Gauthier, focused on how experts’ brains represent visual items in their domain of perceptual expertise. I began my current post, as an Assistant Professor in the Developmental, Cognitive, & Behavioral Neuroscience area of the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston, at the start of the 2016-2017 academic year.

Research Interests

How does the human brain allow us to react adaptively to a wide variety of situations and tasks? And why does this extremely flexible system fail in seemingly simple situations? Everyday examples of these limits include our inability to pay attention to our work and the TV at the same time, our poor driving when we speak on the phone (even hands-free!), and our forgetting details of a photo right after we see it.

My research aims to understand the cognitive and neural bases of the paradoxical, flexible-yet-limited nature of human cognition. My work has mainly focused on healthy young adults, but will expand to include other populations, with the goal of learning how to ameliorate the reduced capabilities that can go along with aging and disorders.

In order to carry out my research, I use methods such as:

  • functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • multivariate/multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA)
  • transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the brain
  • computational modeling (quantitative mixture modeling)
  • behavioral measures of response time and accuracy
  • eyetracking

For more detail, please see my lab page.

Prospective Students

If you are interested in joining the Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention Lab (as either a graduate student or as an undergraduate research assistant), please e-mail me!

For more detail, please see my lab page.


For a complete list of publications, please see my Google Scholar page. A few representative publications include:

Tamber-Rosenau, B.J., & Marois, R. (2016). Central attention is serial, but midlevel and peripheral attention are parallel—A hypothesis. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics.

Tamber-Rosenau, B.J., Fintzi, A.R., & Marois, R. (2015). Crowding in visual working memory reveals its spatial resolution and the nature of its representations. Psychological Science, 26(9), 1511-1521.

Tamber-Rosenau, B.J., Dux, P.E., Tombu, M.N., Asplund, C.L., & Marois, R. (2013). Amodal processing in human prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(28), 11573-11587.

Tamber-Rosenau, B. J., Esterman, M., Chiu, Y.-C., & Yantis, S. (2011). Cortical mechanisms of cognitive control for shifting attention in vision and working memory. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(10), 2905-2919.

Esterman, M., Chiu, Y.-C., Tamber-Rosenau, B. J., & Yantis, S. (2009). Decoding cognitive control in human parietal cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(42), 17974-17979.