Dr Taylor Schmitz


How does the brain control access to conscious awareness? Of the multitude of information available to us for processing at any given moment, both in our external sensory and internal representational environments, only a small subset receives this privilege. Selective attention broadly describes the many neural processes that give rise to this ‘filter’, which enables us to quickly locate an oncoming cyclist when crossing a busy street, or tune out competing voices while conversing with a friend at a crowded dinner party.

In the laboratory, we often treat attention as operating in a vacuum. In real life however, attention often has potent interactions with memory. My research focuses on the neural basis of this interaction, and how it is altered by aging and neuropathology. To address these questions, I use an array of in vivo neuroimaging techniques, including magnetic resonance imaging and scalp electroencephalography.

Research Focus





magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

electroencephalography (EEG)

Clinical conditions

Alzheimer's disease

Cognitive impairment


Traumatic brain injury


Electroencephalography (EEG)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy



Michael Anderson

Ian Charest


Adam Anderson Web: http://www.human.cornell.edu/bio.cfm...

Eve De Rosa Web: http://www.human.cornell.edu/bio.cfm...

Susanne Ferber Web: http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/users/f...

Sterling Johnson Web: http://www.brainmap.wisc.edu/

Andrew Prescot Web: http://medicine.utah.edu/faculty...

Associated News Items

Key publications

Schmitz TW, Spreng RN (2016), “Basal forebrain degeneration precedes and predicts the cortical spread of Alzheimer’s pathology” Nature Communications doi:10.1038/ncomms13249



Charest I, Kievit RA, Schmitz TW, Deca D, Kriegeskorte N (2014), “Unique semantic space in the brain of each beholder predicts perceived similarity” PNAS 111(40): 14565–14570

Schmitz TW, Dixon ML, Anderson AK, De Rosa E (2014), “Distinguishing attentional gain and tuning in young and older adults.” Neurobiol Aging Details


Todd RM, Schmitz TW, Susskind J, Anderson AK (2013), “Shared neural substrates of emotionally enhanced perceptual and mnemonic vividness.” Front Behav Neurosci 7:40 Details


Todd RM, Talmi D, Schmitz TW, Susskind J, Anderson AK (2012), “Psychophysical and neural evidence for emotion-enhanced perceptual vividness.” J Neurosci 32(33):11201-12 Details


Menon M, Schmitz TW, Anderson AK, Graff A, Korostil M, Mamo D, Gerretsen P, Addington J, Remington G, Kapur S (2011), “Exploring the neural correlates of delusions of reference.” Biol Psychiatry 70(12):1127-33 Details


Schmitz TW, Cheng FH, De Rosa E (2010), “Failing to ignore: paradoxical neural effects of perceptual load on early attentional selection in normal aging.” J Neurosci 30(44):14750-8 Details


Schmitz TW, De Rosa E, Anderson AK (2009), “Opposing influences of affective state valence on visual cortical encoding.” J Neurosci 29(22):7199-207 Details


Johnson SC, Schmitz TW, Asthana S, Gluck MA, Myers C (2008), “Associative learning over trials activates the hippocampus in healthy elderly but not mild cognitive impairment.” Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 15(2):129-45 Details

Trivedi MA, Schmitz TW, Ries ML, Hess TM, Fitzgerald ME, Atwood CS, Rowley HA, Asthana S, Sager MA, Johnson SC (2008), “fMRI activation during episodic encoding and metacognitive appraisal across the lifespan: risk factors for Alzheimer's disease.” Neuropsychologia 46(6):1667-78 Details


Ries ML, Jabbar BM, Schmitz TW, Trivedi MA, Gleason CE, Carlsson CM, Rowley HA, Asthana S, Johnson SC (2007), “Anosognosia in mild cognitive impairment: Relationship to activation of cortical midline structures involved in self-appraisal.” J Int Neuropsychol Soc 13(3):450-61 Details

Schmitz TW, Johnson SC (2007), “Relevance to self: A brief review and framework of neural systems underlying appraisal.” Neurosci Biobehav Rev 31(4):585-96 Details


Gleason CE, Schmitz TW, Hess T, Koscik RL, Trivedi MA, Ries ML, Carlsson CM, Sager MA, Asthana S, Johnson SC (2006), “Hormone effects on fMRI and cognitive measures of encoding: importance of hormone preparation.” Neurology 67(11):2039-41 Details

Johnson SC, Schmitz TW, Moritz CH, Meyerand ME, Rowley HA, Alexander AL, Hansen KW, Gleason CE, Carlsson CM, Ries ML, Asthana S, Chen K, Reiman EM, Alexander GE (2006), “Activation of brain regions vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease: the effect of mild cognitive impairment.” Neurobiol Aging 27(11):1604-12 Details

Johnson SC, Schmitz TW, Trivedi MA, Ries ML, Torgerson BM, Carlsson CM, Asthana S, Hermann BP, Sager MA (2006), “The influence of Alzheimer disease family history and apolipoprotein E epsilon4 on mesial temporal lobe activation.” J Neurosci 26(22):6069-76 Details

Ries ML, Schmitz TW, Kawahara TN, Torgerson BM, Trivedi MA, Johnson SC (2006), “Task-dependent posterior cingulate activation in mild cognitive impairment.” Neuroimage 29(2):485-92 Details

Schmitz TW, Johnson SC (2006), “Self-appraisal decisions evoke dissociated dorsal-ventral aMPFC networks.” Neuroimage 30(3):1050-8 Details

Schmitz TW, Rowley HA, Kawahara TN, Johnson SC (2006), “Neural correlates of self-evaluative accuracy after traumatic brain injury.” Neuropsychologia 44(5):762-73 Details

Trivedi MA, Schmitz TW, Ries ML, Torgerson BM, Sager MA, Hermann BP, Asthana S, Johnson SC (2006), “Reduced hippocampal activation during episodic encoding in middle-aged individuals at genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease: a cross-sectional study.” BMC Med 4:1 Details

Trivedi MA, Wichmann AK, Torgerson BM, Ward MA, Schmitz TW, Ries ML, Koscik RL, Asthana S, Johnson SC (2006), “Structural MRI discriminates individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment from age-matched controls: a combined neuropsychological and voxel based morphometry study.” Alzheimers Dement 2(4):296-302 Details


Johnson SC, Schmitz TW, Kawahara-Baccus TN, Rowley HA, Alexander AL, Lee J, Davidson RJ (2005), “The cerebral response during subjective choice with and without self-reference.” J Cogn Neurosci 17(12):1897-906 Details


Schmitz TW, Kawahara-Baccus TN, Johnson SC (2004), “Metacognitive evaluation, self-relevance, and the right prefrontal cortex.” Neuroimage 22(2):941-7 Details