Monica M. Luciana, PhD

Professor, Department of Psychology

Monica M. Luciana

Contact Info

Office Address:
Psychology - N419
Elliot Hall
75 E River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Professor, Department of Psychology

Adjunct Faculty Member, Institute of Child Development

Core Faculty Member, Center for Neurobehavioral Development

Doctoral Degree, University of Minneapolis, 1994


The focus of my research is to examine brain/behavior relationships in adults and children. Specifically, I am interested in the neurobiology of behaviors that are mediated by the brain's prefrontal cortex, including working memory, planning, and emotional control. My research program examines this area through several avenues: (a) Pharmacological studies of normal adults: Adults are administered drugs or natural compounds that activate selected neurotransmitter systems in the brain (e.g., dopamine and serotonin). While under the influence of these manipulations, cognition and emotional functions are examined to determine how the transmitters affect specific behaviors; (b) Studies of clinical populations with aberrations in either dopamine or serotonin pathways. We are currently studying Ecstasy users as compared with depressed people, as well as people with the genetic disorder, PKU; (c) Developmental studies in adolescents. The development of prefrontally-mediated cognitive behaviors is being studied in healthy adolescents, ages 9-21, in order to determine when adult levels are reached. We are focusing on differential development of the dorsolateral versus ventromedial prefrontal cortices.

Awards & Recognition

  • McKnight Land-Grant Professorship, 2001-2003


Research Summary/Interests

Research Interests

  • neurobehavioural assessment of prefontally-guided behaviors in adults and children
  • neurochemical substrates of human cognition and affect
  • planning and emotional control
  • working memory


  • Opposing roles for dopamine and serotonin in the modulation of spatial working memory functions of human prefrontal cortex: Luciana, Monica, P.F. Collins & R.A. Depue, Cerebral Cortex, 8 218-226, 1998.
  • The functional emergence of prefrontally-guided working memory systems in four-to- eight year-old children: Luciana, Monica, C.A. Nelson, Neuropsychologia, 46(3) 273-293, 1998.
  • Handbook of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Luciana, Monica, C.A. Nelson, MIT Press, 2001.
  • Neurobehavioral evidence for working memory deficits in school-aged children with histories of premat urity: Luciana, Monica, L. Lindeke, M. Georgieff & C.A. Nelson, Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 41(8) 521-33, 1999.



Psy 4993 - Directed Study: Special Areas of Psychology and Related Sciences: Brain Processes, Cognition and Emotion; Psy 5064 - Brain and Emotion; Psy 8611 - Assessment I; Psy 8611 - Neuropsychological Assessment; Psy 8993 - Directed Study: Special Areas of Psychology and Related Sciences: Brain Processes, Cognition and Emotion; Psy1001 - Introduction to Psychology, Biological Psychology component