Kevin S. LaBar

Kevin S. LaBar

Director, Undergraduate Education (P&N)

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

External Address: 
B247 Levine Sci Res Ctr, Ctr Cognit Neurosci Box 90999, Durham, NC 27708-0999
Internal Office Address: 
Duke Box 90999, Durham, NC 27708-0999


My research focuses on understanding how emotional events modulate cognitive processes in the human brain. We aim to identify brain regions that encode the emotional properties of sensory stimuli, and to show how these regions interact with neural systems supporting social cognition, executive control, and learning and memory. To achieve this goal, we use a variety of cognitive neuroscience techniques in human subject populations. These include psychophysiological monitoring, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), machine learning,  and behavioral studies in healthy adults as well as psychiatric patients. This integrative approach capitalizes on recent advances in the field and may lead to new insights into cognitive-emotional interactions in the brain.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., New York University 1996

  • B.A., Lafayette College 1990

Selected Grants

Neurobehavioral Mechanisms of Emotion Regulation in Depression across the Adult Lifespan awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2022

Identifying the Optimal Neural Target for Misophonia Interventions awarded by (Co Investigator). 2019 to 2021

Contextual Influences on Fear Memories awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

Evaluating a Novel Method of Generalizing Emotion Regulation awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2012 to 2017

A Compute Cluster for Brain Imaging and Analysis awarded by National Institutes of Health (Minor User). 2016 to 2017

Motivated Memory as Therapeutic Target awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2011 to 2017

Multivariate Representations of Emotion awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2016

Social Threat and Aging: Neural Mechanisms of Emotion Regulation awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2009 to 2015


LaBar, K. S. “Emotion.” Brain Mapping: An Encyclopedic Reference, vol. 2, 2015, pp. 619–24. Scopus, doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-397025-1.00055-5. Full Text

Byrne, J. H., et al. “Learning and Memory: Basic Mechanisms.” From Molecules to Networks: An Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience: Third Edition, 2014, pp. 591–637. Scopus, doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-397179-1.00020-8. Full Text

Yamasaki, H., et al. “Dissociable Prefrontal Brain Systems for Attention and Emotion.” Social Neuroscience: Key Readings, 2013, pp. 43–52. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9780203496190. Full Text

Fichtenholtz, H. M., and K. S. LaBar. “Emotional Influences on Visuospatial Attention.” The Neuroscience of Attention: Attentional Control and Selection, 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195334364.003.0012. Full Text

LaBar, K. S. “Imaging emotional influences on learning and memory.” Neuroimaging of Human Memory: Linking Cognitive Processes to Neural Systems, 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217298.003.0018. Full Text

Huff, N. C., and K. S. LaBar. “Generalization and specialization of conditioned learning.” Generalization of Knowledge: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 2011, pp. 3–30. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9780203848036. Full Text

LaBar, K. S. “Emotion-Cognition Interactions.” Encyclopedia of Behavioral Neuroscience, 2010, pp. 469–76. Scopus, doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-045396-5.00056-7. Full Text

Dolcos, F., et al. “The Memory Enhancing Effect of Emotion: Functional Neuroimaging Evidence.” Memory and Emotion: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 2008, pp. 105–34. Scopus, doi:10.1002/9780470756232.ch6. Full Text

LaBar, K. S., and J. E. LeDoux. “Fear and anxiety pathways.” Understanding Autism: From Basic Neuroscience to Treatment, 2006, pp. 133–54.

Morey, Rajendra A., et al. “Neural correlates of conceptual-level fear generalization in posttraumatic stress disorder.Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 45, no. 8, July 2020, pp. 1380–89. Pubmed, doi:10.1038/s41386-020-0661-8. Full Text

Powers, John P., et al. “Multivariate Patterns of Posterior Cortical Activity Differentiate Forms of Emotional Distancing.Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), vol. 30, no. 5, May 2020, pp. 2766–76. Epmc, doi:10.1093/cercor/bhz273. Full Text

LaBar, K. S. “Sex differentiation in the human social brain.” Science, vol. 367, no. 6484, Mar. 2020, p. 1338C. Scopus, doi:10.1126/SCIENCE.367.6484.1336-R. Full Text

Morey, Rajendra A., et al. “Amygdala Nuclei Volume and Shape in Military Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging, vol. 5, no. 3, Mar. 2020, pp. 281–90. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.bpsc.2019.11.016. Full Text

Sun, Delin, et al. “Threat-induced anxiety during goal pursuit disrupts amygdala-prefrontal cortex connectivity in posttraumatic stress disorder.Transl Psychiatry, vol. 10, no. 1, Feb. 2020, p. 61. Pubmed, doi:10.1038/s41398-020-0739-4. Full Text

Amoroso, C. R., et al. “Disgust Theory Through the Lens of Psychiatric Medicine.” Clinical Psychological Science, vol. 8, no. 1, Jan. 2020, pp. 3–24. Scopus, doi:10.1177/2167702619863769. Full Text

Parikh, Natasha, et al. “Spatial distancing reduces emotional arousal to reactivated memories.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, vol. 26, no. 6, Dec. 2019, pp. 1967–73. Epmc, doi:10.3758/s13423-019-01648-z. Full Text

Xu, Benjamin, and Kevin S. LaBar. “Advances in understanding addiction treatment and recovery.Science Advances, vol. 5, no. 10, Oct. 2019, p. eaaz6596. Epmc, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aaz6596. Full Text

Kragel, Philip A., et al. “Emotion schemas are embedded in the human visual system.Science Advances, vol. 5, no. 7, July 2019, p. eaaw4358. Epmc, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aaw4358. Full Text

Harris, Adrianne A., et al. “The central role of disgust in disorders of food avoidance.Int J Eat Disord, vol. 52, no. 5, May 2019, pp. 543–53. Pubmed, doi:10.1002/eat.23047. Full Text


Morey, Rajendra, et al. “Fear Learning Circuitry in PTSD is Biased Toward Generalization of Conditioned Response.” Biological Psychiatry, vol. 75, no. 9, ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, 2014, pp. 14S-14S.

Brown, Vanessa M., et al. “Resting State Connectivity Between Amygdalar Subregions and the Prefrontal Cortex is Disrupted in PTSD.” Biological Psychiatry, vol. 71, no. 8, ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, 2012, pp. 307S-307S.

Morey, Rajendra A., et al. “Neural systems for executive and emotional processing are modulated by level of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in Iraq war veterans.” Biological Psychiatry, vol. 61, no. 8, ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, 2007, pp. 182S-182S.

LaBar, Kevin S. “Integrating psychophysiology and fMRI to study attention and learning.” Psychophysiology, vol. 43, BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, 2006, pp. S12–S12.

Graham, R., and K. S. LaBar. “The Garner paradigm reveals asymmetric dependencies between facial emotional expression and gaze processing.” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, M I T PRESS, 2005, pp. 144–144.

Pelphrey, K. A., et al. “Perception of dynamic changes in facial expressions of emotion in autism.” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, M I T PRESS, 2005, pp. 63–63.

Zorawski, M., et al. “Sex, stress, and fear: Individual differences in conditioned learning.” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, M I T PRESS, 2005, pp. 61–61.