Rachel Alison Adcock

Rachel Alison Adcock

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

External Address: 
Center for Cognitive Neuroscie, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90999, Durham, NC 27708-0999


Dr. Adcock received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Emory University and her MD and PhD in Neurobiology from Yale University.  She completed her psychiatry residency training at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute at UC-San Francisco and did neurosciences research as a postdoctoral fellow at UC-SF, the San Francisco VA Medical Center, and Stanford before joining the Duke faculty in 2007. Her work has been funded by NIDA, NIMH, NSF and Alfred P. Sloan and Klingenstein Fellowships in the Neurosciences, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and honored by NARSAD awards, the 2012 National Academy of Sciences Seymour Benzer Lectureship, and the 2015 ABAI BF Skinner Lectureship. The overall goals of her research program are to understand how brain systems for motivation support learning and to use mechanistic understanding of how behavior changes biology to meet the challenge of developing new therapies appropriate for early interventions for mental illness.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Yale University 1999

  • M.D., Yale University School of Medicine 1999

Selected Grants

Neurobiology Training Program awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2019 to 2024

Duke CTSA (TL1) Year 5 awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2018 to 2023

Medical Scientist Training Program awarded by National Institutes of Health (Steering Committee Member). 1997 to 2022

A High-Performance 3T MRI for Brain Imaging awarded by National Institutes of Health (Minor User). 2021 to 2022

Targeting reward dysfunction as a mechanism to improve smoking cessation awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Mentor). 2016 to 2022

Instructed Activation of the Human Dopaminergic Midbrain Using Real-Time fMRI in Nicotine-Dependent Individuals awarded by Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2021

Increasing Motivation in ADHD Via Self-activation of VTA awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2021

Smoking/Nicotine Dependence in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) awarded by National Institutes of Health (Collaborator). 2017 to 2020

Modeling the Neurobehavioral Basis of Extrinsic and Volitional Motivation in ADHD awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2020


Chiew, K. S., and R. A. Adcock. “Motivated memory: Integrating cognitive and affective neuroscience.” The Cambridge Handbook of Motivation and Learning, 2019, pp. 517–46.

Dickerson, Kathryn, and R. Alison Adcock. “Motivation and Memory.Stevens’ Handbook of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, , 5 Volume Set, edited by Elizabeth A. Phelps and Lila Davachi, vol. 1. Learning and Memory, Wiley, 2018.

Murty, V. P., and R. A. Adcock. “Distinct medial temporal lobe network states as neural contexts for motivated memory formation.” The Hippocampus from Cells to Systems: Structure, Connectivity, and Functional Contributions to Memory and Flexible Cognition, 2017, pp. 467–501. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-50406-3_15. Full Text

Chiew, Kimberly S., et al. “Remembering Election Night 2016: Subjective but not objective metrics of autobiographical memory vary with political affiliation, affective valence, and surprise.J Exp Psychol Gen, vol. 151, no. 2, Feb. 2022, pp. 390–409. Pubmed, doi:10.1037/xge0001080. Full Text

Sinclair, Alyssa H., et al. “Prediction errors disrupt hippocampal representations and update episodic memories.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, vol. 118, no. 51, Dec. 2021. Pubmed, doi:10.1073/pnas.2117625118. Full Text

Haugg, Amelie, et al. “Predictors of real-time fMRI neurofeedback performance and improvement - A machine learning mega-analysis.Neuroimage, vol. 237, Aug. 2021, p. 118207. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118207. Full Text

Sinclair, Alyssa H., et al. “Pairing facts with imagined consequences improves pandemic-related risk perception.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, vol. 118, no. 32, Aug. 2021. Pubmed, doi:10.1073/pnas.2100970118. Full Text

Sinclair, Alyssa H., et al. “Imagining a personalized scenario selectively increases perceived risk of viral transmission for older adults.” Nature Aging, vol. 1, no. 8, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, Aug. 2021, pp. 677–83. Crossref, doi:10.1038/s43587-021-00095-7. Full Text

Haugg, Amelie, et al. “Can we predict real-time fMRI neurofeedback learning success from pretraining brain activity?Hum Brain Mapp, vol. 41, no. 14, Oct. 2020, pp. 3839–54. Pubmed, doi:10.1002/hbm.25089. Full Text

Botvinik-Nezer, Rotem, et al. “Variability in the analysis of a single neuroimaging dataset by many teams.Nature, vol. 582, no. 7810, June 2020, pp. 84–88. Pubmed, doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2314-9. Full Text

MacInnes, Jeff J., et al. “Pyneal: Open Source Real-Time fMRI Software.Front Neurosci, vol. 14, 2020, p. 900. Pubmed, doi:10.3389/fnins.2020.00900. Full Text

Stanek, Jessica K., et al. “Expected Reward Value and Reward Uncertainty Have Temporally Dissociable Effects on Memory Formation.J Cogn Neurosci, vol. 31, no. 10, Oct. 2019, pp. 1443–54. Pubmed, doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01411. Full Text


Dickerson, Kathryn, et al. “Cognitive Neurostimulation of Dopaminergic Midbrain via fMRI Neurofeedback Training Increases Willingness to Exert Effort in ADHD.” Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 46, no. SUPPL 1, 2021, pp. 134–134.

Hakimi, Shabnam, et al. “Embedded Temporal Patterns in the Feedback Signal Differentially Predict VTA Neurofeedback-Mediated Learning to Self-Regulate Motivation.” Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 45, no. SUPPL 1, 2020, pp. 378–79.

Erwin, Savannah R., et al. “2.19 HARNESSING PERFECTIONISM: THE ROLE OF EMOTION REGULATION AND REWARD EXPERIENCE.” Journal of the American Academy of Child &Amp; Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 58, no. 10, Elsevier BV, 2019, pp. S177–S177. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2019.08.111. Full Text

Adcock, Rachel, et al. “144. Cognitive Neurostimulation: Volitional Regulation of Ventral Tegmental Area.” Biological Psychiatry, vol. 85, no. 10, Elsevier BV, 2019, pp. S60–S60. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.03.158. Full Text

Dickerson, Kathryn, et al. “Real-Time fMRI as a CBT Adjunct: Predicting the Behavioral Impact of Neurofeedback.” Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 43, NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2018, pp. S125–26.

Dickerson, Kathryn, et al. “T157. Using Real-Time fMRI Neurofeedback as a Tool for Demonstrating Therapeutic Efficacy.” Biological Psychiatry, vol. 83, no. 9, Elsevier BV, 2018, pp. S189–S189. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2018.02.494. Full Text

Liu, Siwei, et al. “F156. LONGITUDINAL WORKING MEMORY FUNCTIONAL DYSCONNECTIVITY REFLECTS HETEROGENEITY IN INDIVIDUALS AT ULTRA HIGH RISK FOR PSYCHOSIS.” Schizophrenia Bulletin, vol. 44, no. suppl_1, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2018, pp. S281–S281. Crossref, doi:10.1093/schbul/sby017.687. Full Text

Dickerson, Kathryn, et al. “Cognitive Neurostimulation of the Dopamine System.” Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 41, NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016, pp. S500–01.

Adcock, R. Alison, et al. “DORSOLATERAL PREFRONTAL CORTEX DRIVES MESOLIMBIC DOPAMINERGIC REGIONS DURING MOTIVATED BEHAVIOR: INSIGHTS FROM DYNAMIC CAUSAL MODELING AND FMRI IN AT-RISK ADOLESCENTS.” Schizophrenia Research, vol. 153, Elsevier BV, 2014, pp. S38–S38. Crossref, doi:10.1016/s0920-9964(14)70127-6. Full Text

Sumner, Elizabeth, et al. “DOPAMINERGIC MODULATION OF REWARD-MOTIVATED MEMORY.” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, MIT PRESS, 2013, pp. 227–28.