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

From Phenotype to Mechanism: Mapping the Pathways underlying Risky Choice awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2009 to 2011


Chiew, Kimberly S., et al. “Reward Anticipation Dynamics during Cognitive Control and Episodic Encoding: Implications for Dopamine.Front Hum Neurosci, vol. 10, 2016, p. 555. Pubmed, doi:10.3389/fnhum.2016.00555. Full Text

Murty, Vishnu P., et al. “Resting state networks distinguish human ventral tegmental area from substantia nigra.Neuroimage, vol. 100, Oct. 2014, pp. 580–89. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.06.047. Full Text

Murty, Vishnu P., and R. Alison Adcock. “Enriched encoding: reward motivation organizes cortical networks for hippocampal detection of unexpected events.Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), vol. 24, no. 8, Aug. 2014, pp. 2160–68. Epmc, doi:10.1093/cercor/bht063. Full Text

Kollins, Scott H., and R. Alison Adcock. “ADHD, altered dopamine neurotransmission, and disrupted reinforcement processes: implications for smoking and nicotine dependence.Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry, vol. 52, July 2014, pp. 70–78. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2014.02.002. Full Text

Dandash, Orwa, et al. “Altered striatal functional connectivity in subjects with an at-risk mental state for psychosis.Schizophr Bull, vol. 40, no. 4, July 2014, pp. 904–13. Pubmed, doi:10.1093/schbul/sbt093. Full Text

Braver, Todd S., et al. “Mechanisms of motivation-cognition interaction: challenges and opportunities.Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci, vol. 14, no. 2, June 2014, pp. 443–72. Pubmed, doi:10.3758/s13415-014-0300-0. Full Text

Clark, Kait, et al. “Context matters: the structure of task goals affects accuracy in multiple-target visual search.Appl Ergon, vol. 45, no. 3, May 2014, pp. 528–33. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2013.07.008. Full Text

Yaakub, Siti N., et al. “Preserved working memory and altered brain activation in persons at risk for psychosis.The American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2013, pp. 1297–307. Epmc, doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.12081135. Full Text

Libertus, Klaus, et al. “Size matters: how age and reaching experiences shape infants' preferences for different sized objects.Infant Behav Dev, vol. 36, no. 2, Apr. 2013, pp. 189–98. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2013.01.006. Full Text