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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Psychology


Kimberly Chiew

Dr. Chiew is interested in taking a new graduate student for Fall 2021. She will review applications from students applying to either Affective/Social/Cognitive, Clinical, or Developmental Psychology programs.

Areas of Expertise / Research Interests

  • motivational and affective influences on cognition
  • cognitive control, episodic memory, and control-memory interactions
  • neuromodulatory influences on cognition (e.g., dopamine and norepinephrine)
  • temporal dynamics of emotion- and motivation-cognition interactions
  • exploration, memory, and cognition in naturalistic environments
  • role of individual differences

Current Research and Projects

Visit the MAC Lab website for information about current research and projects!


I am director of the DU Motivation, Affect, & Cognition (MAC) Lab, investigating the mechanisms by which motivation and affect influence human cognition and behavior. How we feel and what we want play a critical role in driving our thoughts, actions, and memories; our lab aims to characterize the psychological and neural processes that underlie these relationships.

With a specific focus on cognitive control -- flexible maintenance, updating, and inhibition functions enabling controlled performance -- and episodic memory -- detail-rich, long-term memory representations of specific events, we investigate the impact of motivational contexts on cognitive processes supporting adaptive human behavior.

The MAC Lab uses a combination of behavioral paradigms, psychophysiology (including facial EMG and pupillometry), functional neuroimaging (fMRI), and video analysis of behavior in naturalistic environments to investigate these effects.

Specific topics within our research program include:

  • how motivated cognitive control and learning might differ depending on goal state (for example, approach vs. avoidance)
  • how motivation might be comprised of dissociable components (i.e., affective experience and goal drive) making separate contributions to goal-directed behavior
  • motivated cognition in laboratory versus naturalistic environments
  • the role of timing and individual differences in modulating these relationships

This research has important implications for understanding motivation, affect and cognition in healthy individuals as well as in psychopathology, where these processes are often disrupted.


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Duke University
  • PhD, Washington University in St. Louis, 2013
  • MA, Washington University in St. Louis, 2009
  • BS, University of Toronto, 2005

Selected Publications

Chiew, K.S., Stanek, J.K., Adcock, R.A. (2016). Reward anticipation dynamics during cognitive control and episodic memory performance: implications for dopamine. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 10:555. doi: 10:3389/fnhum.2016.00555.

Chiew, K.S., Braver, T.S. (2016). Reward favours the prepared: incentive and informative cues interact to enhance attentional control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 42: 52-66

Chiew, K.S., Braver, T.S. (2013). Temporal dynamics of motivation-cognitive control interactions revealed by high-resolution pupillometry. Frontiers in Psychology.4:15. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00015.

Chiew, K.S., Braver, T.S. (2011). Positive affect versus reward: emotional and motivational influences on cognitive control. Frontiers in Psychology. 2:279. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00279

Chiew, K.S., Braver, T.S. (2011). Neural circuitry of emotional and cognitive conflict revealed through facial expressions. PLoS ONE 6(3): e17635. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017635.

Full publication list and PDFs available on my personal website here.