Erika Nyhus

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology

(on leave for fall 2017 semester)

I study the neural processes involved in higher-level cognition, including executive functioning and episodic memory. Specifically, my research has examined (1) the neural processes supporting executive functions, (2) the neural processes supporting episodic retrieval, and (3) how neural processes interact for top-down control of episodic retrieval. My research has addressed these topics through behavioral and neuroimaging (electroencephalography (EEG), event-related potential (ERP), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)) methods. This research has shown how multiple brain systems process information and interact to perform rich cognitive abilities.


  • B.A. Psychology and Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley, 2003
  • M.A. Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2006
  • Ph.D. Cognitive Scienc,Neuroscience, and Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2010
  • Post-doctoral education, Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences, Brown University, 2010-2013

PDF Curriculum Vitae

Nyhus Lab

Professor Nyhus' Lab

Memory retrieval network identified with fMRI.
hits - cr lateral

The Nyhus Lab is focused on human executive function and memory.  We approach these topics from a cognitive neuroscience perspective with the goals of understanding the characteristics of mental processes and how they are realized within the brain.  Currently, students in my lab are using brain electrical activity (ERPs) to study the brain processes that underlie attention and memory.  These studies show how attention modulation affects later memory.  In addition, we are interested in how neural oscillations provide a mechanism for interaction among brain regions during memory retrieval.  The lab regularly uses EEG along with behavioral paradigms to examine the moment by moment neural dynamics involved in human learning and memory. 

Lab News 

Our research has been highlighted in the Bowdoin News and in the Coastal Journal.

Gibbons fellows, including lab members Helen Wieffering, Eric Mercado, and Jessica Solis, were also highlighted in the Bowdoin News.


Medrano, P., Nyhus, E., Smolen, A., Curran, T., Ross, R. (in press). Individual differences in EEG correlates of recognition memory due to DAT polymorphisms. Brain and Behavior.

Nyhus, E. (in press)Brain networks related to beta oscillatory activity during episodic memory retrieval. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Nyhus, E., Curtis, N. (2016). Incorporating an ERP project into undergraduate instruction. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 14(2), A91-A96.

Ross, R. , Medrano, P., Boyle, K., Smolen, A., Curran, T., Nyhus, E. (2015). Genetic variation in the serotonin transporter gene influences the ERP old/new effect during recognition memory. Neuropsychologia, 78, 95-107.

Nyhus, E. & Badre, D. (2015). Memory retrieval and the functional organization of frontal cortex. In D.R. Addis, M. Barense, A. Duarte (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory (pp. 131-149). West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Frank, M. J., Gagne, C., Nyhus, E., Masters, S., Wiecki, T.V., Cavanagh, J., & Badre, D. (2015). EEG and fMRI correlates of dynamic decision parameters during reinforcement learningJournal of Neuroscience, 35(2), 485-494.

Depue, B.E., Ketz, N., Mollison, M.V., Nyhus, E.,  Banich, M.T., & Curran, T. (2013). ERPs and neural oscillations during volitional suppression of memory retrievalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25, 1624-1633.

Nyhus, E. & Curran, T. (2012). Midazolam induced amnesia reduces memory for details and affects the ERP correlates of recollection and familiarity. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24, 416-427.

Snyder, H. R., Hutchison, N., Nyhus, E., Curran, T., Banich, M. T., O’Reilly, R. C., & Munakata, Y. (2010). Neural inhibition enables selection during language processing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, 16483–16488.

Nyhus, E. & Curran, T. (2010). Functional role of gamma and theta oscillations in episodic memory. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 34, 1023-1035.

Nyhus, E. & Curran, T. (2009). Semantic and perceptual effects on recognition memory: Evidence from ERP. Brain Research, 1283, 102-114.

Nyhus, E. & Barceló, F. (2009). The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test and the cognitive assessment of prefrontal function. Brain and Cognition, 71, 437-451.

Norman, K. A., Tepe, K., Nyhus, E., & Curran, T. (2008). Event-related potential correlates of interference effects on recognition memoryPsychonomic Bulletin and Review, 15(1), 36-43.

Barceló, F., Periañez, J., Nyhus, E. (2008). An information theoretical approach to task-switching: Evidence from cognitive brain potentials in humansFrontiers in Human Neuroscience, 1(1).

Erika's other interests

Professor Nyhus and family at the beach.When I am not in the lab or in front of my computer analyzing neural oscillations, I spend my time playing with my baby, going to yoga, and enjoying the Maine outdoors. Depending on the season, on the weekends I am at the Farmers' Market, skiing, hiking, or camping with my family. I also love to travel and spent a year living in Spain prior to graduate school and walked the Camino de Santiago.