Eric Schumacher

Eric Schumacher

General Information


Associate Professor of Psychology

Research Area

Cognition and Brain Science


Ph.D. (1998) Psychology Cognitive Science &
Cognitive Neuroscience
University of Michigan

J S Coon building 224
Cog Neuro at Tech Research Lab


Whether we're driving a car, cooking dinner, performing a psychology experiment, or even watching television, we're performing goal-directed behavior. We must keep track of our current goal (e.g., to cook dinner), so that we do not execute responses inappropriate for the present situation (e.g., sitting down to watch television). Yet, we must also flexibly adapt our goals to changing situations. For example, we must override our "cooking" goal with an "answering" one when we hear the doorbell ring. My research focuses on the mental processes required to carry out these and other types of goal-directed behavior.

A complicated set of mental processes are involved in behaviors like these. In addition to maintaining and updating our goals, we must attend to relevant stimuli, store relevant information in memory, and select and execute appropriate responses. What is the nature of these processes? How do they interact? What are their limitations? How do they change with training? And what are the neural mechanisms underlying them? These are they types of questions I investigate using a variety of experimental techniques: including behavioral testing, functional neuroimaging, and magnetic stimulation.

Selected publications

  • Schumacher, E. H. & Schwarb, H. (2009). Parallel response selection disrupts sequence learning under dual task conditions. Accepted for publication. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138, 270-290.
  • Schwarb, H. & Schumacher, E. H. (2009). Neural evidence of a role for spatial response selection in the learning of spatial sequences. Brain Research, 1247, 114-125.
  • Seymour, T. S. & Schumacher, E. H. (2009). Electromyographic evidence for response conflict in the exclude recognition task. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 9, 71-82.
  • Schumacher, E. H., Jacko, J. A., Primo, S. A., Main, K. L., Moloney, K. P., Kinzel, E. N. & Ginn, J. (2008). Reorganization of visual processing is related to eccentric viewing in patients with macular degeneration, Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, 26, 391-402.