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Katie Insel

headshot I recently received my PhD in Psychology from Harvard University’s Cognition, Brain, and Behavior program. During graduate school, I worked in Professor Leah Somerville's Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab in the Department of Psychology and Center for Brain Science. My research examines how adolescent neurodevelopment shapes goal-directed behavior. To answer these questions, my research employs a combination of behavioral, computational, and neuroimaging methods.

I am particularly interested in identifying how individuals use incentives to motivate behavior and adjust cognitive effort, and how this ability changes with age during adolescence. Specifically, I investigate how maturing functional brain systems support the integration of motivation and cognition during learning and cognitive control. While most of my work focuses on normative development, I also examine whether adolescents with depression exhibit unique brain and behavioral profiles.

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow working with Professor Daphna Shohamy at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute. During my postdoctoral training, I am studying how the multiple brain systems that support learning and memory functionally mature during adolescence. In addition to conducting research, I am committed to scientific outreach, and I have worked with educators, legal scholars, and clinicians to help translate basic science to inform real world applications.