Cameron Carter, M.D.

Headshot of Cameron Carter, PhD

Position Title

Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology


Neural Mechanisms of Attention and Memory, Pathophysiology of Cognitive Disorders, Neural Imaging

Research Summary

The work in our laboratory focuses on neural mechanisms of attention and memory, and on the pathophysiological processes underlying clinical disorders that involve these cognitive systems. Our research integrates behavioral, computational, and functional neuroimaging (fMRI, PET, ERP). We are particularly interested in the relative contribution of the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate to executive processes and the interaction of this circuitry with related brain regions involved in motivation, learning and memory.

A second avenue of research focuses on the pathophysiology of disturbances in cognition in mental disorders such as schizophrenia and OCD, with the goal of developing more effective therapies which can improve patients' chances of rehabilitation. We are also involved in the development of new treatments for cognitive disability in schizophrenia and other brain disorders. A key element of the philosophy of the lab is that good clinical research can only proceed if it is being constantly informed by ongoing theoretical and methodological progress in basic cognitive neuroscience, and that the experiments of nature provided by clinical brain disorders may provide us with powerful additional insights into the neural basis of normal cognition.

Select Publications

Swaab T, Boudewyn M, Long D, Luck S, Kring A, Ragland JD, Ranganath C, Lesh TA, Niendam TA, Solomon M, Mangun GR, Carter CS (2013). Spared and Impaired Spoken Discourse Processing in Schizophrenia: Effects of Local and Global Language Context. Journal of Neuroscience. (In Press).

Solomon M, Yoon JH, Niendam TA, Ragland JD, Lesh TA, Fairbrother W, Carter CS (2013). The development of the neural substrates of cognitive control in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Biological Psychiatry. (In Press).

Salo R, Fassbender C, Iosif AM, Ursu S, Leamon MH, Carter CS (2013). Predictors of methamphetamine psychosis: History of ADHD-relevant childhood behaviors and drug exposure. Psychiatry Research. (Epub ahead of print) pdf

Yoon JH, Minzenberg MJ, Raouf S, D'Esposito, Carter CS (2013). Impaired prefrontal-Basal Ganglia functional connectivity and substantial nigra hyperactivity in schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry 74(2):122-9. pdf

Niendam TA, Laird AR, Ray KL, Dean YM, Glahn DC, Carter CS (2012). Meta-analytic evidence for a superordinate cognitive control network subserving diverse executive functions. Cognitive Affective Behavior in Neuroscience 12(2):241-68 pdf

Minzenberg MJ, Carter CS (2012). Developing treatments for impaired cognition in schizophrenia. Trends in Cognitive Science 16:35-42. pdf

Henderson D, Poppe AB, Barch DM, Carter CS, Gold JM, Ragland JD, Silverstein SM, Strauss ME, MacDonald AW 3rd (2012). Optimization of a goal maintenance task for use in clinical applications. Schizophrenia Bulletin 38:104-113. pdf

Ragland JD, Ranganath C, Barch DM, , Gold JM, Haley B, MacDonald AW 3rd, Silverstein SM, Strauss ME, Yonelinas AP, Carter CS (2012). Relational and item-specific encoding (RISE): Task development and psychometric characteristics. Schizophrenia Bulletin 38:114-124. pdf

Ragland JD, Blumenfeld RS, Ramsay IS, Yonelinas A, Yoon J, Solomon M, Carter CS, Ranganath C (2012). Neural correlates of relational and item-specific encoding during working and long-term memory in schizophrenia. NeuroImage 59:1712-1726.pdf

Carter CS, Minzenberg M, West R, MacDonald A 3rd (2012). CNTRICS imaging biomarker selections: Executive control paradigms. Schizophrenia Bulletin 38:34-42. pdf

Solomon M, Frank MJ, Smith A, Ly S, Carter CS (2011). Transitive inference in adults with autism spectrum disorders. Cognitive Affective Behavioral Neuroscience 11(3):437-439. pdf

Carter CS, Barch DM; CNTRICS Executive Committee (2012). Imaging biomarkers for treatment development for impaired cognition: report of the sixth CNTRICS meeting: Biomarkers recommended for further development. Schizophrenia Bulletin 38:26-33. pdf

Carter CS, Barch DM, Bullmore J, Buchanan RW, Butler P, Cohen JD, Geyer M, Gollub R, Green MF, Jaeger J, Krystal JH, Moore H, Nuechterlein K, Robbins T, Silverstein S, Smith EE, Strauss M, Wykes T (2011). Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia II: Developing imaging biomarkers to enhance treatment development for schizophrenia and related disorders. Biological Psychiatry 70:7-12. pdf

Fornito A, Yoon J, Zalesky A, Bullmore ET, Carter CS (2011). General and specific functional connectivity disturbances in first-episode schizophrenia during cognitive control performance. Biological Psychiatry 70:64-72. pdf

Ursu S, Kring AM, Gard M. Minzenberg MJ, Yoon JH, Ragland JD, Solomon M, Carter CS (2011). Prefrontal cortical deficits and impaired cognition-emotion interactions in schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry 168:276-285. pdf

Mayda AB, Westphal A, Carter CS, Decarli C (2011). Late life cognitive control deficits are accentuated by white matter disease burden. Brain 134:1673-1683. pdf

Walsh BJ, Buonocore MH, Carter CS, Mangun GR. (2011) Integrating conflict detection and attentional control mechanisms. J Cognitive Neuroscience, 23:2211-2221. pdf

Krug MK and Carter CS (2010). Adding fear to conflict: a general purpose cognitive control network is modulated by trait anxiety. Cognitive Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience 10:357-71. pdf

Van Veen V, Krug M, Schooler J, Carter CS. (2009) Neural activity predicts attitude change in cognitive dissonance. Nature Neuroscience. 2009 Nov;12(11):1469-74. pdf

Minzenberg MJ, Laird AR, Thelen S, Carter CS, Glahn DC (2009). Meta-analysis of 41 functional neuroimaging studies of executive function reveals dysfunction in a general-purpose cognitive control system in schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry Aug;66(8):811-22. pdf

Minzenberg MJ, Watrous AJ, Yoon JH, Ursu S, Carter CS (2008). Modafinil shifts human locus coeruleus to low-tonic, high phasic activity during functional MRI. Science 322(4908):1700-1702. pdf


Director, Imaging Research Center

Director, Behavioral Health Center of Excellence

UC Davis Health Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences