Marty G. Woldorff, PhD, BA


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Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Professor in Neurobiology
Department / Division:
Psychiatry / Translational Neuroscience
Ctr. for Cog. Neuroscience
Durham, NC 27708-0999
Office Telephone:
(919) 681-0604
  • PhD, University of California at San Diego, 1989
  • BA, University of California at Berkeley, 1978
Research Interests:
Dr. Woldorff's main research interest is in the cognitive neuroscience of attention. At each and every moment of our lives, we are bombarded by a welter of sensory information coming at us from a myriad of directions and through our various sensory modalities -- much more than we can fully process. We must continuously select and extract the most important information from this welter of sensory inputs. How the human brain accomplishes this is one of the core challenges of modern cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Woldorff uses a combination of electrophysiological (ERP, MEG) and functional neuroimaging (fMRI) methods to study the time course, functional neuroanatomy, and mechanisms of attentional processes. This multimethodological approach is directed along several main lines of research: (1) The influence of attention on sensory and perceptual processing; (2) Cognitive and attentional control mechanisms; (3) The role of attention in multisensory environments; (4) The interactive relationship between attention and reward; and (5) The role of attention in perceptual awareness.
Representative Publications:
  • Krebs, RM; Boehler, CN; Roberts, KC; Song, AW; Woldorff, MG. The involvement of the dopaminergic midbrain and cortico-striatal-thalamic circuits in the integration of reward prospect and attentional task demands. Cerebral Cortex. 2012;22:607-615.  Abstract
  • Appelbaum, LG; Smith, DV; Boehler, CN; Chen, WD; Woldorff, MG. Rapid modulation of sensory processing induced by stimulus conflict. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2011;23:2620-2628.  Abstract
  • Boehler, CN; Bunzeck, N; Krebs, RM; Noesselt, T; Schoenfeld, MA; Heinze, HJ; Münte, TF; Woldorff, MG; Hopf, JM. Substantia nigra activity level predicts trial-to-trial adjustments in cognitive control. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2011;23:362-373.  Abstract
  • Donohue, SE; Roberts, KC; Grent-'t-Jong, T; Woldorff, MG. The cross-modal spread of attention reveals differential constraints for the temporal and spatial linking of visual and auditory stimulus events. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2011;31:7982-7990.  Abstract
  • Grent-'t-Jong, T; Boehler, CN; Kenemans, JL; Woldorff, MG. Differential functional roles of slow-wave and oscillatory-¿ activity in visual sensory cortex during anticipatory visual-spatial attention. Cerebral Cortex. 2011;21:2204-2216.  Abstract
  • Harris, JA; Wu, CT; Woldorff, MG. Sandwich masking eliminates both visual awareness of faces and face-specific brain activity through a feedforward mechanism. Journal of vision. 2011;11.  Abstract
  • Krebs, RM; Boehler, CN; Egner, T; Woldorff, MG. The neural underpinnings of how reward associations can both guide and misguide attention. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2011;31:9752-9759.  Abstract
  • Boehler, CN; Appelbaum, LG; Krebs, RM; Hopf, JM; Woldorff, MG. Pinning down response inhibition in the brain--conjunction analyses of the Stop-signal task. NeuroImage. 2010;52:1621-1632.  Abstract
  • Krebs, RM; Boehler, CN; Woldorff, MG. The influence of reward associations on conflict processing in the Stroop task. Cognition. 2010;117:341-347.  Abstract
  • Talsma, D; Senkowski, D; Soto-Faraco, S; Woldorff, MG. The multifaceted interplay between attention and multisensory integration. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 2010;14:400-410.  Abstract
  • Zimmer, U; Itthipanyanan, S; Grent-'t-Jong, T; Woldorff, MG. The electrophysiological time course of the interaction of stimulus conflict and the multisensory spread of attention. European Journal of Neuroscience. 2010;31:1744-1754.  Abstract
  • Appelbaum, LG; Meyerhoff, KL; Woldorff, MG. Priming and backward influences in the human brain: processing interactions during the stroop interference effect. Cerebral Cortex. 2009;19:2508-2521.  Abstract
  • Talsma, D; Senkowski, D; Woldorff, MG. Intermodal attention affects the processing of the temporal alignment of audiovisual stimuli. Experimental Brain Research. 2009;198:313-328.  Abstract
  • Weissman, DH; Warner, LM; Woldorff, MG. Momentary reductions of attention permit greater processing of irrelevant stimuli. NeuroImage. 2009;48:609-615.  Abstract
  • Grent-'t-Jong, T; Woldorff, MG. Timing and sequence of brain activity in top-down control of visual-spatial attention. PLoS biology. 2007;5:e12.  Abstract
  • Slagter, HA; Giesbrecht, B; Kok, A; Weissman, DH; Kenemans, JL; Woldorff, MG; Mangun, GR. fMRI evidence for both generalized and specialized components of attentional control. Brain Research. 2007;1177:90-102.  Abstract
  • Talsma, D; Doty, TJ; Woldorff, MG. Selective attention and audiovisual integration: is attending to both modalities a prerequisite for early integration?. Cerebral Cortex. 2007;17:679-690.  Abstract
  • Wu, CT; Weissman, DH; Roberts, KC; Woldorff, MG. The neural circuitry underlying the executive control of auditory spatial attention. Brain Research. 2007;1134:187-198.  Abstract
  • Slagter, HA; Weissman, DH; Giesbrecht, B; Kenemans, JL; Mangun, GR; Kok, A; Woldorff, MG. Brain regions activated by endogenous preparatory set shifting as revealed by fMRI. Cognitive, Affective, & Behaviorial Neuroscience. 2006;6:175-189.  Abstract
  • Weissman, DH; Roberts, KC; Visscher, KM; Woldorff, MG. The neural bases of momentary lapses in attention. Nature Neuroscience. 2006;9:971-978.  Abstract
  • Busse, L; Roberts, KC; Crist, RE; Weissman, DH; Woldorff, MG. The spread of attention across modalities and space in a multisensory object. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. 2005;102:18751-18756.  Abstract
  • Talsma, D; Woldorff, MG. Selective attention and multisensory integration: multiple phases of effects on the evoked brain activity. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2005;17:1098-1114.  Abstract
  • Weissman, DH; Gopalakrishnan, A; Hazlett, CJ; Woldorff, MG. Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex resolves conflict from distracting stimuli by boosting attention toward relevant events. Cerebral Cortex. 2005;15:229-237.  Abstract
  • Weissman, DH; Warner, LM; Woldorff, MG. The neural mechanisms for minimizing cross-modal distraction. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2004;24:10941-10949.  Abstract
  • Woldorff, MG; Hazlett, CJ; Fichtenholtz, HM; Weissman, DH; Dale, AM; Song, AW. Functional parcellation of attentional control regions of the brain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2004;16:149-165.  Abstract
  • Weissman, DH; Giesbrecht, B; Song, AW; Mangun, GR; Woldorff, MG. Conflict monitoring in the human anterior cingulate cortex during selective attention to global and local object features. NeuroImage. 2003;19:1361-1368.  Abstract
  • Noesselt, T; Hillyard, SA; Woldorff, MG; Schoenfeld, A; Hagner, T; Jäncke, L; Tempelmann, C; Hinrichs, H; Heinze, HJ. Delayed striate cortical activation during spatial attention. Neuron. 2002;35:575-587.  Abstract
  • Woldorff, MG; Liotti, M; Seabolt, M; Busse, L; Lancaster, JL; Fox, PT. The temporal dynamics of the effects in occipital cortex of visual-spatial selective attention. Cognitive Brain Research. 2002;15:1-15.  Abstract
  • Hasnain, MK; Fox, PT; Woldorff, MG. Structure--function spatial covariance in the human visual cortex. Cerebral Cortex. 2001;11:702-716.  Abstract
  • Lancaster, JL; Woldorff, MG; Parsons, LM; Liotti, M; Freitas, CS; Rainey, L; Kochunov, PV; Nickerson, D; Mikiten, SA; Fox, PT. Automated Talairach atlas labels for functional brain mapping. Human Brain Mapping. 2000;10:120-131.  Abstract
  • Baumgart, F; Gaschler-Markefski, B; Woldorff, MG; Heinze, HJ; Scheich, H. A movement-sensitive area in auditory cortex. Nature. 1999;400:724-726.  Abstract
  • Woldorff, MG; Matzke, M; Zamarripa, F; Fox, PT. Hemodynamic and electrophysiological study of the role of the anterior cingulate in target-related processing and selection for action. Human Brain Mapping. 1999;8:121-127.  Abstract
  • Woldorff, MG; Tempelmann, C; Fell, J; Tegeler, C; Gaschler-Markefski, B; Hinrichs, H; Heinz, HJ; Scheich, H. Lateralized auditory spatial perception and the contralaterality of cortical processing as studied with functional magnetic resonance imaging and magnetoencephalography. Human Brain Mapping. 1999;7:49-66.  Abstract
  • Burock, MA; Buckner, RL; Woldorff, MG; Rosen, BR; Dale, AM. Randomized event-related experimental designs allow for extremely rapid presentation rates using functional MRI. NeuroReport. 1998;9:3735-3739.  Abstract
  • Hasnain, MK; Fox, PT; Woldorff, MG. Intersubject variability of functional areas in the human visual cortex. Human Brain Mapping. 1998;6:301-315.  Abstract
  • Woldorff, MG; Hillyard, SA; Gallen, CC; Hampson, SR; Bloom, FE. Magnetoencephalographic recordings demonstrate attentional modulation of mismatch-related neural activity in human auditory cortex. Psychophysiology. 1998;35:283-292.  Abstract
  • Woldorff, MG; Fox, PT; Matzke, M; Lancaster, JL; Veeraswamy, S; Zamarripa, F; Seabolt, M; Glass, T; Gao, JH; Martin, CC; Jerabek, P. Retinotopic organization of early visual spatial attention effects as revealed by PET and ERPs. Human Brain Mapping. 1997;5:280-286.  Abstract
  • Woldorff, MG. Distortion of ERP averages due to overlap from temporally adjacent ERPs: analysis and correction. Psychophysiology. 1993;30:98-119.  Abstract
  • Woldorff, MG; Gallen, CC; Hampson, SA; Hillyard, SA; Pantev, C; Sobel, D; Bloom, FE. Modulation of early sensory processing in human auditory cortex during auditory selective attention. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. 1993;90:8722-8726.  Abstract
  • Woldorff, MG; Hackley, SA; Hillyard, SA. The effects of channel-selective attention on the mismatch negativity wave elicited by deviant tones. Psychophysiology. 1991;28:30-42.  Abstract
  • Woldorff, MG; Hillyard, SA. Modulation of early auditory processing during selective listening to rapidly presented tones. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology. 1991;79:170-191.  Abstract