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David Joseph Madden

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine & Neurosciences
Box 3918, Durham, NC 27710
40 Duke Medicine Circle, Room 414, Durham, NC 27710


My research focuses primarily on the cognitive neuroscience of aging: the investigation of age-related changes in perception, attention, and memory, using both behavioral measures and neuroimaging techniques, including positron emission tomography (PET), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).

The behavioral measures have focused on reaction time, with the goal of distinguishing age-related changes in specific cognitive abilities from more general effects arising from a slowing in elementary perceptual processes. The cognitive abilities of interest include selective attention as measured in visual search tasks, semantic and episodic memory retrieval, and executive control processes.

The behavioral measures are necessary to define the cognitive abilities of interest, and the neuroimaging techniques help define the functional neuroanatomy of those abilities. The PET and fMRI measures provide information regarding neural activity during cognitive performance. DTI is a recently developed technique that images the structural integrity of white matter. The white matter tracts of the brain provide critical pathways linking the gray matter regions, and thus this work will complement the studies using PET and fMRI that focus on gray matter activation.

A current focus of the research program is the functional connectivity among regions, not only during cognitive task performance but also during rest. These latter measures, referred to as intrinsic functional connectivity, are beginning to show promise as an index of overall brain functional efficiency, which can be assessed without the implementation of a specific cognitive task. From DTI, information can be obtained regarding how anatomical connectivity constrains intrinsic functional connectivity. It will be important to determine the relative influence of white matter pathway integrity, intrinsic functional connectivity, and task-related functional connectivity, as mediators of age-related differences in behavioral measures of cognitive performance.

Ultimately, the research program can help link age-related changes in cognitive performance to changes in the structure and function of specific neural systems. The results also have implications for clinical translation, in terms of the identification of neural biomarkers for the diagnosis of neural pathology and targeting rehabilitation procedures.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences · 2021 - Present Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine & Neurosciences, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Chair of the Scientific Review Committee in the Center for Brain Imaging and Analysis · 2013 - Present Duke-UNC Center for Brain Imaging and Analysis, Institutes and Centers
Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience · 2013 - Present Psychology & Neuroscience, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience · 2009 - Present Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences · 2011 - Present Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, University Institutes and Centers

Education, Training & Certifications

University of California, Davis · 1977 Ph.D.