Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania


Current Projects

Metaphor Comprehension
Currently, we have several patient studies looking at metaphor comprehension, which involve reading a series of sentences and answering various questions.

Creativity Tasks
The aim of this study was to investigate a potential relationship between figurative language and creativity. In two sessions, participants read and rated either metaphoric or literal sentences, and then completed four creativity tasks.

Preference-Based Decision-Making
We are interested in what featural elements are involved in making preference-based comparisons of different aesthetic objects.

Action Representation
Our research on action representation investigates how the brain processes action words and images, using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Back to Top

Language and Space

The lab's research on language and space is concerned with a variety of concepts. Our primary interests lie in spatial and gestural representations in language, as well as in the processing of metaphoric and figurative language in patients and controls.

Language and Space


Özer, D., Tansan, M., Özer, E.E., Malykhina, K., Chatterjee, A., & Göksun, T. (2017). The effects of gesture restriction on spatial language in young and elderly adults. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1471-1476). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Karaduman, A., Göksun, T., & Chatterjee, A. (2017). Narratives of focal brain injured individuals: A macro-level analysis. Neuropsychologia, 99, 314-325. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.03.027

McQuire, M., McCollum, L., & Chatterjee, A. (2016). Aptness and beauty in metaphor. Language and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1017/langcog.2016.13

Jamrozic, A., McQuire, M., Cardillo, E., & Chatterjee, A. (2016). Metaphor: Bridging embodiment to abstraction. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Advance online publication. doi: 10.3758/s13423-015-0861-0

Nozari, N., Göksun T., Thompson-Schill, S.L., & Chatterjee, A. (2015). Phonological similarity affects production of gestures, even in the absence of overt speech. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1347. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01347

Göksun T., Lehet M., Malykhina K. & Chatterjee A. (2015). Spontaneous gesture and spatial language: evidence from focal brain injury. Brain & Language, 150, 1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2015.07.012

Ianni, G.R., Cardillo, E.R., McQuire, M. & Chatterjee, A. (2014). Flying under the radar: figurative language impairments in focal lesion patients. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(733), 1-25. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00733

Kranjec, A., Lupyan, G. & Chatterjee, A. (2014). Categorical biases in perceiving spatial relations. PLoS ONE, 9(5), 1-9.

Kranjec, A., Lehet, M. & Chatterjee, A. (2014). Pitch affects estimates of space but not vice versa. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the thirty-fifth annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society.

Göksun T., Lehet M., Malykhina K. & Chatterjee A. (2013). Naming and gesturing spatial relations: evidence from focal brain-injured individuals. Neuropsychologia, 51, 1518-1527. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.05.006. [Audioslides]

Amorapanth, P., Kranjec, A., Bromberger, B., Lehet, M., Widick, P., Woods, A.J., Kimberg, D.Y. & Chatterjee, A. (2012). Language, perception, and the schematic representation of spatial relations. Brain and Language, 120, 226-236. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2011.09.007.

Schmidt, G.L., Cardillo, E.R., Kranjec, A., Lehet, M., Widick, P. & Chatterjee, A. (2012). Not all analogies are created equal: associative and categorical analogy processing following brain damage. Neuropsychologia, 50, 1372-1379.

Cardillo, E. R., Watson, C. E., Schmidt, G. L., Kranjec, A. & Chatterjee, A. (2012). From novel to familiar: tuning the brain for metaphors. NeuroImage, 59, 3212-3221.

Watson, C. & Chatterjee, A. (2012). A bilateral frontoparietal network underlies visuospatial analogical reasoning. NeuroImage, 59, 2831-2838.

Kranjec, A. & Chatterjee, A. (2010). Are temporal concepts embodied? A challenge for cognitive neuroscience. Frontiers in Psychology, 1(240), 1-9. doi:10.3389

Wencil, E.B., Aguirre, G.K., Coslett, H.B. & Chatterjee, A. (2010). Carving the clock at its component joints: neural basis for interval timing. Journal of Neurophysiology, 104(1), 160-8.

Wencil, E.B., Radoeva, P. & Chatterjee, A. (2010). Size isn’t all that matters: noticing differences in size and temporal order. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 4(171), 1-10. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2010.00171

Cardillo, E., Schmidt, G., Kranjec, A. & Chatterjee, A. (2010). Stimulus design is an obstacle course: 560 matched literal and metaphorical sentences for testing neural hypotheses about metaphor. Behavior Research Methods, 42(3), 651-664. doi:10.3758 [Supplemental Materials]

Kranjec, A., Lehet, M., Bromberger, B. & Chatterjee, A. (2010). A Sinister Bias for Calling Fouls in Soccer. PLoS ONE, 5(7), 1-4. doi:10.1371

Chatterjee, A. (2010). Disembodying cognition. Language and Cognition, 2-1, 79-116.

Kranjec, A., Cardillo, E., Schmidt, G. & Chatterjee, A. (2010). Prescribed spatial prepositions influence how we think about time. Cognition, 114, 111-116. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2009.09.008

Amorapanth, P., Widick, P. & Chatterjee, A. (2009). The neural basis for spatial relations. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(8), 1739-1753.

Schmidt, G., Kranjec, A., Cardillo, E. & Chatterjee, A. (2009). Beyond laterality: a critical assessment of research on the neural basis of metaphor. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 1-5. doi:10.1017/S1355617709990543

Chen, E., Widick, P. & Chatterjee, A. (2008). Functional-anatomical organization of predicate metaphor processing. Brain & Language, 107, 194-202.

Chatterjee, A. (2008). The neural organization of spatial thought and language. Seminars in Speech and Language, 29, 226-238.

Wu, D., Waller, S. & Chatterjee, A. (2007). The functional neuroanatomy of thematic role and locative relational knowledge. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19(9), 1542-1555.

Gottfried, J.A., Sancar, F. & Chatterjee, A. (2003). Acquired mirror writing and reading: evidence for reflected graphemic representations. Neuropsychologia, 41, 96-107.

Chatterjee, A. (2001). Language and space: some interactions. Trends in Cognitive Science, 5, 55-61.

Back to Top

Event Representation

Our examination of event representation focuses on how humans visualize and process moving events and infer causality within these events, as well as focusing on the neural bases of processing action-based information in general.

Event Rep


Quandt, L.C., Cardillo, E.R., Kranjec, A. & Chatterjee, A. (2015). Fronto-temporal regions encode the manner of motion in spatial language. Neuroscience Letters, 609, 171-175. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2015.10.041.

Quandt, L.C. & Chatterjee, A. (2015). Rethinking actions: implementation and association. WIREs Cognitive Science. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1367.

Woods, A.J., Kranjec, A., Lehet, M. & Chatterjee, A. (2015). Expertise and decision-making in American football. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(994), 1-8. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00994.

Piedimonte, A., Woods, A.J. & Chatterjee, A. (2015). Disambiguating ambiguous motion perception: what are the cues?. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(902), 1-22. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00902.

Watson, C.E., Cardillo, E.R., Bromberger, B. & Chatterjee, A. (2014). The specificity of action knowledge in sensory and motor systems. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(494). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00494.

Watson, C.E., Cardillo, E.R., Ianni, G.R. & Chatterjee, A. (2013). Action concepts in the brain: an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25, 1191-1205. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00401.

Watson, C. & Chatterjee, A. (2011). The Functional Neuroanatomy of Actions. Neurology, 76, 1428-1434. doi: 10.1212

Wu, D., Morganti, A. & Chatterjee, A. (2008). Neural substrates of processing path and manner information of a moving event. Neuropsychologia, 46, 704-713.

Kable, J. & Chatterjee, A. (2006). Specificity of action representations in occipitotemporal cortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18(9), 1498-1517.

Kable, J., Kan, I.P., Wilson, A., Thompson-Schill, S.L. & Chatterjee, A. (2005). Conceptual representations of action in the lateral temporal cortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17(12), 1855-1870.

Kable, J., Lease-Spellmeyer, J. & Chatterjee, A. (2002). The neural substrate of action event knowledge. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 14, 785-794.

Chatterjee, A., Southwood, M.H. & Basilico, D. (1999). Verbs, events and spatial representations. Neuropsychologia, 37, 395-402.

Back to Top


Neuroaesthetics refers to the role of the brain in evaluating visual stimuli and their aesthetic appeal. Our research ranges from aesthetic choices of brain-injured individuals to aesthetic preferences in every day life (in architecture, art, and facial beauty).



Coburn, A., Vartanian, O., & Chatterjee, A. (2017). Buildings, Beauty, and the Brain: A Neuroscience of Architectual Experience. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience Advance online publication. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01146.

Chatterjee, A. (2017). Patrick Colm Hogan: Beauty and Sublimity: A Cognitive Aesthetics of Literature and the Arts. Cognitive Semiotics, 10(1), 41-47. doi: 10.1515/cogsem-2017-0003.

Chatterjee, A. & Vartanian, O. (2016). Neuroscience of aesthetics. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1369(1), 172–194. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13035.

Pearce, M.T., Zaidel, D.W., Vartanian, O., Skov, M., Leder, H., Chatterjee, A. & Nadal, M. (2015). Neuroaesthetics: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11(2), 265–279. doi: 10.1177/1745691615621274.

Pegors, T.K., Kable, J.W., Chatterjee, A. & Epstein, R.A. (2015). Common and unique representations in pFC for face and place attractiveness. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00777.

Vartanian, O., Navarrete, G., Chatterjee, A., Brorson Fich, L., Gonzalez-Mora, J.L., Leder, H., Modroño, C., Nadal, M., Rostrup, N., & Skov, M. (2015). Architectural design and the brain: Effects of ceiling height and perceived enclosure on beauty judgments and approach-avoidance decisions. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 41. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2014.11.006.

Graham, D., Schwarz, B., Chatterjee, A.C., Kircher, T. & Straube, B. (2014). Preference for luminance histogram regularities in natural scenes. Vision Research, 120, 11-21. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2015.03.018

Chatterjee, A. & Vartanian, O. (2014). Neuroaesthetics. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18(7), 370-375. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2014.03.003.

Chatterjee, A. (2014). Scientific aesthetics: three steps forward. British Journal of Psychology, 105, 465-467. doi: 10.1111/bjop.12086.

Chancellor, B., Duncan, A. & Chatterjee, A. (2014). Art therapy for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 34, 1-11. doi: 10.3233/JAD-131295.

Göksun, T., Kranjec, A., Chatterjee, A. (2014). The development of visual art preferences. Proceedings of the 23rd International Association of Empirical Aesthetics.

Vartanian, O., Navarrete, G., Chatterjee, A., Fich, L.B., Leder, H., Modroño, C., Nadal, M., Rostrup, N. & Skov, M. (2013). Impact of contour on aesthetic judgments and approach-avoidance decisions in architecture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(2), 1-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1301227110.

van Buren, B., Bromberger, B., Potts, D., Miller, B. & Chatterjee A. (2013). Changes in Painting Styles of Two Artists With Alzheimer's Disease. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 7(1), 89-94.

Chatterjee A. (2011). Where there be dragons: Finding the edges of neuroaesthetics. Aesthetics.

Chatterjee A. (2012). Neuroaesthetics: Growing pains of a new discipline. In A.P. Shimamura & S.E. Palmer (Eds.), Aesthetic Science: Connecting minds, brains, and experience (pp. 299-317). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Chatterjee, A., Widick, P., Sternschein, R., Smith, W. B. & Bromberger, B. (2010). The Assessment of Art Attributes. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 28(2), 207-222.

Chatterjee, A., Bromberger, B., Smith, W., Sternschein, R. & Widick, P. (2011). Artistic Production Following Brain Damage: A Study of Three Artists. Leonardo, 44(5), 405-410.

Chatterjee, A. (2011). Neuroaesthetics: A Coming of Age Story. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(1), 53-62.

Chatterjee, A., Thomas, A., Smith, S.E., & Aguirre, G.K. (2008). The Neural Response to Facial Attractiveness. Neuropsychology, 23, 135-143.

Chatterjee, A., Hamilton, R. H. & Amorapanth, P.X. (2006). Art produced by a patient with Parkinson's disease. Behavioural Neurology, 17, 105-108.

Chatterjee, A. (2006). The Neuropsychology of visual art: conferring capacity. International Review of Neurobiology, 74, 39-49.

Wilson A. & Chatterjee A. (2005). The assessment of preference for balance: introducing a new test. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 23(2), 165-180.

Chatterjee A. (2004). The neuropsychology of visual artistic expression. Neuropsychologia, 42, 1568-1583.

Chatterjee A. (2003). Prospects for a Cognitive Neuroscience of Visual Aesthetics. Bulletin of Psychology and the Arts, 4(2), 55-60.

Chatterjee A. (2002). Portrait profiles and the notion of agency. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 20, 33-41.

Assessment of Preference for Balance: A New Test

Assessment of Art Attributes: A New Test

Back to Top


Neuroethics focuses mainly on the ethical implications of neuroscientific progress, such as "cosmetic neurology," the use of drugs to enhance cognitive performance and ability.



Weisberg, S., Badgio, D., & Chatterjee, A. (2017). A CRISPR new world: attitudes in the public toward innovations in human genetic modification. Frontiers in Public Health, 5, 117. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2017.00117

Chatterjee, A. (2013). Drugs to build a better brain. Nature, 496, 431-432.

Chancellor, B. & Chatterjee, A. (2011). Brain branding: when neuroscience and commerce collide. AJOB Neuroscience 2(4), 18-27.

Hamilton, R., Messing, S. & Chatterjee, A. (2011). Rethinking the thinking cap. Neurology, 76, 187-193.

Chatterjee, A. (2009). Correspondence: a medical view of potential adverse effects. Nature, 457, 532-533.

Chatterjee, A. (2009). Head to head: is it acceptable for people to take methylphenidate to enhance performance? British Medical Journal, 338, 1532-1533.

Chatterjee, A. (2008). Framing pains, pills, and professors. Expositions, 2(2), 139-146.

Chatterjee, A. (2007). Cosmetic neurology and cosmetic surgery: parallels, predictions and challenges. Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 16, 129-137.

Chatterjee, A. (2006). The promise and predicament of cosmetic neurology. Journal of Medical Ethics, 32, 110-113.

Chatterjee, A. (2004). Cosmetic neurology: the controversy over enhancing movement, mentation, and mood. Neurology, 63, 968-974.

Back to Top


Cognitive neurology covers many different areas and we are interested in a number of these facets of brain and behavior. These topics include visuospatial attention, methodology in cognitive neuroscience, as well as some case study research.



Siegler, J.E., Kable J.W., & Chatterjee, A. (2016). Resident decision making: Opioids in the outpatient setting. Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 8(2), 138-141. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-15-00186.1

Wende, K.C., Nagels, A., Stratmann, M., Chatterjee, A., Kircher, T., & Straube, B. (2015). Neural basis of altered physical and social causality judgements in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2014.11.007

Vo, K., Rutledge, R.B., Chatterjee, A., & Kable, J.W. (2014). Dorsal striatum is necessary for stimulus-value but not action-value learning in humans. Brain: A Journal of Neurology, 1-7. doi: 10.1093/brain/awu277

Olson, I.R., Ezzyat, Y., Plotzker, A., & Chatterjee, A. (2014). The end point of the ventral visual stream: face and non-face perceptual deficits following unilateral anterior temporal lobe damage. Neurocase: The Neural Basis of Cognition, 1-9. doi: 10.1080/13554794.2014.959025

Göksun, T., Woods, A.J., Chatterjee, A., Zelonis, S., Glass, L. & Smith, S.E. (2013). Elementary school children's attentional biases in physical and numerical space. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 10, 433-448. doi: 10.1080/17405629.2012.692965.

Woods, A.J., Göksun, T., Chatterjee, A., Zelonis, S., Mehta, A. & Smith, S. The development of organized visual search. Acta Psychologica, 143, 191-199. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.03.008.

Smith, S.E. & Chatterjee, A. (2008). Visuospatial attention in children. Archives of Neurology, 65(10), 1284-1288.

Fellows, L., Stark, M., Berg, A. & Chatterjee, A. (2008). Patient registries in cognitive neuroscience research: advantages, challenges, and practical advice. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20(6), 1107-1113.

Chatterjee, A. (2005). A madness to the methods in cognitive neuroscience? Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17(6), 847-849.

Biran, I., Giovannetti, T., Buxbaum, L. & Chatterjee, A. (2006). The alien hand syndrome: What makes the alien hand alien? Cognitive Neuropsychology, 23(4), 563-582.

Snyder, J. & Chatterjee, A. (2006). The frontal cortex and exogenous attentional orienting. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18(11), 1913-1923.

Ricci, R., Genero, R., Colombatti, S., Zampieri, D. & Chatterjee, A. (2005). Visuomotor links in awareness: evidence from extinction. Neuroreport, 16(8), 843-847.

Snyder, J. & Chatterjee, A. (2004). Spatial-temporal anisometries following right parietal damage. Neuropsychologia, 42, 1703-1708.

Ricci, R. & Chatterjee, A. (2004). Sensory and response contributions to visual awareness in extinction. Experimental Brain Research, 157, 85-93.

Olson, E., Stark, M. & Chatterjee, A. (2003). Evidence for a unimodal somatosensory attention system. Experimental Brain Research, 151, 15-23.

Ricci, R. & Chatterjee, A. (2001). Context and crossover in unilateral neglect. Neuropsychologia, 39, 1138-1143.

Vaishnavi, S., Calhoun, J. & Chatterjee, A. (2001). Binding personal and peripersonal space: Evidence from tactile extinction. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 13, 181-189.

Chatterjee, A., Ricci, R. & Calhoun, J. (2000). Weighing the evidence for cross over in neglect. Neuropsychologia, 38, 1390-1397.

Back to Top


Neuroethics in Practice Neuroethics in Practice

Edited by Anjan Chatterjee, Martha J. Farah

Oxford University Press, 2013

Neuroethics is concerned with the wide array of ethical, legal and social issues that are raised in research and practice. The field has grown rapidly over the last five years, becoming an active interdisciplinary research area involving a much larger set of academic fields and professions, including law, developmental psychology, neuropsychiatry, and the military. Neuroethics in Practice helps to define and foster this emerging area at the intersection of neuroethics and clinical neuroscience, which includes neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry and their pediatric subspecialties, as well as neurorehabiliation, clinical neuropsychology, clinical bioethics, and the myriad other clinical specialties (including nursing and geriatrics) in which practitioners grapple with issues of mind and brain. Chatterjee and Farah have brought together leading neuroethicists working in clinically relevant areas to contribute chapters on an intellectually fascinating and clinically important set of neuroethical topics, involving brain enhancements, brain imaging, competence and responsibility, severe brain damage, and consequences of new neurotechnologies. Although this book will be of direct interest to clinicians, as the first edited volume to provide an overall comprehensive perspective on neuroethics across disciplines, it is also a unique and useful resource for a wide range of other scholars and students interested in ethics and neuroscience.

The Aesthetic Brain The Aesthetic Brain

By Anjan Chatterjee

Oxford University Press, 2013

The Aesthetic Brain takes the reader on a wide-ranging journey through the world of beauty, pleasure, and art. Chatterjee uses neuroscience to probe how an aesthetic sense is etched in our minds and evolutionary psychology to explain why aesthetic concerns feature centrally in our lives. Along the way, Chatterjee addresses fundamental questions: What is beauty? Is beauty universal? How is beauty related to pleasure? What is art? Should art be beautiful? Do we have an instinct for art? Chatterjee starts by probing the reasons that we find people, places, and even numbers beautiful. At the root of beauty, he finds, is pleasure. He then examines our pleasures by dissecting why we want and why we like food, sex, and money and how these rewards relate to aesthetic encounters. His ruminations on beauty and pleasure prepare him and the reader to face art. He wanders through the problems of defining art, understanding contemporary art, and interpreting ancient art. He explores why art, something that seems so useless, also feels fundamental to our humanity. Replete with facts, anecdotes, and analogies, this empirical guide to aesthetics offers scientific answers without deflating the wonders of beauty and art.

Roots of Cognitive Neuroscience The Roots of Cognitive Neuroscience: Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychology

Edited by Anjan Chatterjee, H. Branch Coslett

Oxford University Press, 2013

The Roots of Cognitive Neuroscience takes a close look at what we can learn about our minds from how brain damage impairs our cognitive and emotional systems. This approach has a long and rich tradition dating back to the 19th century. With the rise of new technologies, such as functional neuroimaging and non-invasive brain stimulation, interest in mind-brain connections among scientists and the lay public has grown exponentially. Behavioral neurology and neuropsychology offer critical insights into the neuronal implementation of large-scale cognitive and affective systems. The book starts out by making a strong case for the role of single case studies as a way to generate new hypotheses and advance the field. This chapter is followed by a review of work done before the First World War demonstrating that the theoretical issues that investigators faced then remain fundamentally relevant to contemporary cognitive neuroscientists. The rest of the book covers central topics in cognitive neuroscience including the nature of memory, language, perception, attention, motor control, body representations, the self, emotions, and pharmacology. There are chapters on modeling and neuronal plasticity as well as on visual art and creativity. Each of these chapters take pains to clarify how this research strategy informs our understanding of these large scale systems by scrutinizing the systematic nature of their breakdown. Taken together, the chapters show that the roots of cognitive neuroscience, behavioral neurology and neuropsychology, continue to ground our understanding of the biology of mind and are as important today as they were 150 years ago.

Back to Top