Jessica Andrews-Hanna

Jessica Andrews-Hanna's picture
Associate Professor, Cognition and Neural Systems
Associate Professor, Cognitive Science Program

PhD in Psychology, Harvard University
MA in Neuroscience, Washington University in St. Louis
BS is Biology, Duke University
BS in Psychology, Duke University
Graduated with Distinction

(520) 626-3004 / (520) 626-3791 (Lab)
Psychology 417 / Psychology 419 & 421 (Lab)
Research Interests: 
  • Internally-guided processes spanning self-referential thinking, memory, future thinking, emotion, and mentalizing
  • Mind-wandering, imagination and creativity
  • Neural underpinnings of internally-guided cognition & resting state connectivity
  • Changes in internally-guided cognition across the lifespan 
  • Dysfunctional thoughts in mental health disorders (i.e. depression & anxiety)

The research conducted in the Neuroscience of Emotion and Thought (NET) Lab, directed by Dr. Jessica Andrews-Hanna, is centered on understanding the mysteries of our inner mental lives – the thoughts, memories,  feelings and emotions that make us unique as individuals.  An ultimate goal of our lab is to help individuals harness the beneficial aspects of internally-guided cognition and live happier, healthier lives.  We explore the following questions across levels of brain and behavior, drawing on techniques including functional MRI, psychophysiology, and mobile experience sampling in daily life:

1) What are the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying spontaneous and deliberate internally-guided cognition? 

2) What are the factors that determine whether internal thoughts can be helpful versus unhelpful?  

2) How are internally-guided processes regulated by top-down control mechanisms, and what is the role of executive function in mind-wandering?  

3) How do internally-guided processes develop throughout adolescence and change into old age?

4) How do internally-guided processes become dysfunctional in mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety?

5) Can we improve the quality of our internally-guided thoughts with interventions such as mindfulness meditation or exercise?  

Selected Publications: 

Christoff, K., Irving, Z. C., Fox, K. C. R., Spreng, R. N., & Andrews-Hanna, J. R. (2016). Mind-wandering as spontaneous thought: a dynamic framework. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Sep 22. do. doi:10.1038/nrn.2016.113

Zabelina, D. L., & Andrews-Hanna, J. R. (2016). Dynamic network interactions supporting internally-oriented cognition. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 40, 86–93.

Andrews-Hanna, J. R., Smallwood, J., & Spreng, R. N. (2014). The default network and self-generated thought: component processes, dynamic control, and clinical relevance. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1316, 29–52.

Andrews-Hanna, J. R., Saxe, R., & Yarkoni, T. (2014). Contributions of episodic retrieval and mentalizing to autobiographical thought: Evidence from functional neuroimaging, resting-state connectivity, and fMRI meta-analyses. NeuroImage, 91C, 324–335.

Andrews-Hanna, J. R., Reidler, J. S., Huang, C., Randy, L., & Buckner, R. L. (2010). Evidence for the default network’s role in spontaneous cognition. Journal of Neurophysiology, 104, 322–335.

Andrews-Hanna, J. R., Reidler, J. S., Sepulcre, J., Poulin, R., & Buckner, R. L. (2010). Functional-anatomic fractionation of the brain’s default network. Neuron, 65, 550–62.

Andrews-Hanna, J. R., Snyder, A. Z., Vincent, J. L., Lustig, C., Head, D., Raichle, M. E., & Buckner, R. L. (2007). Disruption of large-scale brain systems in advanced aging. Neuron, 56, 924–35.

Research Program: