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Lab web site

Marc Coutanche

Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology

Research Scientist, Learning Research & Development Center

Research Interests

My lab has two core areas of research. First, we draw on the methods of cognitive neuroscience to understand how the human brain learns and stores knowledge, and how new knowledge influences other cognitive systems. One of the lab's main approaches is to combine neuroimaging experiments with advanced computational techniques. These analysis approaches can help us identify and -just as importantly- understand how information is being represented in the complex activity patterns of human cortex. Another key approach is using behavioral investigations to research how new knowledge becomes integrated into our memory systems.

A second focus is the development and use of new analytical approaches to probe functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. One of the biggest challenges of the recent growth in 'big data' is identifying meaningful patterns from the immense amount of data that is available to us. We are working on approaches to understand how the information in the brain's networks is successfully integrated across different regions and brain systems.

Coutanche, M.N., Solomon, S.H., & Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2016). A meta-analysis of fMRI decoding: Quantifying influences on human visual population codes. Neuropsychologia, 82, 134-141.

Coutanche, M.N. and Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2015). Rapid consolidation of new knowledge in adulthood via fast mapping. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19(9), 486-488

Coutanche, M.N. and Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2015). Creating concepts from converging features in human cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 25(9), 2584-2593.

Coutanche, M.N. and Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2014). Fast mapping rapidly integrates information into existing memory networks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(6), 2296-2303

Coutanche, M.N. and Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2014). Using informational connectivity to measure the synchronous emergence of fMRI multi-voxel information across time. Journal of Visualized Experiments (89), e51226

Coutanche, M.N. and Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2014). Creating concepts from converging features in human cortex. Cerebral Cortex

Coutanche, M.N. and Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2013). Informational Connectivity: Identifying synchronized discriminability of multi-voxel patterns across the brain. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7:15, 1-14

Coutanche, M.N. Gianessi, C.A., Chanales, A.J.H., Willison, K.W., and Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2013). The role of sleep in forming a memory representation of a two-dimensional space. Hippocampus, 23(12), 1189-1197

Coutanche, M. N. (2013). Distinguishing multi-voxel patterns and mean activation: Why, how, and what does it tell us? Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience (CABN), 13(3), 667-673

Casey, J.P., Magalhaes, T., Conroy, J.M., Regan, R., Shah, N., Anney, R., Shields, D.C., et al. (2012). A novel approach of homozygous haplotype sharing identifies candidate genes in autism spectrum disorder. Human Genetics, 131(4), 565–579.

Kylliäinen, A., Wallace, S., Coutanche, M.N., Leppänen, J.M., Cusack, J., Bailey, A.J., and Hietanen, J. (2012). Affective-motivational brain responses to direct gaze in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines,53(7), 790-797

Coutanche, M.N. and Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2012). Reversal without remapping: What we can (and cannot) conclude about learned associations from training-induced behavior changes. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(2), 118-134

Coutanche, M.N. and Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2012). The advantage of brief fMRI acquisition runs for multi-voxel pattern detection across runs. NeuroImage, 61(4), 1113-1119

Coutanche, M.N. Thompson-Schill, S.L., and Schultz, R.T. (2011). Multi-voxel pattern analysis of fMRI data predicts clinical symptom severity. NeuroImage, 57(1), 113-123

Marc Coutanche, LRDC Research Scientist, has been selected as an awardee for the 2016 Pitt Research Council Central Research Development Fund (CRDF) for his project "Individual Differences in the Memory Systems Employed in Learning and Retrieval.”

July 11, 2016

Marc Coutanche, LRDC Research Scientist, was quoted in the July 6 Pittsburgh City Paper article “We Go Inside the Escape-Room Phenomenon,” on the role of stress in figuring out puzzles.

July 6, 2016


LRDC Research Scientist Marc Coutanche was quoted in the March 26 Today article “How Unconscious Memory Trips Us Up."

March 26, 2016


LRDC Research Scientist Marc Coutanche commented on a memory study for NBC Today (December 30, 2015), “What is your memory style? Brain wiring may control how we remember events.”

January 2016


Marc Coutanche has been awarded the 2015 Krieg Cortical Kudos Scholar award from the Cajal Club. The award will be presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting.


Krieg Cortical Kudos Scholar Award


Cajal Club

NIH Postdoctoral National Research Service Award (top percentile)


Elected Fellow of the Psychonomic Society


American Psychological Foundation F.J. McGuigan Dissertation Award


Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Student Research Fellowship


Ruth Roemer Award for "outstanding contributions to the University of Pennsylvania psychology community"