Education & Research Experience

2004 – 2011: Postdoctoral research fellow in mathematical and behavioral psychology, neuroimaging and computational neuroscience, Princeton University.

Advisors: Prof. Jonathan D. Cohen, Department of Psychology, and co-director, Princeton Neuroscience Institute; and Prof. Philip Holmes, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics.

2001 – 2004: Ph.D. in Computer Science & Engineering, University of Michigan.

Advisor: Assoc. Prof. Thad Polk, Department of Psychology, jointly appointed in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

1997 – 2001: Masters in Computer Science & Engineering, University of Michigan.

1988 – 1993: Sc.B Mathematics / A.B. Philosophy, Brown University.


Journal articles

Goldfarb, S., Leonard, N. E., Simen, P., Caicedo-Nunez, C. H. and Holmes, P. (2014). A comparative study of drift diffusion and linear ballistic accumulator models in a reward maximization perceptual choice task. Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience, Research Topic on Speed-Accuracy Tradeoff, 8:148. doi: 10.3389 / fnins.2014.00148 Supplement

Karsilar, H., Simen, P., Papadakis, S. and Balci, F. (2014). Speed-accuracy tradeoff under response deadlines. Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience, Research Topic on Speed-Accuracy Tradeoff, 8:248. doi: 10.3389 / fnins.2014.00248

Balci, F. and Simen, P. (2014). A drift-diffusion account of temporal discrimination. Acta Psychologica, 149:157-168.

Van Vugt, M., Simen, P., Nystrom, L., Holmes, P. and Cohen, J. D. (2014). Lateralized readiness potentials in decision making reveal properties of a neural threshold mechanism. PLoS One, 9(3): e90943.

Teslovich, T., Mulder, M., Franklin, N., Ruberry, E., Millner, A., Somerville, L. H., Simen, P., Durston, S. and Casey, B. J. (2013). Adolescents let sufficient evidence accumulate before making a decision when large incentives are at stake. Developmental Science, 17:59-70.

Simen, P., Rivest, F., Ludvig, E. A., Balci, F. and Killeen, P. (2013). Timescale invariance in the pacemaker-accumulator family of timing models. Timing and Time Perception, 1:159-188.

van Vugt, M., Simen, P., Nystrom, L., Holmes, P. and Cohen, J. D. (2012). EEG oscillations reveal neural correlates of evidence accumulation. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 6:106. doi:10.3389/fnins.2012.00106.

Simen, P. (2012). Evidence accumulator or decision threshold - which cortical mechanism are we observing? Frontiers in Psychology, 3:183. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00183.

Simen, P., Balci, F., deSouza, L., Holmes, P. and Cohen, J. D. (2011). Interval timing by long-range temporal integration. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 5:56. doi:10.3389/fnint.2011.00056.

Simen, P., Balci, F., deSouza, L., Holmes, P. and Cohen, J. D. (2011). A model of interval timing by neural integration. Journal of Neuroscience, 31:9238-9253. Supplement

Simen, P. (2011). Preventing combinatorial explosion in a localist neural network architecture using temporal synchrony. Connection Science, 22:131-144.

McMillen, T., Simen, P. and Behseta, S. (2011). Hebbian learning in linear-nonlinear networks with tuning curves leads to near-optimal, multi-alternative decision making. Neural Networks, 24:417-426.

Balci, F., Simen, P., Niyogi, R., Saxe, A., Hughes, J., Holmes, P. and Cohen, J. D. (2011). Acquisition of decision making criteria: Reward rate ultimately beats accuracy. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 73:640-657.

Mulder, M., Bos, D., Weusten, J., van Belle, J., van Dijk, S., Simen, P., van Engeland, H. and Durston, S. (2010). Basic impairments in regulating the speed-accuracy tradeoff predict symptoms of ADHD. Biological Psychiatry, 68:1114-1119. Supplement.

Simen, P. and Polk, T. (2010). A symbolic/subsymbolic interface protocol for cognitive modeling. Logic Journal of the Interest Group in Pure and Applied Logic (IGPL), 18:705-761. Supplement.

Simen, P., Contreras, D., Buck, C., Hu, P., Holmes, P. and Cohen, J. D. (2009). Reward-rate optimization in two-alternative decision making: Empirical tests of theoretical predictions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35:1865-1897

Simen, P. and Cohen, J. D. (2009). Explicit melioration by a neural diffusion model. Brain Research, 1299:95-117.

Gao, J., Wong-Lin, K.F., Holmes, P., Simen, P. and Cohen, J. D. (2009). Sequential effects in two-choice reaction time tasks: Decomposition and synthesis of mechanisms. Neural Computation, 21:2407-2436.

Simen, P., Cohen, J. D., and Holmes, P (2006). Rapid decision threshold modulation by reward rate in a neural network. Neural Networks, 19:1013-1026.

Polk, T., Simen, P., Lewis, R., and Freedman, E. (2002). A computational approach to control in complex cognition. Cognitive Brain Research, 15:71-83.

Peer-reviewed conference papers

van Vugt, M. K., Simen, P. and Cohen, J. D. (in press). Finding neural correlates of drift diffusion processes in EEG oscillations. Proceedings of the 2011 meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.

Simen, P., McMillen, T. and Behseta, S. (2010). Hebbian learning for deciding optimally among many alternatives (almost). Proceedings of the 2010 meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 1816-1821.

Simen, P., Van Vugt, M., Balci, F., Freestone, D. and Polk, T. (2010). Toward an analog neural substrate for production systems. Proceedings of the 2010 International Conference on Cognitive Modeling, 223-228.

Simen, P., Polk, T., Lewis, R., and Freedman, E. (2004). A computational account of latency impairments in problem solving by Parkinson's patients. Proceedings of the 2004 International Conference on Cognitive Modeling,  590-596.

Simen, P., Polk, T., Lewis, R., and Freedman, E. (2003). Universal computation by networks of model cortical columns. Proceedings of the 2003 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, 230-235.

Simen, P., Polk, T., Lewis, R., and Freedman, E. (2002). A recurrent neural network model of goal management. Proceedings of the 2002 International Conference on Computational Intelligence, 566-569.

Technical reports

Simen, P., Freedman, E., Lewis, R., and Polk, T. (2003). Columnar timing mechanisms in neural models of problem solving. University of Michigan EECS Department Technical Report CSE-TR-481-03.

Ph.D. Thesis

Simen, P (2004). Neural mechanisms for control in complex cognition. University of Michigan.


Instructor, Oberlin College

Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience, Spring 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2014.

Surveying the basic topics in cognitive neuroscience, focusing on the neural mechanisms underlying higher cognition.

Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Spring 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2014.

Covering basic techniques in cognitive neuroscience, including psychophysics- experiment preparation, behavioral reaction time analysis, electroencephalography, and functional magnetic resonance imaging.

The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience, Fall 2011.

Surveying the basic topics in neuroscience, from membrane potentials and synaptic transmission to large-scale circuit organization and behavior.

Co-Instructor: Lynne Bianchi.

Neuroscience Laboratory, Fall 2011.

Covering basic techniques in electrophysiology, histology, brain dissection/anatomy, and computational neuronal modeling, culminating in a series of labs in which rats are trained on an intra-cranial self-stimulation protocol.

Co-Instructor: Michael Loose.

Assistant Instructor, Princeton University

Introduction to connectionist models: bridging between brain and mind, Spring 2008.

Covering basic principles of connectionist neural network modeling, and an application of these principles to model development in cognitive neuroscience. Designed and implemented a computational laboratory section to supplement course lectures, structured around the Emergent programming environment and the textbook, Computational Explorations in Cognitive Neuroscience (O'Reilly & Munakata, 2000). Performed guest lectures, and graded homeworks and final projects.

Instructor: Ken Norman.

Graduate Student Instructor, University of Michigan

Introduction to the Theory of Computation, 1998 – 2000, 2002 – 2003.

Covering the theory of computability, from finite state automata to Turing machines, and introducing the theory of time complexity. Held discussion sections, office hours, exam review sessions and performed guest lectures and exam grading.

Instructors: William Rounds (1998–2000); Daniel Koditschek (2002–2003).

Introduction to Cognitive Psychology, 2000 – 2001.

Introducing theories of perception, memory, problem-solving and planning, language acquisition, brain structure, basic neuropsychology, and the use of double-dissociations. Held discussion sections, office hours and exam review sessions and graded essays.

Instructor: Natalie Davidson.

Discrete Mathematics, 2000.

Covering propositional logic, proof by induction, graphs, and introducing number theory and cryptography. Held discussion sections, office hours and exam review sessions and graded exams.

Instructor: William Rounds.

Honors & Awards

OKUM (Oberlin-Kalamazoo-University of Michigan) leave-support grant, 2014-2015. Supporting one year of leave for fMRI research collaboration at the University of Michigan with Thad Polk, Psychology.

National Research Service Award for postdoctoral research from the National Institutes of Health: Dynamic evaluation and control of decision making, MH080524, March 2008 – March 2011.

Postdoctoral teaching/research fellowship from the Princeton University Council on Science and Technology, 2007 – 2008.

Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need teaching fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 2001 – 2002.

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department's Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor award for 1999 – 2000.

Society Memberships

Society for Neuroscience

Society for Mathematical Psychology

Cognitive Science Society

Psychonomic Society