Nancy S. Koven

Professor of Neuroscience



Pettengill Hall, Room 365


My research is nested within the broad domain of neuropsychiatry. As such, I am interested in understanding brain structure and function in the context of mental health and mental illness. I focus on aspects of affective-cognitive processing across different populations of human subjects, ranging from those with diagnosable mental illness to those at risk for psychopathology to healthy control subjects. As emotion and cognition involve concomitant processes unfolding across physiological, behavioral, and experiential domains, I utilize a variety of measurement techniques in my research to evaluate processing in each of these domains: enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of peripheral bodily fluids, genotyping, and structural MRI (physiological domain); clinical neuropsychological assessment, coding of facial muscle movements, computerized psychometrics (behavioral domain); self-report and collateral-report questionnaires, structured and semi-structured clinical interviews (experiential domain).

Summary of Interests

  • Neurobiological correlates of cognitive functioning
  • Brain-behavior relationships in severe mental illness
  • Neuropsychological processes of emotion regulation
  • Individual differences in cognition-emotion interactions


  •  B.A. Psychology, Swarthmore College (1998)
  •  M.A. Clinical Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2001)
  •  Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2004)
  •  Clinical Internship in Rehabilitative and Geriatric Neuropsychology, Eastern Virginia Medical School (2003-2004)
  •  Postdoctoral Fellowship, Neuropsychology and Brain Imaging Laboratory, Dartmouth Medical School (2004-2006)

Courses Taught

  •  NS/PY 200 Introduction to Neuroscience
  •  PSYC 215 Medical Psychology
  •  PSYC 235 Abnormal Psychology
  •  NS/PY 330 Cognitive Neuroscience
  •  PSYC 361 Topics in Affective Neuroscience
  •  NS/PY 461 Capstone Seminar in Psychoendocrinology
  •  FYS 455 Neuroscience Fiction


*asterisk indicates a Bates College student co-author

Roth, R. M., Garlinghouse, M. A., Flashman, L. A., Koven, N. S., Pendergrass, J. C., Ford, J. C.,  McAllister, T. W., & Saykin, A. J. (in press). Apathy is associated with ventral striatum volume in schizophrenia spectrum disorder. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.

Lantrip, C., Isquith, P. K., Koven, N. S., Welsh, K., & Roth, R. M. (2016). Executive function and emotion regulation strategy use in adolescents. Applied Neuropsychology: Child, 5, 50-55.

Colligan, S. M.* & Koven, N. S. (2015). Alexithymia and emotional working memory: Performance on a recency-probes task. American Journal of Psychology, 128, 337-345.

Koven, N. S. & Abry, A. W.* (2015). The clinical basis of orthorexia nervosa: Emerging perspectives. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 11, 385-394.

Demers, L. A.* & Koven, N. S. (2015). The relation of alexithymic traits to affective theory of mind. American Journal of Psychology, 128, 31-42.

Koven, N. S. & Demers, L. A.* (2014). Discordant peripheral levels of BDNF and serotonin are associated with enhanced emotional intelligence in men. Psychology and Neuroscience, 7, 609-618.

Koven, N. S., & Collins, L. R.* (2014). Urinary brain-derived neurotrophic factor as a peripheral biomarker of executive functioning. Neuropsychobiology, 69, 227-234.

Koven, N. S. (2014). Abnormal valence differentiation in alexithymia. Personality and Individual Differences, 68, 102-106.

Koven, N. S. & Max, L. K.* (2014). Basal salivary oxytocin level predicts extra- but not intra-personal dimensions of emotional intelligence. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 44, 20-29.

Collins, L. R.* & Koven, N. S. (2014). Urinary BDNF-to-creatinine ratio is associated with aerobic fitness. Neuroscience Letters, 559, 169-173.

Koven, N. S., Cadden, M. H.*, Murali, S.,* & Ross, M. K. (2013). Vitamin D and long-term memory in multiple sclerosis. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, 26, 155-160.

Koven, N. S., & Senbonmatsu, R.* (2013). A neuropsychological evaluation of orthorexia nervosa. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 3, 214-222.

Koven, N. S., & Carr, L. H.* (2013). The role of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor C270T polymorphism in executive functioning. Journal of Applied Medical Sciences, 2, 25-41.

Ross, M. K., Koven, N. S., Murali, S.*, & Cadden, M. H.* (2012). The relationship between vitamin D serum level and midsagittal corpus callosum area in patients with multiple sclerosis. Journal of Applied Medical Sciences, 1, 51-60.

Koven, N. S., & Carr, L. H.* (2012). Differential relationships among facets of alexithymia and BDNF- and dopamine-related polymorphisms. Neuroscience and Medicine, 3, 7-13.

DiStefano, R. A.*, & Koven, N. S. (2012). Dysfunctional emotion processing may explain visual memory deficits in alexithymia. Personality and Individual Differences, 52, 611-615.

Koven, N. S. (2011). Specificity of emotional awareness effects on moral decision-making. Emotion, 11, 1255-1261.

Cadden, M. H.*, Koven, N. S., & Ross, M. K. (2011). Neuroprotective effects of vitamin D in multiple sclerosis. Neuroscience and Medicine, 2, 198-207.

Koven, N. S., Roth, R. M., Garlinghouse, M. A., Flashman, L. A., & Saykin, A. J. (2011). Regional gray matter correlates of perceived emotional intelligence. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, 6, 582-590.

Koven, N. S., & Thomas, W.* (2010). Mapping facets of alexithymia to executive dysfunction in daily life. Personality and Individual Differences, 49, 24-28.

Herrington, J. D., Koven, N. S., Heller, W., Miller, G. A., & Nitschke, J. B. (2009). Frontal asymmetry in emotion, motivation, personality, and psychopathology: Methodological issues in electrocortical and hemodynamic neuroimaging. In S. J. Wood, N. B. Allen, & C.Pantelis (Eds.), Neuropsychology of mental illness. New York: Cambridge University Press, 49-66.

Kruck, C. L., Flashman, L. A., Roth, R. M., Koven, N. S., McAllister, T. W., & Saykin, A. J. (2009). Lack of relationship between psychological denial and unawareness of illness in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. Psychiatry Research, 169, 33-38.

Mohanty, A., Heller, W., Koven, N. S., Fisher, J. E., Herrington, J. D., & Miller, G. A. (2008). Specificity of emotion-related effects on attentional processing in schizotypy. Schizophrenia Research, 103, 129-137.

Roth, R. M., Koven, N. S., Pendergrass, J. C., Flashman, L. A., McAllister, T. W., & Saykin, A. J. (2008). Apathy and the processing of novelty in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 98, 232-238.

Roth, R. M., Koven, N. S., & Pendergrass, J. C. (2007). An introduction to structural and functional neuroimaging. In A. MacNeill-Horton (Ed.), Neuropsychology handbook. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 217-250.

Koven, N. S., Roth, R. R., Coffey, D. J., Flashman, L. A., & Saykin, A. J. (2007). Cognitive performance and self-reported functioning in daily life among those with Parkinson’s disease: A brief report. Internet Journal of Mental Health, 3, 1-9.

Herrington, J. D., Koven, N. S., Miller, G. A., & Heller, W. (2006). Mapping the neural correlates of dimensions of personality, emotion, and motivation. In T. Canli (Ed.), Biology of personality and individual differences. New York: Guilford Publications, 133-156.

Roth, R. M., Koven, N. S., Randolph, J. J., Flashman, L. A., Pixley, H. S., Ricketts, S. M., Wishart, H. A., & Saykin, A. J. (2006). Functional magnetic resonance imaging of executive control in bipolar disorder. NeuroReport, 17, 1085-9.

Roth, R. M., Randolph, J. J., Koven, N. S., & Isquith, P. K. (2006). Neural substrates of executive functions: Insights from functional neuroimaging. In Dupri, J.R. (Ed.), Focus on neuropsychology research. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 1-36.

Herrington, J. D., Mohanty, A., Koven, N. S., Fisher, J. E., Stewart, J. L., Banich, M. T., Webb, A. G., Miller, G. A., & Heller, W. (2005). Emotion-modulated performance and activity in left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Emotion, 5, 200-207.

Mohanty, A., Herrington, J. D., Koven, N. S., Fisher, J. E., Wenzel, E. A., Webb, A. G., Heller, W., Banich, M. T., & Miller, G. A. (2005). Neural mechanisms of affective interference in schizotypy. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 114, 16-27.

Koven, N. S., Heller, W., & Miller, G. A. (2005). Fear of cognitive dyscontrol as a unique predictor of problematic drinking. Addictive Behaviors, 30, 489-499.

Fisher, J. E., Mohanty, A., Herrington, J. D., Koven, N. S., Miller, G. A., & Heller, W. (2004). Neuropsychological evidence for dimensional schizotypy: Implications for creativity and psychopathology. Journal of Research in Personality, 38, 24-31.

Koven, N. S., Heller, W., Banich, M. T., & Miller, G. A. (2003). Relationships of distinct affective dimensions to performance on an emotional Stroop task. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 27, 671-680.

Heller, W., Koven, N. S., & Miller, G. A. (2003). Regional brain activity in anxiety and depression, cognition/emotion interaction, and emotion regulation. In K. Hugdahl & R. J. Davidson (Eds.), The asymmetrical brain, 2nd Ed., (pp. 533-564). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Heller, W., Schmidtke, J. I., Nitschke, J. B., Koven, N. S., & Miller, G. A. (2002). States, traits, and symptoms: Investigating the neural correlates of emotion, personality, and psychopathology. In D. Cervone & W. Mischel (Eds.) Advances in personality science (pp. 106-126). New York: Guilford Press.

Schneider, A. M., Koven, N. S., Lombardo, K. A., Levin, D. A., & Simson, P. E. (2000). ß-adrenergic receptor blockade by propranolol enhances retention in a multitrial passive-avoidance procedure. Behavioral Neuroscience, 114, 1256-1260.