Ken Paller is a Professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he holds the James Padilla Chair in Arts & Sciences and also serves as Director of the Training Program in the Neuroscience of Human Cognition. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, received degrees from UCLA (BS) and UC San Diego (Neuroscience PhD), and then completed postdoctoral training at Yale, Manchester UK, and Berkeley. His research has focused on human memory and consciousness, using a variety of methods including electrophysiology, neuropsychology, and neuroimaging. His findings have contributed to understanding features of conscious memory experiences as well as ways in which memory operations differ in the absence of awareness of memory retrieval, as in implicit-memory priming, intuition, and implicit social bias. Some of his research has concerned patients with memory disorders, including evidence linking memory deficits to poor sleep. Recent studies from his lab showed that memory processing during sleep can reinforce prior learning, providing novel evidence on sleep’s role in memory. Investigations of the relevant physiological mechanisms are helping to elucidate the hidden but critical contributions of sleep to cognitive abilities, including remembering details and solving problems, as well as to well-being more generally.

This profile was last updated on November 16, 2020

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