Moss, Cynthia

Cynthia Moss
Professor Emerita
Department of Psychology
Program in Neuroscience & Cognitive Science
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
2153 A.V. Williams Building
General Research Interests: 
  • Auditory information processing, spatial perception and memory
  • Somatosensory signaling, flight control, sensorimotor integration and adaptive behaviors
  • Acoustical, psychophysical, perceptual, computational and neurophysiological studies to advance knowledge in systems neuroscience
  • Combining acoustical, psychophysical, perceptual, computational and neurophysiological studies, with the goal of developing integrative theories on brain-behavior relations in animal systems

Cynthia F. Moss is currently a professor at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. She received a B.S. (summa cum laude) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1979 and a Ph.D. from Brown University in 1986. She was a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Tübingen (1985-1987) and a Research Fellow at Brown University (1987-1989) before accepting a faculty appointment at Harvard University, beginning in 1989. At Harvard, Dr. Moss received the Phi Beta Kappa teaching award (1992) and was named the Morris Kahn Associate Professor (1994). In 1995, Dr. Moss moved to the University of Maryland, where she was a Professor in the Department of Psychology and ISR until 2014. She served as Director of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program (2004-2007) and is currently Co-Director of the Computer and Signal Processing Core of the NINDS P-30 Center for Comparative and Evolutionary Biology of Hearing. She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Acoustical Society of America, International Society for Neuroethology, and the Association for Research in Otolaryngology. Her lab includes undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers, supported by funds from NSF, NIH, AFOSR, Howard Hughes, the Whitehall Foundation, and private industry. Dr. Moss received an NSF Young Investigator Award in 1992 and a Berlin Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship in 2000 and 2008. In 2001, Moss was elected a Fellow to the Acoustical Society of America. Moss and her graduate student, Kaushik Ghose, won first place in the multimedia division of the NSF-AAAS Visualization Challenge in 2004. In 2009 Moss and ISR colleagues Horiuchi and Krishnaprasad were awarded ISR Outstanding Systems Faculty of the Year. In 2010 she was recognized with the University of Maryland Regents Faculty Award for Research and Creativity. She has edited two books and published over 75 chapters and research articles.

Moss’s research program is directed at understanding sensory information processing and adaptive motor control. In the Moss lab, the echolocating bat serves as a model system for a neuroethologically-based study of hearing, tactile sensing, and perceptually-guided behavior. Research combines acoustical, psychophysical, perceptual, computational and neurophysiological studies, with the goal of developing integrative theories on brain-behavior relations in animal systems.
Current behavioral studies focus on the processing of dynamic acoustic signals for the perception of auditory scenes. The aims of this work are to develop a broad understanding of complex signal processing in biological systems and to establish an empirical foundation for integrative models of spatial information processing, the perceptual organization of sound, and adaptive motor behaviors.    
Neurophysiological studies examine how the brain processes sensory information and how this information is integrated with motor programs to permit perceptually-guided behavior. Current experiments focus on somatosensory signaling for flight control and audiomotor integration for spatial perception and goal-directed behaviors. Recent research findings reveal distinct functional specializations in bat brain that are important for the bat's adaptive flight behavior and acoustic orientation by sonar. New directions emphasize neural telemetry recordings from freely behaving animals, which will be used to study brain activity patterns in the context of rich, natural sensorimotor behaviors.