Faculty Directory

Pessoa, Luiz

Pessoa, Luiz

Department of Psychology
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Brain and Behavior Institute
2123C Psychology

His interests center around the interactions between cognition and emotion/motivation in the human brain. He received a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1989 and an M.Sc. in Computer Engineering in 1990 from the same university. He followed his M.Sc. work on artificial neural networks by a PhD in computational neuroscience at Boston University (1995). After returning to Brazil for a few years and being on the faculty of Computer Science at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, he returned to the US to take a position as Visiting Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition headed by Leslie G. Ungerleider (1999 to 2003). He then joined the Department of Psychology at Brown University as an Assistant Professor (2003 to 2006), the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington, as an Associate Professor (2006 to 2010), and is now at the Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, where he is Professor and director of the Maryland Neuroimaging Center.


PhD in Computational Neuroscience, Boston University

  • Response inhibition and emotion/motivation interactions
  • Conflict processing and emotion/motivation interactions
  • Network level analysis of emotional and motivational processing
  • Reward and threat competition
  • Appetitive-aversive interactions during visual processing
  • Functional diversity of brain regions and brain networks
  • Statistical and computational tools

2023 BBI Seed Grants Inspire New Interdisciplinary Collaborations

The six interdisciplinary teams will use state-of-the-art neuroscience tools to translate basic science research into real-world impact.

An Open House Debut for New Prisma MRI at MNC

Scheduled for unveiling on April 22, 2022, the upgrade significantly enhances spatial and temporal resolution of human brain imaging.

How Home Alone Helped UMD Neuroscientists Unlock Brain Scan Data

New research employs advanced computational algorithms to uncover latent information in fMRI scans about human mental states.

Piece of Mind: Upgrade of Campus MRI to Enhance Brain Imaging

Together with major contributions from the BBI and BSOS, a new Research Instrumentation Fund award will improve the temporal and spatial resolution of MR imaging at UMD and enhance campus neuroscience research.

NIH announces HEAL Initiative Grants for UMD faculty

The projects are part of NIH’s larger push to reverse the opioid crisis in the U.S.

Brain and Behavior Initiative (BBI) hosts Second Annual Seed Grant Symposium

The University’s Brain and Behavior Initiative (BBI) hosted its Second Annual Seed Grant Symposium on November 14, 2018 at Adele’s in the Stamp Student Union.

BBI Holds 2017 Seed Grant Symposium

Over 115 people attend symposium featuring work and accomplishments of BBI Seed Grant Awardees for FY16/FY17.

BBI FY17 Seed Grant Winners Announced

Nine projects selected for funding.

Shackman lab awarded $3.4M NIH grant to clarify the origins of anxiety disorders and depression

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has awarded a 3.4 million dollar grant to the University of Maryland to support research aimed at understanding the mechanism that that promote the development of pathological anxiety and depression.

Michele Gelfand and Luiz Pessoa on how cultural differences are realized in the brain

Working under a grant from the Department of Defense's Minerva Initiative, Gelfand, Pessoa, and their team of co-investigators are studying the underlying neural-biological processes associated with cultural permissiveness versus restrictiveness.