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George R. Mangun


  • Ph.D., Neurosciences (Cognitive Neuroscience), University of California, San Diego, 1987
  • B.S., Chemistry, Northern Arizona University, 1981


George R. Mangun is a professor of psychology and neurology at the University of California, Davis. He was the founding director of the Center for Mind and Brain, at UC Davis and served as Dean of College of Letters & Science from 2008-2015. Currently he leads the Laboratory for the Neural Mechanisms of Attention and has served as director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience since 2010. Professor Mangun consults on numerous university, U.S. government and international scientific panels and advisory boards, including for the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Academy of Finland. He has been at UC Davis since 1992, and is coauthor of the textbook, Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind (W.W. Norton, 2009). Now in its fourth edition, the book has been translated into French, Italian and Portuguese. Since 2009, he has served as editor-in-chief of The Neuroscience of Attention (Oxford University Press) and is also an associate editor of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.  

Research Focus

Professor Mangun's work on the cognitive neuroscience of attention investigates how we perceive, attend, ignore and become aware of events in our environment. Recordings of event-related brain potentials (ERP) from healthy persons and special patient groups provide high temporal resolution measures of stimulus processing in the human brain. The goal of this research is to identify the mechanisms of attentional selection by permitting sensory analysis of attended and ignored stimuli to be studied under a wide variety of task circumstances. To identify the brain systems and circuits involved in various attentional processes (i.e., control and selection), tools such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are used in conjunction with ERP. fMRI permits the living human brain to be revealed to us as it functions to enable our sensations, thoughts and actions. The information obtained from these combined behavioral, neuropsychological and neurophysiological studies yields insight into the computational and functional neuroanatomical structure of human cognition, and is essential for addressing the deficits in attention and awareness that accompany neurological and psychiatric disease.

Selected Publications

  • Saggar, M.,  King, B. G., Zanesco, A. P. ,  MacLean, K. A.,  Aichele, S. R.,  Jacobs, T. L.,  Bridwell, D. A., Shaver, P. R.,  Rosenberg, E. L.,  Sahdra, B. K.,  Ferrer, E.,  Tang, A. C., Mangun, G. R. , Wallace, B. A., Miikkulainen, R., &  Saron, C. D. (2012). Intensive Training Induces Longitudinal Changes in Meditation State-related EEG Oscillatory Activity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6(00256). DOI=10.3389/fnhum.2012.00256: ISSN=1662-5161
  • Bastos A. M.,  Usrey, W. M.,  Adams, R. A.,  Mangun, G. R., Fries, P., &  Friston, K. J. (2012). Canonical microcircuits for predictive coding. Neuron, 76(4):695-711. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.10.038 
  • Fannon, S., & Mangun, G .R. (2013). Effects of preparatory attention to non-spatial features in visual cortex. In Mangun, G. R., (Ed.) The Cognitive Electrophysiology of Attention: Signals of the Mind. Academic Press: New York 
  • Briggs, F.,  Mangun, G. R., & Usrey, W. M. (2013). Attention enhances synaptic efficacy and signal-to-noise in neural circuits. Nature, 499:476-480. doi:10.1038/nature12276 
  • Mazaheri, A., Fassbender, C., Coffey-Corina, S.,  Hartanto, T. A., Schweitzer, J. B., & Mangun, G. R. (2013). Differential Top-Down Oscillatory EEG between ADHD Subtypes and Typically Developing Adolescents. Biological Psychiatry. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.08.023. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24120092


Professor Mangun teaches in the areas of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. He has taught courses in Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, Mind and Brain: Attention and Awareness, and Mechanisms of Attention.


Among other honors, in 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), and in 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Professor Mangun was honored for distinguished contributions to psychology and cognitive neuroscience in research on brain attention mechanisms, and in teaching, service, administration and the dissemination of knowledge. His research is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).