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Steve Luck


  • Ph.D., Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, 1993
  • M.S., Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, 1989
  • B.A., Psychology, Reed College, 1986


Steve Luck has been a core faculty member of the Center for Mind and Brain (CMB) and a professor in the Department of Psychology since 2006. He served as director of the CMB from 2009-2019. Professor Luck is also on the faculty of the UC Davis MIND Institute and is an affiliate of the Center for Neuroscience. He is a member of numerous professional organizations and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and the American Psychological Association (Divisions 3 and 6).

Research Focus

Professor Luck’s lab studies basic mechanisms of attention and working memory in healthy individuals. He also examines dysfunction of cognition in people with psychiatric and neurological disorders (including schizophrenia and ADHD). This research uses a combination of behavioral/psychophysical methods, eye tracking, and event-related potential (ERP) recordings. Professor Luck also spends considerable time promoting the use of rigorous ERP methods. Toward that end, he has published multiple books (An Introduction to the Event-Related Potential Technique, The Oxford Handbook of ERP Components). He has provided training to more than 1,500 researchers in workshops around the world (ERP Boot Camps), and has developed of an open source software package for ERP data analysis (ERPLAB Toolbox).

Lab web site: lucklab.ucdavis.edu
Blog: lucklab.ucdavis.edu/blog
Twitter: @stevenjluck
Google Scholar: user=vlTXmTgAAAAJ
ERP methodology web site: erpinfo.org
ERP methodology blog: erpinfo.org/blog
ERP methodology Twitter: @erpbootcamp


Selected Publications

  • Zhang, W., & Luck, S. J. (2008). Discrete fixed-resolution representations in visual working memory. Nature, 453, 233-235. 
  • Sawaki, R.,  Geng, J. J., &  Luck, S. J. (2012). A common neural mechanism for preventing and terminating attention. Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 10725-10736. 
  • Beck, V. M., Hollingworth, A., & Luck, S. J. (2012). Simultaneous Control of Attention by Multiple Working Memory Representations. Psychological Science, 23, 887-898. 
  • Luck, S. J. (2014). An Introduction to the Event-Related Potential Technique, Second Edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 
  • Luck, S. J.,  McClenon, C.,  Beck, V. M.,  Hollingworth, A., Leonard, C. J.,  Hahn, B., Robinson, B. M., & Gold, J. M. (2014). Hyperfocusing in schizophrenia: Evidence from interactions between working memory and eye movements. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 123, 783-795.
  • Kreither, J., Lopez-Calderon, J., Leonard, C. J., Robinson, B. M., Ruffle, A., Hahn, B., Gold, J. M., & Luck, S. J. (2017). Electrophysiological Evidence for Spatial Hyperfocusing in Schizophrenia. The Journal of Neuroscience, 37, 3813-3823.

  • Bae, G. Y., & Luck, S. J. (2018). Dissociable Decoding of Working Memory and Spatial Attention from EEG Oscillations and Sustained Potentials. Journal of Neuroscience, 38, 409-422.


Professor Luck teaches in the areas of Perception, Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology. He was one of the founders of the Cognitive Science major and serves on the Program Committee for the major. He is also a leader in new approaches to undergraduate education, especially “hybrid” courses that combine online lectures with live small-group discussions. Detailed information about one of these courses, as well as practical tips for creating a hybrid course, can be found at http://psc100y.faculty.ucdavis.edu.


Professor Luck has won a number of prestigious awards throughout his career. He  received the Troland Award in Experimental Psychology from the National Academy of Sciences in 2001 and the APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in the area of Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience in 1998. In 2004, he was awarded the American Psychological Foundation F. J. McGuigan Young Investigator Prize, and he received the James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Award in 2004.  He is an elected fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.