Steve Luck

Steve Luck portrait

Position Title
Distinguished Professor

Room 109
267 Cousteau Place, Davis CA 95618


  • 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 as well as dysfunction of cognition in people with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. 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, Applied ERP Data Analysis, The Oxford Handbook of ERP Components). He has provided training to thousands of ERP researchers in workshops around the world (via ERP Boot Camps), and has developed of an open source software package for ERP data analysis (ERPLAB Toolbox).

Lab web site:
Twitter: @stevenjluck
Google Scholar: user=vlTXmTgAAAAJ
ERP methodology web site:
ERP methodology blog:
ERP methodology Twitter: @erpbootcamp


Lab for Basic & Translational Cognitive Neuroscience (Luck)


  • 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.
  • Luck, S. J. (2014). An Introduction to the Event-Related Potential Technique, Second Edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • 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.

  • Gaspelin, N., & Luck, S. J. (2018). The role of inhibition in avoiding distraction by salient stimuli. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22, 79-92

  • Luck, S. J., Hahn, B., Leonard, C. J., & Gold, J. M. (2019). The hyperfocusing hypothesis: A new account of cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 45, 991-1000.
  • Kiat, J. E., Hayes, T. R., Henderson, J. M., & Luck, S. J. (2022). Rapid extraction of the spatial distribution of physical saliency and semantic informativeness from natural scenes in the human brain. The Journal of Neuroscience, 42, 97-108.
  • Luck, S. J. (2022). Applied Event-Related Potential Data Analysis. LibreTexts.


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 In 2020, he received the UC-Davis College of Letters and Science Teaching Award.


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. UC-Davis

Research Interests & Expertise
  • Perception, Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience