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Michael J. Larson

Professor, Psychology

245 TLRB

Dr. Larson’s research utilizes a convergence of information from neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience methodologies to examine the mechanisms of cognitive control in healthy individuals and cognitive dysfunction following traumatic brain injury (TBI). He uses event related potentials (ERPs) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show brain-based changes in how people monitor and manage their environment following head injury. He also studies how exercise influences cognitive functioning, the role of inhibitory control in food and diet behaviors, and the role of psychopathology (e.g., obsessive-compulsive disorder [OCD] and depression) in influencing cognitive control processes and concomitant brain activity.

Research Interests

The aims of my Clinical Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology (CCNN) lab and research program center on these cognitive control functions and are four-fold. First, we (myself, students, and collaborators) test hypotheses about behavioral (e.g., response times, error rates) and neural (primarily event-related potential [ERP] and functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI]) reflections of cognitive control to determine how the brain exerts control of behavior, adjusts in the presence of conflict and errors, and under what conditions cognitive control is enhanced or compromised. Second, we aim to understand the lifespan developmental course and subsequent deterioration of cognitive control component processes associated with neurologic insult or psychopathology, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), autism, depression, or anxiety. Understanding these neural processes can assist our understanding of cognitive rehabilitation, psychotherapy, or pharmacological treatment. Third, we aim to identify the role of cognitive control component processes in exercise and food-related behaviors, including food-related response inhibition and the role of cognitive control in food intake, exercise, and obesity. Fourth, we aim to determine the psychometric properties of biological measures, such as ERPs, to both improve current research and allow for future clinical application. Attention to psychometrics demonstrates our lab’s dedication to rigorous research and strong methodology.

Dr. Larson also works with Dr. Erin Bigler, Dr. Tricia Merkely, Dr. Derin Cobia, and Dr. Shawn Gale (and multiple additional affiliated faculty) training students in clinical neuropsychology. Please see Dr. Larson's lab website at for more information about Dr. Larson and his lab.

I also oversee the BYU Chapter of the Association of Neuropsychology Students and Trainees (ANST). If you would like to learn more or see upcoming events for the BYU ANST group you can visit our website here:

Honors and Awards

  • Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Psychophysiology (2016 - Present)
  • Included as a Top-Cited Scholar for Scientific Field (2017-year metric), PLoS Biology. (2019 - 2019)
  • Martin B. Hickman Innovation in Teaching Award, BYU College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences (2018 - 2018)
  • University Young Scholar Award, Brigham Young University (2015 - 2015)
  • College Outstanding Young Alumnus, University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions (2014 - 2014)
  • Outstanding Young Alumnus, University of Florida Department of Clinical and Health Psychology (2013 - 2013)
  • Teacher of the Year Award, BYU Psi Chi (2009 - 2009)


  • International Organization for Psychophysiology (2013 - Present)
  • Society for Psychophysiological Research (2010 - Present)
  • International Neuropsychological Society (2004 - Present)

Professional Citizenship

  • Committee/Council Chair, Society for Psychophysiological Research (2019 - Present)
  • Other, International Journal of Psychophysiology (2016 - Present)
  • Committee/Council Member, International Organization of Psychophysiology (2016 - Present)