Brian C. Rakitin, Ph.D.
Associate Research Scientist
Taub Institute, Division of Cognitive Neuroscience & Department of Neurology
630 West 168th St, Box 16
New York City, NY 10032
Dr. Rakitin is a Columbia College graduate who obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Oregon’s McDonnel-Pew Center for the Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention. Dr. Rakitin’s was awarded McDonnel-Pew and NSF graduate research fellowships, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the New York State Psychiatric Institute’s Developmental Psychobiology division. He has been a member of the faculty of the Taub Institute’s Cognitive Neuroscience Division since 2000.
- Interval Timing. The main thrust of Dr. Rakitin’s research concerns the temporally organization of behavior over the course of several seconds, and the physiological substrates of that organization. An important part of this research is development of new tasks, paradigms, and analyses, and basic research on temporal psychophysics and the interaction of attention and timing.
Currently, Dr. Rakitin studying Parkinson’s disease patients in collaboration with Dr. Karen Marder using a new, more sensitive behavioral timing battery that can reveal deficits in medicated patients. These findings allow us to pursue new avenues of inquiry including the relation between timing deficits, olfaction deficits and functional impairments that have implications for clinical rehabilitation. A study of HD disease patients and carriers of the HD gene using behavioral timing and brain imaging technology is in the planning stage. Most recently Dr. Rakitin has begun to examine the relations between proaction, defined as planned, timed behavior, and reaction, or behavior elicited in response to a stimulus. The goal is to understand how these two fundamental modes of action interact with each other, and mediate age related changes to cognition.
- Cognition in Aging. Normal aging leads to a decline in multiple cognitive functions, even in the absence of neurodegenerative diseases. A major thrust of Dr. Rakitin’s collaborations with Division Director Yaakov Stern are implementations of advanced, theoretically informed methods for studying cognition in aging, both behaviorally and using functional neuroimaging.
They recently completed a series of experiments using a task switching and conflict paradigm developed by our colleague Etienne Koechlin to study executive function using methods. This paradigm, along with a delayed item recognition task, form the backbone of the Division’s investigations of cognitive reserve, defined by Dr. Stern as a key factor mediating the behavioral and clinical manifestation of age-related brain pathology. Dr. Rakitin is also a collaborator in the groundbreaking collaboration between Dr. Stern and Dr. Timothy Salthouse, University of Virginia, investigating reference ability neural networks (RANN), the putative brain underpinnings of the basic cognitive abilities identified by Dr. Salthouse as explaining the majority of age-related cognitive decline.
Kumar, A., Rakitin, B. C., Nambisan, R., Habeck, C., & Stern, Y. (2008). Response-signal methods reveal age-related differences in object working memory. Psychology & Aging, 23, 315-29.
Gooch, C., Stern, Y., & Rakitin, B. C. (2009). Evidence for Age-related Changes to Temporal Attention and Memory from the Choice Time Production Task. Neuropsychology, Development, and Cognition. Section B, Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition, 8, 1-26 PMCID: 2695668.
Tucker, A. M., Basner, R., Stern, Y., and Rakitin, B. C. (2009). The variable response-stimulus interval effect and sleep deprivation: An unexplored aspect of psychomotor vigilance task performance. Sleep, 32, 1393-5. PMCID: 2753816
Gazes, Y., Rakitin, B. C., Steffener, J., Habeck, C., Tatarina, O., Butterfield, B., Ghez, C. and Stern, Y. (2010). Performance degradation and altered cerebral activation during dual performance: evidence for a bottom-up attentional system. Behavioural Brain Research, 210, 229-239.
Rakitin, B. C., Tucker, A. M., Basner, R. C., & Stern, Y. (In press). The effects of stimulus degradation after 48 hours of sleep deprivation. Sleep.
Gooch, C. M., Rakitin, B. C., Stephens, S., Cooper, Z. D., Comer, S. D., & Balsam, P. D. (In press). Oxycodone lengthens reproduction of suprasecond time intervals in human research volunteers. Behavioural Pharmacology, 22, 354-361.