Researchers at Brown seek to understand the "outputs" of brain activity -- cognition, decision making, cognitive development, emotion, memory, and attention. Brown's strength lies in the close connection between basic science research on human brain function and behavior to clinicians in psychiatry at Brown's affiliated hospitals, who have a vested interest in understanding and modifying human behavior. This serves as a vital link between knowledge of cells and circuit function and human behavior in health and disease. Research themes include vision research, computational approaches to the study of cognition, the study of the frontal lobe (what makes us human), decision making and cognitive control. Key clinical applications include autism, ADHD, and frontostriatal disorders. The Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute's MRI research facility and brain stimulation facility critically support this work.
Brown has several areas of excellence in neuroscience: cellular and molecular neurobiology, neural circuits, sensation and perception, cognition and behavior, computation in mind and brain, and neuroengineering and neurotechnology. Each builds on Brown's national and international reputation, and brings together faculty from many departments at Brown. Students in the Neuroscience Graduate Program frequently conduct research that spans several of these areas.