Why do we tend to move our lips or even talk out loud when we are trying to think under very distracting circumstances? Why does it sometimes seem as though we can't control our thoughts as much as we'd like, and we can never seem to stop thinking completely? There is a good deal of experimental evidence that suggests we may use our bodies as part of the thinking process -- in particular, our motor systems. In fact, it is reasonable to suppose that thinking evolved from explicit behavior that, as adults, we learn to hide from others -- activating certain muscles so slightly that the changes in muscle tension can only be detected with sensitive electronic amplifiers. Recently, I have studied eye movements, as well as muscle tension changes, as markers of specific cognitive activity. I am also interested in the general effects of mental effort, meditation, and relaxation on various physiological systems, and in theories of emotion. However, in the last few years, I have devoted my attention to the publication of educational materials for the teaching of statistics to psychologists.
PhD, New York University, 1983 (experimental psychology)
AffiliationsAmerican Psychological Association
American Psychological Society
Society for Psychophysiological Research
FellowshipsNational Institute of Mental Health Pre-doctoral Fellowship, 1977-79
National Institute of Mental Health Post-doctoral Fellowship, 1983-85
Books and Chapters:
Cohen, B.H. (2007). Explaining Psychological Statistics (3rd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Cohen, B.H. (1986). The Motor Theory of Voluntary Thinking. In R.J. Davidson, G.E. Schwartz, and D. Shapiro (Eds.), Consciousness and self-regulation (Vol. 4, pp. 19-54). New York: Plenum Press. [pdf]
Articles and Presentations:
Cohen, B.H. (2009, October). The neural substrate of the subjective experience of anxiety. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Social and Affective Neuroscience Society , New York, NY. [pdf]
Cohen, B.H. (2009, August). When the use of p values actually makes some sense. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada. [pdf]
Cohen, B.H. (2002). Calculating a factorial ANOVA from means and standard deviations. Understanding Statistics, 1, 191-203. [pdf]
Demarais, A. & Cohen, B.H. (1998). Evidence for image-scanning eye movements during transitive inference. Biological Psychology, 49, 229-247.
Cohen, B.H., et al. (1992). Muscle tension patterns during auditory attention. Biological Psychology, 33, 133-156.
Barry H. Cohen
Clinical Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
New York University
6 Washington Place, Room 484
New York, NY 10003
(212) 995-4018 fax