Professor of Psychology
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Andreas Keil studies the way the human brain and body adapt to environmental challenges over time, on the scale of milliseconds, minutes, hours, days, and across the lifespan. Understanding these changes is now considered a hallmark in the behavioral and neural sciences and it holds promises for answering fundamental science questions as well as clinical applications.
One important aspect of human adaptive behavior is to see, hear, feel, and remember relevant events that require action. Humans select, interpret, and act upon these events with ease and rapidity, even when simultaneously surrounded by competing, distracting information. To date, even the most elaborate computer systems cannot remotely approach this capability. One goal of Keil’s laboratory is to characterize the brain and behavioral dynamics that enable humans to selectively respond to relevant information in the environment while ignoring irrelevant information — the buzz and noise increasingly present in our lives.
Much of Keil’s work centers on how healthy individuals (including children) and patients with psychiatric or neurological disorders process sensory events. He has quantified the strong impact of the initial perceptual process on a cascade of bodily, behavioral, and cognitive outcomes, measured with cutting-edge, non-invasive techniques. In this work, Keil has established the dynamic, plastic, and flexible nature of brain structures formerly regarded as static and “hard wired.”
Keil’s research program combines basic human neuroscience research with clinical and translational questions, identifying specific mechanisms of Psychiatric and Neurological disorders. Keil has been particularly interested in changing the way electrophysiological data (for example EEG brain waves) in humans are recorded, analyzed, and interpreted.