Amishi Jha, Ph.D.

Lab webpage:

Health Division
University of California-Davis, 1998

Research Interests

Our program of research is guided by the hypothesis that psychological health, mental wellness, and resilience rely on optimal neural functioning of attention and working memory. Attention and working memory are two core cognitive systems that interact with each other to allow for fluid behavior. Whereas attention allows for selection between relevant and irrelevant information, working memory allows relevant information to be maintained and manipulated over short intervals (from a few to several seconds). In our lab, we use several cognitive neuroscience techniques including behavioral methods, event-related potentials, and functional MRI to investigate these systems in humans. From a basic-research perspective, we investigate how these systems work together to select and de-select information, as well as how they may be dynamically adjusted based on present moment demands. From a translational research perspective, we investigate how core selection processes may be improved with mental training involving mindfulness-based techniques, other forms of meditation/contemplative training, and positive psychological interventions.

Current Research

In one active research project, we are investigating the impact of mindfulness-based training vs. positive psychological training in promoting resilience in pre-deployment soldiers. Our ongoing and future work aims to investigate other high-stress cohorts, such as civilian police and firefighters, teachers, athletes, medical and law students, as well as individuals who may be challenged in their cognitive functioning during normal (healthy) aging.

Selected Publications

Jha, A.P., and Kiyonaga, A. (2010) Working Memory-Triggered Adjustments in Dynamic Control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 36(4): 1036-1042.

Jha, A.P., Stanley, E.A., Kiyonaga, A., Wong, L., Gelfand., L (2010) Examining the Protective Effects of Mindfulness Training on Working Memory and Affective Experience. Emotion 10(1): 54–64.

Stanley, E. A. & Jha, A. P. (2009). Mind fitness and mental armor: Enhancing performance and building warrior resilience. Joint Force Quarterly, 55, 144-151.

Sreenivasan KK, Goldstein JM, Lustig AG, Rivas LR, Jha AP (2009) Attention to faces modulates early face processing during low but not high face discriminability. Atten Percept Psychophys 71:837-846.

Dolcos F, Miller B, Kragel P, Jha AP, McCarthy G (2007) Regional brain differences in the effect of distraction during the delay interval of a working memory task. Brain Res 1152:171-181.

Sreenivasan KK, Katz J, Jha AP (2007) Temporal characteristics of top-down modulations during working memory maintenance: An ERP study of the N170 component. J Cogn Neurosci 19:1836-1844.

Jha AP, Krompinger J, Baime MJ (2007) Mindfulness training modifies subsystems of attention. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 7:109-119.

Sreenivasan KK, Jha AP (2007) Selective attention supports working memory maintenance by modulating perceptual processing of distractors. J Cogn Neurosci 19:32-41.

Jha AP, Ranucci MB, Giuliani NR (2006) Organization of mnemonic and response operations within prefrontal cortex. Brain Res 1097:133-141.

Jha AP, Fabian SA, Aguirre GK (2004) The role of prefrontal cortex in resolving distractor interference. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 4:61-72.

Jha AP (2002) Tracking the time-course of attentional involvement in spatial working memory: An event-related potential investigation. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 15:61-69.