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Philip KragelAssistant Professor


Dr. Philip A. Kragel received his Bachelor of Science and Engineering (2006) and a Masters in Engineering Management (2007) from the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. He went on to complete his Ph.D. in Psychology and Neuroscience (2015) at Duke University under the direction of Kevin LaBar. From 2015-2020, he was a postdoctoral associate with Tor Wager at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Institute of Cognitive Science. Dr. Kragel joined the Psychology Department at Emory University as an Assistant Professor in 2020.


Research Interests

Cognition, Emotion, Affect, Machine Learning, fMRI

Research Areas

Dr. Kragel’s research explores the neural and computational basis of cognitive and affective behavior in humans, with a particular focus on understanding the nature of emotions – where they come from and what makes them unique from other mental phenomena. His research program combines ideas from psychology, neuroscience, and machine learning to build multivariate models that are both sensitive and specific to the engagement of individual mental processes.

One line of research in Dr. Kragel’s lab is focused on developing quantitative models of brain activity that can be used to make predictions in independent studies and laboratories. This cumulative approach enables models to be shared and prospectively tested, making research more transparent and reproducible. It also facilitates strong inferences about the nature of emotion and may lead to new outcomes and targets for clinical interventions. A second, related area of research explains affective behavior using computational models (e.g., neural networks) and maps components of these models onto human brain activity, aiming to provide an objective account of the brain representations and transformations that underlie human emotion.


PSYC 215: Cognition