Susan M. Rivera, Ph.D.

Susan M. Rivera, Ph.D.

Research Director, Neurocognitive Development Lab, Center for Mind and Brain UC Davis, Professor, Department of Psychology
Center for Mind and Brain
267 Cousteau Place, Suite 250
Davis, California 95618


Phone:  530-747-3802

Dr. Rivera conducts research on the origins and development of symbolic representation in both infants and children. She uses classic behavioral as well as neuroimaging (fMRI) techniques to investigate such things as language acquisition, concept formation, object representation, and numerical cognition. As a member of the UC Davis MIND Institute, she also conducts research contrasting typical development with that of children with neurodevelopmental disorders including autism and fragile X syndrome.  Dr. Rivera's current investigations focus on several aspects of “parietally-mediated” cognitive functioning, including arithmetic reasoning, so-called “dorsal stream functioning”, biological motion perception and multi-sensory integration.  She uses several different techniques in her research including eye-tracking, ERP and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI.) One of her main research goals is to build a framework for integrating the previously disparate methodological and theoretical orientations of cognitive developmental and neuroscience research. By employing a variety of converging research techniques, she strives to elucidate the complex brain-behavior relationships that underlie cognitive development.


B.A., Psychology, Indiana University, 1991
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 1998