Wendy Heller

Professor and Head, Psychology Department
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Additional Campus Affiliations

Research Description

My primary focus is on the neurobiological correlates of emotional function, including the neurological and neuropsychological processes involved in mood and emotion regulation, the development of personality and psychopathology, and the interaction of emotional processes with cognition. I am particularly interested in investigating cognition-emotion interactions in psychopathology, particularly in anxiety and depression.Neuropsychological research has demonstrated not only that the cerebral hemispheres are specialized for different cognitive functions but also that they differ in their emotional organization. Areas of the brain that are involved in information processing are thus engaged in a variety of emotional processes, concurrently and in a complementary manner, that may influence or interact with cognition at various stages of the learning or memory process. My research specializes in examining how different aspects of brain organization, including lateralization of function, as well as more specific regions of interest, influence emotional, social, and cognitive functioning.


  • Ph.D. from the University of Chicago

Distinctions / Awards

  • Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award for remarkable leadership and commitment to diversity at Illinois


  • Neuropsychological Assessment
  • The autobiography of disability and mental illness

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Bredemeier, Keith, Stacie Warren, Howard Berenbaum, Gregory A. Miller, and Wendy Heller Executive function deficits associated with current and past major depressive symptoms. Journal of Affective Disorders 204 2016, p. 226-233.
Sharp, Paul B, Gregory A. Miller, and Wendy Heller Transdiagnostic dimensions of anxiety: Neural mechanisms, executive functions, and new directions. International Journal of Psychophysiology 98 2015, p. 365-377.
Hur, Juyoen, Gregory A. Miller, Jennifer McDavitt, Jeffrey M. Spielberg, Laura C. Crocker, Zachary P. Infantolino, David N. Towers, Stacie L. Warren, and Wendy Heller Interactive effects of trait and state affect on top-down control of attention. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience 10 2015, p. 1128-1136.
Kaiser, R H, J R Andrews-Hanna, J M Spielberg, S L Warren, B P Sutton, G A Miller, W Heller, and M T Banich Distracted and down: neural mechanisms of affective interference in subclinical depression Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 2014.
Letkiewicz, A M, G A Miller, L D Crocker, S L Warren, Z P Infantolino, K J Mimnaugh, and W Heller Executive function deficits in daily life prospectively predict increases in depressive symptoms Cognitive Therapy and Research 2014.
Snyder, H R, R H Kaiser, S L Warren, and W Heller Obsessive-compulsive disorder is associated with broad impairments in executive function: A meta-analysis Clinical Psychological Science 2014.
Spielberg, J M, A A De Leon, K Bredemeier, W Heller, A S Engels, S L Warren, L D Crocker, B P Sutton, and G A Miller Anxiety type modulates immediate vs. delayed engagement of attention-related brain regions Brain and Behavior 3 2013, p. 532-551.
Sussman, T J, W Heller, G A Miller, and A Mohanty Emotional distractors can enhance attention Psychological Science 24 2013, p. 2322-2328.
Crocker, L D, W Heller, S L Warren, A J O'Hare, Z P Infantolino, and G A Miller Relationships among cognition, emotion, and motivation: Implications for intervention and neuroplasticity in psychopathology Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7 2013, p. 271.
Warren, S L, L D Crocker, J M Spielberg, A S Engels, M T Banich, B P Sutton, G A Miller, and W Heller Cortical organization of inhibition-related functions and modulation by psychopathology Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7 2013, p. 271.