Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
B.A., DePauw University; Biology & Psychology
M.A., University of Michigan; Behavioral Neuroscience
Ph.D., University of Michigan; Behavioral Neuroscience  

Phone: (419) 372-9408
Office: Room 348, Psychology Building
Lab Page: Biology of Affect and Motivation (BAM) Lab

Taking Graduate Students? Yes
Sponsoring Undergraduate Research? Yes

Research Interests:

Brain mechanisms of reward and motivation, physiology of attention and neural inhibition, neurophysiology of the basal ganglia system, and Neuroscience of social behavior and communication.

Our research in the Biology of Affect and Motivation laboratory is involved in studying the brain basis of reward processing.  Specifically current work is focused on reward relativity or the ability to update reward value as new outcomes are being experienced.  Our findings highlight the process involves basal ganglia circuits that can track these value shifts in a rapid manner and are sensitive to systematic changes in value along a well-controlled preference hierarchy.  These abilities could form the basis for choice and preference as rapid implicit reward updates continuously occurring in brain networks key to the reward process.  One latest study in the lab in this area revealed significant deficits in relative reward updating in an animal model of addiction.  A future goal is to examine these deficits in detail and possibly uncover a core impairment in reward processing involved in the transition to addiction, a deficit with a detectable neural basis that can be tracked and manipulated.  Implications are for novel biomarkers of addiction and new avenues in treatment development.

Selected Publications:

Knauss ZT, Filipovic M, Smith KA, Queener MM, Lubera JA, Bolden-Hall NM, Smith JP, Goldsmith RS, Bischoff JE, Miller MK, Cromwell HC. Effort-reward balance and work motivation in rats: Effects of context and order of experience. Behav Processes. 2020 Dec;181:104239. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2020.104239.

Cromwell HC, Abe N, Barrett KC, et al. (2020) Mapping the interconnected neural systems underlying motivation and emotion: A key step toward understanding the human affectome.  Neurosci Biobehav Rev.;113: 204-226. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.02.032.

Cromwell HC. (2019) Translating striatal activity from brain slice to whole animal neurophysiology: A guide for neuroscience research integrating diverse levels of analysis. J Neurosci Res. 97(12):1528-1545. doi: 10.1002/jnr.24480.

Cromwell, HC, Tremblay, L and Wolfram Schultz (2018) Neural encoding of choice during a delayed response task in primate striatum and orbitofrontal cortex. Experimental Brain Research; 236(6), 1679-1688,

H. M. Douglas & Dr H.C. Cromwell. (2018) A possible social relative reward effect:  Influences of outcome inequity between rats during operant responding Article reference: BEPROC3694 Journal title: Behavioural Processes: Accepted manuscript available online: 7-JUL-2018 DOI information: 10.1016/j.beproc.2018.06.016

McGraw JJ, Zona LC, Cromwell HC (2017) The effects of ethanol on diverse components of choice in the rat: reward discrimination, preference and relative valuation. Eur J Neurosci.;46(3):1837-1849. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13627. Epub 2017 Jul 30

Webber ES, Mankin DE, and Cromwell HC (2016) Striatal activity and reward relativity: Neural signals encoding dynamic outcome valuation. eNeuro;3(5). pii: eNEURO.0022-16.2016. eCollection.

Effects of striatal lesions on components of choice: Reward discrimination, preference, and relative valuation. Behav Brain Res. 2016 Dec 15;315:130-40. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2016.08.031. Epub 2016 Aug 17.

Fractionating choice: A study on reward discrimination, preference, and relative valuation in the rat (Rattus norvegicus).  J Comp Psychol. 2016 May;130(2):174-86. doi: 10.1037/com0000034 

Relative reward processing in primate striatum.Cromwell HC, Hassani OK, Schultz W. Exp Brain Res. 2005 May;162(4):520-5.

Courses Taught:

  • PSYC 3320 Neuroscience of Emotions and Motivation (with Laboratory) (undergraduate)
  • PSYC 4400 Forensic Neuroscience (The brain and the law)
  • PSYC 4400 Emotions and Life (undergraduate)
  • PSYC 7140 Psychobiology (graduate)
  • PSYC 7810 Current Topics in Affective and Motivational Neuroscience (graduate)
    • Rhythms of the Brain: A focus on brain oscillations, chaos and psychology
    • A contemporary look at the work of Dr. Jaak Panksepp
    • Functional Neuroanatomy of the Basal Ganglia System

Updated: 05/27/2021 04:37PM