Photo of Professor Bruce Bartholow
104 McAlester Hall
Tenured/Tenure Track
Lab Information
121 Psychology Building
About the Lab

*******Dr. Bartholow WILL be considering graduate applicants (for either the Social/Personality or Clinical programs) for matriculation in the fall of 2023.**********


The Social Cognitive and Addiction Neuroscience Lab is focused on understanding how salience (i.e., motivational significance) and cognitive control (i.e., controlling attention to promote goal-directed action) interact to determine a range of social and clinical behaviors, including alcohol and other drug use, racial bias, and aggression.  We use a multimodal approach to measuring these constructs, combining electrophysiological, behavioral, and report-based methods. 

Research Interests

My research interests fall generally within four distinct yet overlapping areas: (1) the role of cognitive control in social behavior; (2) acute effects of alcohol on cognitive control; (3) individual differences in neurobiologically based risks for addiction, primarily alcohol use disorder; and (4) effects of incidental stimulus exposure on cognition and behavior (i.e., priming effects). The common theme around which these lines of work are integrated is the interplay between salience (i.e., motivational significance) and cognitive control.

In most of our research, we employ a combination of behavioral and psychophysiological measures (especially event-related brain potentials; ERPs) to provide a broad basis for understanding how environmental contingencies and stimulus events are interpreted and processed at a basic neurocognitive level, and how these basic processes mediate or explain overt behaviors.


B.A., Minnesota State University, 1992

M.S., Drake University, 1995

Ph.D., University of Missouri, 2000

Senior Editor, Psychophysiology

Past President, Society for Psychophysiological Research

Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the Society for Psychophysiological Research

Selected Publications

Irvin, K., Bell, D., Steinley, D., & Bartholow, B.D. (In Press). The thrill of victory: Savoring positive affect, psychophysiological reward processing, and symptoms of depression. Emotion.

Cofresí, R.U., Kohen, C., Motschman, C., Wiers, R.W., Piasecki, T.M., & Bartholow, B.D. (2022) Behavioral response bias and event-related brain potentials implicate elevated incentive salience attribution to alcohol cues in emerging adults with lower sensitivity to alcohol. Addiction 117, 892–904.

Martins, J.S., Joyner, K.J., McCarthy, D.M., Morris, D., Patrick, C.J., & Bartholow, B.D. (2022). Differential brain responses to alcohol-related and natural rewards are associated with alcohol use and problems: Evidence for reward dysregulation. Addiction Biology 27(2), e13118. 

Cofresí, R.U., Watts, A.L., Martins, J.S., Wood, P.K., Sher, K.J., Cowan, N., Miyake, A., & Bartholow, B.D. (2021) Acute effect of alcohol on working memory updating. Addiction, 116, 3029-3043.

Volpert-Esmond, H.I., & Bartholow, B.D. (2021). A functional coupling of brain and behavior during social categorization of faces. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 47(11), 1580-1595. 

Fleming, K.A., Cofresí, R.U., & Bartholow, B.D. (2021). Transfer of incentive salience from a first-order alcohol cue to a novel second-order alcohol cue among individuals at risk for alcohol use disorder: Electrophysiological evidence. Addiction, 116, 1734-1746.

Volpert-Esmond, H.I., Page-Gould, E., & Bartholow, B.D. (2021). Using multilevel models for the analysis of event-related potentials. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 162, 145-156.

Cofresí, R.U., & Bartholow, B.D. (2020). Acute effects of alcohol on error-elicited negative affect during a cognitive control task. Psychopharmacology237,3383–3397.

Hone, L.S.E., Scofield, J.E., Bartholow, B.D., & Geary, D. (2020). Frequency of recent binge drinking is associated with sex-specific cognitive deficits: Evidence for condition-dependent trait expression in humans. Evolutionary Psychology, 18(4), 1-13.

Cofresi, R.U., Bartholow, B.D., & Piasecki, T.M. (2019). Evidence for incentive salience sensitization as a pathway to alcohol use disorder. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 107, 897-926.

Volpert-Esmond, H.I., & Bartholow, B.D. (2019). Explicit categorization goals affect attention-related processing of race and gender during person construal. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 85, 103839.

Hilgard, J., Engelhardt, C.R., Rouder, J.N., Segert, I., & Bartholow, B.D. (2019). Null effects of game violence, game difficulty, and 2D:4D digit ratio on aggressive behavior.  Psychological Science, 30, 606-616.

Martins, J.S., Bartholow, B.D., Cooper, M.L., Irvin, K.M., & Piasecki, T.M. (2019). Interactive effects of naturalistic drinking context and alcohol sensitivity on neural alcohol cue-reactivity responses.  Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 43, 1777-1789.

Bartholow, B.D., Loersch, C., Ito, T.A., Levsen, M.P., Volpert-Esmond, H.I., Fleming, K.A., Bolls, P., & Carter, B.K. (2018). University-affiliated alcohol marketing enhances the incentive salience of alcohol cues. Psychological Science, 29, 83-94.  

Von Gunten, C., Volpert-Esmond, H. I., & Bartholow, B.D. (2018). Temporal dynamics of reactive cognitive control as revealed by event-related brain potentials. Psychophysiology, 55, e13007.

Bartholow, B.D., Fleming, K.A., Wood, P.K., Cowan, N., Saults, J.S., Altamirano, L., Miyake, A., Martins, J., & Sher, K.J. (2018). Alcohol effects on inhibition: Differences across tasks and individuals. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 26, 251-267.

Volpert-Esmond, H. I., Merkle, E. C., & Bartholow, B.D. (2017). The iterative nature of person construal: Evidence from event-related potentials. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12(7), 1097-1107.

Fleming, K.A., Bartholow, B.D., Hilgard, J., McCarthy, D.M., O’Neill, S.E., Steinley, D., & Sher, K.J. (2016). The Alcohol Sensitivity Questionnaire: Evidence for construct validity. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 40, 880-888.

Inzlicht, M., Bartholow, B. D., & Hirsh, J. B. (2015). Emotional foundations of cognitive control. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19, 126-132.

Ito, T. A., Friedman, N. P., Bartholow, B. D., Correll, J., Loersch, C., Altamirano, L., & Miyake, A. (2015). Toward a comprehensive model of executive cognitive function in implicit racial bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 108, 187–218.

Bailey, K., Bartholow, B. D., Saults, J. S., & Lust, S. A. (2014). Give me just a little more time: Effects of alcohol on the failure and recovery of cognitive control. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 123, 152–167.

Amodio, D. M., Bartholow, B. D., & Ito, T. A. (2014). Tracking the dynamics of the social brain: ERP approaches for Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9, 385-393.

Stepanova, E. V., Bartholow, B. D., Saults, J. S., & Friedman, R. S. (2012). Alcohol-related cues promote automatic racial bias. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 905-911.

Bartholow, B. D., Henry, E. A., Lust, S. A., Saults, J. S., & Wood, P. K. (2012). Alcohol effects on performance monitoring and adjustment: Affect modulation and impairment of evaluative cognitive control. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121, 173-186.

Loersch, C., & Bartholow, B. D. (2011). The color of safety: Ingroup color cues make beer appear safer. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 190-194.

Bartholow, B. D., Lust, S. A., & Tragesser, S. (2010). Specificity of P3 event-related potential reactivity to alcohol cues in individuals low in alcohol sensitivity.Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 24, 220-228.

Bartholow, B. D. (2010). On the role of conflict and control in social cognition: Event-related brain potential investigations. Psychophysiology, 47, 201-212.

Bartholow, B. D., Riordan, M. A., Saults, J. S., & Lust, S. A. (2009). Psychophysiological evidence of response conflict and strategic control of responses in affective priming. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 655-666.

Ito, T. A., & Bartholow, B. D. (2009). The neural correlates of race. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13, 524-531.

Bartholow, B. D., Henry, E. A., & Lust, S. A. (2007). Effects of alcohol sensitivity on P3 event-related potential reactivity to alcohol cues. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 21, 555-563.

Bartholow, B. D., Dickter, C. L., & Sestir, M. A. (2006). Stereotype activation and control of race bias: Cognitive control of inhibition and its impairment by alcohol. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 272-287.

Bartholow, B. D., & Heinz, A. (2006). Alcohol and aggression without consumption: Alcohol cues, aggressive thoughts, and hostile perception bias. Psychological Science, 17, 30-37.

Bartholow, B. D., Pearson, M. A., Dickter, C., Sher, K. J., Fabiani, M., & Gratton, G. (2005). Strategic control and medial frontal negativity: Beyond errors and response conflict. Psychophysiology, 42, 33-42.

Bartholow, B. D., Pearson, M. A., Gratton, G., & Fabiani, M. (2003). Effects of alcohol on person perception: A social cognitive neuroscience approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 627-638.

Bartholow, B. D., Fabiani, M., Gratton, G., & Bettencourt, B. A. (2001). A psychophysiological analysis of cognitive processing of and affective responses to social expectancy violations. Psychological Science, 12, 197-204.