Schiller Laboratory

of Affective Neuroscience

Can we change our emotions?

how emotions are formed in the human brain


danielaCan we change our emotions? Our lab is interested in discovering the neural mechanisms underlying emotional control and flexibility. Because the environment we live in is constantly changing, we need to continuously update our emotional responses. In extreme situations, when emotional memories become traumatic, we might even wish to ‘erase’ emotional memories altogether. Our research team uses neuroimaging, pharmacology and psychophysiology to understand the neural mechanisms that make such emotional flexibility. We examine emotional processing in the normal brain and in patients with anxiety disorders, and hope to promote new forms of treatment.

Contact Us

Schiller Laboratory
Daniela Schiller, PhD
Professor, Neuroscience
Professor, Psychiatry
Lab: HESS CSM 9-111
Office: 212.824.8977



Clem, R. L., & Schiller, D. (2016). New Learning and Unlearning: Strangers or Accomplices in Threat Memory Attenuation? Trends in neurosciences, 39(5), 340-351.


Schiller, D., Eichenbaum, H., Buffalo, E. A., Davachi, L., Foster, D. J., Leutgeb, S., & Ranganath, C. (2015). Memory and space: towards an understanding of the cognitive map. The Journal of Neuroscience, 35(41), 13904-13911.

Kroes, M. C., Schiller, D., LeDoux, J. E., & Phelps, E. A. (2015). Translational Approaches Targeting Reconsolidation.

Zhang, Z., Mendelsohn, A., Manson, K. F., Schiller, D., & Levy, I. (2015). Dissociating value representation and inhibition of inappropriate affective response during reversal learning in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. eneuro, 2(6), ENEURO-0072.

Hildebrandt T, Grotzinger A, Reddan M, Greif R, Levy I, Goodman W, and Schiller D (2015) Testing the disgust conditioning theory of food-avoidance in adolescents with recent onset anorexia nervosa. Behaviour Research and Therapy 71, 131-138

Bentz D and Schiller D (2015) Threat processing: models and mechanisms WIREs: Cognitive Science, in press

Tavares R, William C, Grossman Y, Mendelsohn A, Shapiro M, Trope Y, and Schiller D (2015) A map for social navigation in the human brain. Neuron 87, 231-243 *Commentary by Howard Eichenbaum, The hippocampus as a cognitive map…of social space. Neuron 87, 9-11


Mendelsohn A, Pine A, and Schiller D (2014) Between Thoughts and Actions: Motivationally salient cues invigorate mental action in the human brain. Neuron 81, 207-217. [article]

Collins K, Mendelsohn A, Cain CK, and Schiller D. (2014) Taking action in the face of threat – Neural synchronization predicts adaptive coping The Journal of Neuroscience 34, 14733-14738.

Zhang Z, Manson K, Schiller D, and Levy I (2014) Impaired associative learning with food rewards in obese women. Current Biology 24, 1731-1736.

Apergis-Schoute AM, Schiller D, LeDoux JE, and Phelps EA (2014) Extinction resistant changes in the human auditory association cortex following threat learning. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 113, 109-114.

Mungee A, Kazzer P, Feeser M, Nitsche MA, Schiller D, and Bajbouj M (2014) Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) of the prefrontal cortex: a means to modulate fear memories. NeuroReport, in press. [article]


Schiller D, Kanen JW, LeDoux JE, Monfils MH, and Phelps EA (2013) Extinction during reconsolidation of threat memory diminishes prefrontal cortex involvement. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100, 20040-20045. [article]

Brosch T, Schiller D, Mojdehbakhsh R, Uleman J, and Phelps EA (2013) Neural mechanisms underlying the integration of situational information into attribution outcomes. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience 8, 640-646. [article]

Collins KA and Schiller D (2013) What can fear and reward learning teach us about depression? Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences 14, 223-242. [article]


Schiller D, Raio CM, and Phelps EA (2012) Extinction training during the reconsolidation window prevents recovery of fear. Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) 66, e3893. [article]

Meet the Team

Philipp Homan, MD, PhD

Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow


My research interest is the involvement of consciousness in the acquisition and extinction of fear. Fear extinction without awareness may hold therapeutic potential in patients with anxiety disorders. I am therefore excited to study the neural correlates of nonconscious fear updating mechanisms in healthy subjects and patients with anxiety disorders.

Alison Montagrin, PhD

Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow


My PhD focused on understanding the influence of emotion on memory. More specifically, I tested how goal relevance affects memory. In the Schiller Lab, my research aims to understand how episodic memory is processed over time at neural and psychological levels.

Catarina Saiote, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


I use emerging structural MRI and functional MRI methods to study whole-brain dynamics during cognitive processes in several disorders. Currently I’m studying network interactions and mechanisms underlying social interactions in healthy humans and a range of psychiatric conditions.

Denise Croote

PhD Candidate Research Fellow

denisecroote-140x175As an undergraduate in the lab of Alexander Jaworski at Brown I developed and characterized genetic tools for neural circuit mapping in mice. In the Schiller lab, I am interested in studying episodic memory and my research aims to elucidate how memories are organized within the hippocampus.

Nadia Rahman

MS Candidate Research Fellow

nadia-rahman-140x175I have always been interested in the intersection of human rights and research. As an undergraduate, I conducted research on acid and burn injuries among victims of human trafficking. After graduating, I participated in research that examined the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. My ultimate goal is to research and develop more effective neurobiological treatments for PTSD

MacKenzie Boatman

High school research intern

mackenzie-boatman-140x175I am currently a rising Junior in high school. I participate in the Advanced Science Research Program at my school. Through this program I will design and conduct an experiment of my own making, with the help and guidance of my mentor here at the Schiller Lab. I am very interested in neuroscience and I am very excited to perform my study throughout the next two years.


ripple project logo
The Ripple Project – “Reconsolidation” documentary
A daughter discovers synchronicity between her scientific career and her father’s method of coping with his traumatic past. Reconsolidation begins with a clinical look into a neurological experiment as neuroscientist Dr. Daniela Schiller, labors to discover the key to rewriting fearful memories — reconsolidation

MIT Tech Review Bad MemoriesMIT Technology Review: Repairing Bad Memories by Stephen S Hall. [article]

TedYouthTEDYouth: “The act of remembering is a new experience in itself. Each time we retrieve a memory and re-store it, it’s a little bit different—what we remember is not the original event, it’s our latest version of it.”

Daniela Schiller joins a group of passionate speakers who inspire creativity, share mind-shifting stories, and engage the TED Youth audience in ways that every student deserves (Nov. 19). [article]

schiller partial recall
The New Yorker (May 19) “Partial Recall” by Michael Specter

The Royal Society Summer Science ExhibitionThe Royal Society: “Does emotion serve a particular function? How important is emotion in artistic expression? How do we study emotion in science and the arts?”

Daniela Schiller joins Ray Dolan, Professor of Neuropsychiatry at UCL, on a panel of experts representing the literary world and the visual arts to discuss these and other fascinating questions. [article] [webcast]

NYAM Our research was awarded the Blavatnik award of the New York Academy of Sciences. [article] [interview]Blavatnik Award Info


New York Times: “A new study suggests that doctors can take advantage of the brain’s natural updating process—the way it might soften its impression of, say, pit bulls after seeing a playful one—to treat phobias, post-traumatic stress and other anxiety disorders.” [article]

Studio 360 Live: Stories on memory.
Neuroscientist Daniela Schiller’s father rebuffed her attempts to talk about his experiences of the Holocaust. It wasn’t until years later that she came to understand him better.

Balloon “Research suggests a simple way to neutralise memories that evoke fear, but perhaps it is by learning to cope with life’s random tragedies that we develop as humans?” [article]

Nature imageNature: Video on our non-invasive way to affect memory reconsolidation in humans. [video]

Nature NeuropodNature: NeuroPod is the neuroscience podcast from Nature, produced in association with the Dana Foundation. NeuroPod included us in the most important studies of the year 2009. [podcast]

EmTech: Neuroengineering – The Future is Now: Daniela Schiller, Associate Professor, Mount Sinai Hospital on groundbreaking research on memory , and whether we might enable us to block highly traumatic memories.

The Science Network Dr. Daniela SchillerTSN – The Science Network: Daniela Schiller talks to Roger Bingham about how she got into science and reviews research, including her own, on modifying fear memories. [video] ted_youth

Brain Guardian “Ancient brain circuits light up so we can judge people on first impressions.” [article]