Kimberly Chiew

Kimberly Sarah Chiew

Associate Professor

  • Faculty

What I do

I am an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Denver, conducting research, teaching, student mentoring, and university service with a focus on human cognitive and affective neuroscience.


cognitive control and episodic memory, cognitive neuroscience, motivational and affective influences on cognition, neuromodulatory influences on cognition, role of individual differences

Professional Biography

Kimberly S. Chiew is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and director of the Motivation, Affect, & Cognition Lab at the University of Denver. Dr. Chiew received an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from the University of Toronto, an MA and PhD in cognitive psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University before beginning her present position at the University of Denver in Fall 2017. Dr. Chiew is interested in how human motivation and affect — what we want and how we feel — shape the way we allocate attention, control task performance, and learn new information; ultimately, supporting adaptive behavior.


  • Ph.D., Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis, 2013
  • MA, Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis, 2009
  • BS, Neuroscience, University of Toronto, 2005

Professional Affiliations

  • Cognitive Neuroscience Society
  • Psychonomic Society
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Association for Psychological Science
  • American Educational Research Association


I am director of the DU Motivation, Affect, & Cognition (MAC) Lab, investigating the mechanisms by which motivation and affect influence human cognition and behavior. How we feel and what we want play a critical role in driving our thoughts, actions, and memories; our lab aims to characterize the psychological and neural processes that underlie these relationships.

With a specific focus on cognitive control -- flexible maintenance, updating, and inhibition functions enabling controlled performance -- and episodic memory -- detail-rich, long-term memory representations of specific events, we investigate the impact of motivational contexts on cognitive processes supporting adaptive human behavior.

The MAC Lab uses a combination of behavioral paradigms, psychophysiology (including facial EMG and pupillometry), functional neuroimaging (fMRI), and video analysis of behavior in naturalistic environments to investigate these effects.

Key Projects

  • Beyond Reward: Approach & Avoidance Motivation Generate Functional Contexts for Cognitive Control & Adaptive Memory
  • Investigating temporal dynamics of motivation-cognitive control interactions in children with ADHD using high-resolution pupillometry

Featured Publications

Chiew, K. S., Hashemi, J., Gans, L. K., Lerebours, L., Clement, N. J., Vu, M. T., et al. (2018). Motivational valence alters memory formation without altering exploration of a real-life spatial environment. PloS one, 13(3), e0193506.
Chiew, K. S., Stanek, J. K., & Adcock, R. A. (2016). Reward Anticipation Dynamics during Cognitive Control and Episodic Encoding: Implications for Dopamine. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 10, 555.
Chiew, K. S., & Braver, T. S. (2013). Temporal dynamics of motivation-cognitive control interactions revealed by high-resolution pupillometry. Frontiers in psychology, 4, 15.
Chiew, K. S., & Braver, T. S. (2011). Positive affect versus reward: emotional and motivational influences on cognitive control. Frontiers in psychology, 2, 279.
Chiew, K. S., & Braver, T. S. (2011). Neural circuitry of emotional and cognitive conflict revealed through facial expressions. PloS one, 6(3), e17635.


  • Rising Star Award, Association for Psychological Science

Graduate Mentorship

Dr. Chiew will be reviewing applications for fall 2024 admission.