Edward Ester

Assistant Professor
Headshot of Dr. Ester


Flexible and efficient behavior requires seamless integration of sensory, mnemonic, and motor information. How do you know whether it's safe to change lanes while driving down the highway? How do you recognize the objects in a scene? How do your beliefs, experiences, and knowledge influence how you perceive and interact with stimuli in the environment? ​ Behaviorally relevant information is ultimately combined in a general-purpose storage and processing system that we call working memory. A wealth of research suggests that working memory is a cornerstone of general cognitive ability: individual differences in working memory ability are strongly correlated with scores on tests of general intelligence and scholastic aptitude, and working memory disruptions are common in many psychiatric and neurological disorders (e.g., Schizophrenia and Parkinson's Disease). ​Research in the lab is focused on understanding how working memory "works". How does it represent and ultimately combine different sources of information to enable flexible behavior? Why do some people seem to be more "efficient" at utilizing this system, and how do these differences map on to cognitive abilities in both health and disease? To answer these questions, we leverage combinations of behavioral and modeling approaches, as well as non-invasive measures of human brain activity (EEG and fMRI).

Courses taught

  • PSY 403 - Physiological Psychology
  • PSY 474 - Integrative Neuroscience
  • SY 721 - Advanced Psychophysiology


  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Oregon, 2011
  • MS, Psychology, Villanova University, 2006
  • BA, Psychology, Nazareth College, 2004

Selected publications

  • Ester EF, Sprague TC, Serences JT (2020) Categorical Biases in human occipitoparietal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 40, 917-931 Ester EF, Nouri A, Rodriguez L (2018) Retrospective cues mitigate information loss in human cortex during working memory storage. Journal of Neuroscience, 38, 8538-8548
  • Ester EF, Sutterer DW, Serences JT, Awh E (2016) Feature-selective attentional modulations in human frontoparietal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 36, 8188-8199
  • Sprague TC, Ester EF, Serences JT (2016) Restoring latent visual working memory representations in human cortex. Neuron, 694-707
  • Ester EF, Sprague TC, Serences JT (2015) Parietal and frontal cortex encode stimulus-specific mnemonic representations during visual working memory. Neuron, 87, 893-905

Learn more about Dr. Ester's research