Skip to body


Dr. Ralf Greenwald

Associate Professor of Psychology

Ph.D. Cognition and Neuroscience, University of Texas, Dallas

Office: Psychology Building Room 428
Phone: 509-963-3630

About Me

I am the director of the Brain Dynamics & Cognitive Neuroscience Lab here at CWU.  My research interests mainly deal with brain dynamics and the cognitive electrophysiology of the brain, specifically utilizing brain event-related potentials (ERPs) to study human cognition. My research has shown that there are slight differences in processing dichotic speech stimuli in young adults and I have extended this work to investigate effects of age-related hemispheric differences in the neural processing of dichotic information and linguistic processing.

Out of that body of research emerged another line of research interests dealing with the role of selective attention, hemispheric asymmetry, and its role in processing cognitive information. Our findings support the notion that ERP topographic asymmetries may be dependent on specific cognitive task demands (e.g., diotic vs. dichotic modes of presentation). In addition, data suggested that later occurring ERP components may better reflect interaural advantages for complex tones than earlier components, and may, therefore, be a more sensitive indicator of hemispheric specialization.

One of my new areas of interest is critical thinking, working memory and brain processing. We want to investigate how teaching techniques that foster critical thinking may alter brain electrophysiology and working memory. This project is in conjunction with the Department of Biology and Science Education.

In addition, my lab is also working on projects centered on the psychology of various aspects of online gaming and is in the process of creating a music cognition research group.

My lab team consists of both undergraduate and graduate students that are engaged at all levels of research.  Students in my lab have been authors of conference presentations and scientific manuscripts.

Courses Typically Taught at CWU

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience (Physiological Psychology)
  • Human Neuroanatomy
  • History & Systems of Psychology
  • Psychology of Language

Research Interests

  • General Cognition
  • Attention
  • Critical Thinking
  • Working Memory
  • Brain Dynamics and Neural Source Modeling
  • Music Cognition

Selected works:

  • Richardson, B., Felke, Z., Whorley, G., Medrano, M., Willimas, H., & Greenwald, R. (2015, May). Electrophysiological and behavioral working memory differences between musician and non-musicians. Symposium Of University Research & Creative Expression, CWU.
  • Richardson, B., Medrano, M., & Greenwald, R. (2015, May). Auditory reaction time and behavioral working memory differences between musicians and non-musicians. Symposium Of University Research & Creative Expression, CWU.
  • Greenwald, R. R., & Quitadamo, I J. (2014). A mind of their own: Using inquiry-based teaching to build critical thinking skills and intellectual engagement in an undergraduate neuroanatomy course.  Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 12: A100-A106.
  • Richardson, B., & Greenwald, R. (2014, May). Reaction time differences in video game and non-video game players. Symposium Of University Research & Creative Expression (SOURCE), CWU
  • Arthur, W., & Greenwald, R. (2013). Neural correlates of complex tone processing and hemispheric asymmetry. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, 5, 3.
  • Stefani, W.A., & Greenwald, R. (2013). Sex, power and women: Female viewer’s perceptions of popular music video themes. SOJ-Psychology, 1: 1-10.
  • Davis, T., Martin, J., Jerger, J., Greenwald, R., & Mehta, J. (2012). Auditory-cognitive interactions underlying interaural asymmetry in an adult listener: A case study.  International Journal of Audiology, 51, 124-134.