Arthur Kramer



  • 1301 Beckman Institute
  • 405 North Mathews Avenue
  • Urbana, Illinois 61801


Arthur Kramer is the Director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology (as of June 2010) and the Swanlund Chair and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Illinois.   He received his Ph.D. in Cognitive/Experimental Psychology from the University of Illinois in 1984. He holds appointments in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience program, and the Beckman Institute. Professor Kramer’s research projects include topics in Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Aging, and Human Factors.  A major focus of his labs recent research is the understanding and enhancement of cognitive and neural plasticity across the lifespan.  He is a former Associate Editor of Perception and Psychophysics and is currently a member of six editorial boards. Professor Kramer is also a fellow of the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, a former member of the executive committee of the International Society of Attention and Performance, and a recent recipient of a NIH Ten Year MERIT Award. Professor Kramer’s research has been featured in a long list of print, radio and electronic media including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, CBS Evening News, Today Show, NPR and Saturday Night Live.


Art Kramer's research focuses on several different topics. First, he and his students are interested in understanding changes in various aspects of cognition, and the supporting brain structure and function, across the adult lifespan. For example, he has been examining the manner in which executive control processes (e.g. planning, scheduling, working memory, inhibition, task coordination) change from early to late adulthood and has discovered that contrary to the modal view changes in these processes are selective rather than general in nature. Furthermore, he has found substantial individual differences in the rate of change in these processes across the adult lifespan and is currently examining the source of these differences. Second, Kramer and his students are interested in interventions that can capitalize on the cognitive and brain plasticity of older adults in an effort to enhance cognitive vitality throughout the lifespan. To that end, they have conducted, and are in the process of conducting, a series of randomized clinical trials exploring the effects of aerobic fitness training and cognitive training on brain function and selective aspects of cognition of older adults. In recent cross-sectional and longitudinal studies they have discovered substantial sparing of selective regions of cortical gray and white matter for lifetime exercisers and have also observed that older individuals who are aerobically trained show interesting changes, potentially reflecting more efficient processing, in patterns of cortical activation (as reflected through fMRI), as they perform a series of cognitive tasks. Ongoing research is following up these intriguing findings and examining the influence of multi-task training on regional changes in patterns of brain activation of old and young adults.

Kramer and his research group are also interested in understanding how humans search for and extract critical details of the visual environment. To that end they have developed a number of novel paradigms, in collaboration with their colleagues at the University of Illinois and other universities, to examine issues such as the manner in which covert and overt (eye movements) attention are coordinated during visual search, the role and nature of memory processes during search in complex visual environments, and the manner in which humans construct and maintain representations of scenes as they move through complex environments. He has been examining these issues in both well controlled laboratory environments as well as in simulated real-world environments such as automobile driving (using the high fidelity driving simulator in the Beckman Institute) and in artificial environments created in Beckman Institutes six-sided CUBE.

To these research questions, Kramer and colleagues bring to bear methodologies ranging from reaction time and accuracy, and simulation and mathematical modeling to neuroimaging techniques, such as event-related brain potentials and functional and anatomical MRI.

Kramer's research receives support from the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Institute for the Study of Aging, General Motors Corporation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.


  • 2012
    • Wheatley, D.M., Scialfa, C.T., Boot, W., Kramer, A. & Alexander, A. (2012).  Minimal age-related deficits in task switching, inhibition, and oculomotor control. Experimental Aging Research, 38, 110-129.

    • Chaddock, L., Erickson, K., Prakash, R., Voss, M., VanPatter, M., Pontifex, M., Hillman, C.  & Kramer, A.F. (2012).  A Functional MRI Investigation of the Association Between Childhood Aerobic Fitness and Neurocognitive Control. Biological Psychology, 89, 260-268.

    • Anderson-Hanley, C., Arcieo, P.J.,  Brickman, A.M., Nimon, J.P.,  Okuma, O.,  Westen, S.C.,  Merz, M.E.,  Pence, B.D., Woods, J., Kramer, A.F. & Zimmerman, E.A. (2012).  Exergaming Improves Older Adult Cognition: A Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 42(2), 109-119.

    • Voss, M.W., Prakash, R.S., Erickson, K.I., Boot, W.R., Basak, C., Neider, M.B., Simons, D.B., Fabiani, M., Gratton, G., & Kramer, A.F. (2012). Effects of training strategies implemented in a complex videogame on functional connectivity of attentional networks. NeuroImage, 59 (1), 138-148. 

    • Erickson, K.I., Weinstein, A.M., Sutton, B.P., Prakash, R.P., Voss, M., Chaddock, L., Szabo, A., Mailey, E., White, S., Wojcicki, T., McAuley, E. & Kramer, A.F. (2012). Beyond vascularization: Aerobic fitness is associated with n-acetylasparate and memory. Brain & Behavior, 2(1), 32-41.

    • Lee, H., Boot, W., Basak, C., Voss, M., Prakash, R., Neider, M., Erickson, K., Simons, D., Fabiani, M., Gratton, G., Low, K. & Kramer, A.F. (2012). Performance gains from directed training do not transfer to untrained tasks. Acta Psychologica, 139, 146-158.

    • Chaddock, L., Neider, M.B., Lutz, A., Hillman, C.H. & Kramer, A.F. (2012). The role of childhood aerobic fitness in successful street crossing. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 44(4), 749-753.

    • Lee, H., Mozer, M.C., Kramer, A.F. & Vecera, S.P. (2012). Object-based control of attention to recent experience. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 38(2), 314-325.

    • Lee, H., Voss, M., Prakash, R., Boot, W., Vo, L., Basak, C., VanPatter, M., Gratton, G., Fabiani, M. & Kramer, A.F. (2012). Videogame training strategy-induced change in brain function during a complex visuomotor task. Behavioural Brain Research, 232, 348-357.

    • Chaddock, L., Hillman, C., Pontifex, M., Johnson, C., Raine, L. & Kramer, A.F. (2012). Childhood aerobic fitness predicts cognitive performance one year later. Journal of Sports Sciences, 30(5), 421-430.

    • Weinstein, A., Voss, M., Prakash, R., Chaddock, L., Szabo, A., White, S., Wojcicki, T., Mailey, E., McAuley, E., Kramer, A.F. & Erickson, K. (in press). The association between aerobic fitness and executive function is mediated by prefrontal cortex volume. Brain, Behavior & Immunity.

    • Mullen, S.P., Olson, E.A., White, S.A., Szabo, A.N., Wojcicki, T.R., Mailey, E.L., Gothe, N.P., Fanning, J.T., Kramer, A,F. & McAuley, E. (in press). Measuring enjoyment of physical activity in older adults: Invariance of the physical activity enjoyment scale (PACES) across groups and time. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

    • Voss, M., Chaddock, L., Kim, J., VanPatter, M., Pontifex, M., Raine, L., Cohen, N., Hillman, C. H., Kramer, A.F. (in press). Aerobic fitness is associated with greater efficiency of the network underlying cognitive control in preadolescent children. Neuroscience.

    • Lee, K., Baniqued, P., Cosman, J., Mullen, S., McAuley, E., Severson, J. & Kramer, A.F. (in press). Examining cognitive function across the lifespan using a mobile application. Computers in Human Behavior.

    • Wojcicki, T., Szabo, A., White, S., Mailey, E., Kramer, A.F. & McAuley, E. (in press). The Perceived Importance of Physical Activity: Associations with Psychosocial and Health-Related Outcomes Journal of Physical Activity & Health.

    • Prakash, R., DeLeon, A., Mourany, L., Lee, H., Voss, M., Boor, W., Basak, C., Fabiani, M., Gratton, G. & Kramer, A.F. (in press). Examining neural correlates of skill acquisition in a complex videogame training program. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

    • Voss, M., Heo, S., Prakash, R., Erickson, K.I., Alves, H., Chaddock, L., Szabo, A., Mailey, E., Wojcicki, T., White, S., Gothe, N., McAuley, E., Surron, B. & Kramer, A.F. (in press). The influence of aerobic fitness on cerebral white matter integrity and cognitive function in older adults: Results of a one year exercise study. Human Brain Mapping.

    • Chaddock, L., Voss, M.W., & Kramer, A.F. (2012). Physical activity and fitness effects on cognition and brain health in children and older adults. Kinesiology Review, 1, 37-45.

    • Lee, H.; Boot, W. R.; Basak, C.; Voss, M. W.; Prakash, R. S.; Neider, M.; Erickson, K. I.; Simons, D. J.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G.; Low, K. A.; Kramer, A. F., Performance Gains from Directed Training Do Not Transfer to Untrained Tasks. Acta Psychologica 2012, 139, (1), 146-158.

    • Voss, M. W.; Prakash, R. S.; Erickson, K. I.; Boot, W. R.; Basak, C.; Neider, M. B.; Simons, D. J.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G.; Kramer, A. F., Effects of Training Strategies Implemented in a Complex Videogame on Functional Connectivity of Attentional Networks. Neuroimage 2012, 59, (1), 138-148.

    • Lee, H.; Mozer, M. C.; Kramer, A. F.; Vecera, S. P., Object-Based Control of Attention Is Sensitive to Recent Experience. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Human Perception and Performance 2012, 38, (2), 314-325.

    • Uc, E.; Magnotta, V.; Doerschug, K.; Mehta, S.; Thomsen, T.; Kline, J.; Rizzo, M.; Grabowski, T.; Bruss, J.; Newman, S.; Nicol, J.; Anderson, S.; Dawson, J.; Kramer, A.; Darling, W., Aerobic Fitness, Cognition, and Brain Networks in Parkinson's Disease. Neurology 2012, 78.

    • Wheatley, D. M.; Scialfa, C. T.; Boot, W.; Kramer, A.; Alexander, A., Minimal Age-Related Deficits in Task Switching, Inhibition, and Oculomotor Control. Experimental Aging Research 2012, 38, (1), 110-129.

  • 2011
    • Voss, M. W.; Nagamatsu, L. S.; Liu-Ambrose, T.; Kramer, A. F., Exercise, Brain, and Cognition across the Life Span. Journal of Applied Physiology 2011, 111, (5), 1505-1513.

    • McAuley, E.; Mullen, S. P.; Szabo, A. N.; White, S. M.; Wojcicki, T. R.; Mailey, E. L.; Gothe, N. P.; Olson, E. A.; Voss, M.; Erickson, K.; Prakash, R.; Kramer, A. F., Self-Regulatory Processes and Exercise Adherence in Older Adults Executive Function and Self-Efficacy Effects. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2011, 41, (3), 284-290.

    • Mullen, S. P.; Olson, E. A.; Phillips, S. M.; Szabo, A. N.; Wojcicki, T. R.; Mailey, E. L.; Gothe, N. P.; Fanning, J. T.; Kramer, A. F.; McAuley, E., Measuring Enjoyment of Physical Activity in Older Adults: Invariance of the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (Paces) across Groups and Time. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8, DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-8-103.

    • Mullen, S. P.; Olson, E. A.; Phillips, S. M.; Szabo, A. N.; Wojcicki, T. R.; Mailey, E. L.; Gothe, N. P.; Fanning, J. T.; Kramer, A. F.; McAuley, E., Measuring Enjoyment of Physical Activity in Older Adults: Invariance of the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (Paces) across Groups and Time. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8, DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-8-103.

    • Neider, M. B.; Kramer, A. F., Older Adults Capitalize on Contextual Information to Guide Search. Experimental Aging Research 2011, 37, (5), 539-571.

    • Szabo, A. N.; McAuley, E.; Erickson, K. I.; Voss, M.; Prakash, R. S.; Mailey, E. L.; Wojcicki, T. R.; White, S. M.; Gothe, N.; Olson, E. A.; Kramer, A. F., Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Hippocampal Volume, and Frequency of Forgetting in Older Adults. Neuropsychology 2011, 25, (5), 545-553.

    • Chaddock, L.; Neider, M. B.; Voss, M. W.; Gaspar, J. G.; Kramer, A. F., Do Athletes Excel at Everyday Tasks? Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2011, 43, (10), 1920-1926.

    • Chaddock, L.; Pontifex, M. B.; Hillman, C. H.; Kramer, A. F., A Review of the Relation of Aerobic Fitness and Physical Activity to Brain Structure and Function in Children. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 2011, 17, (6), 975-985.

    • Gothe, N. P.; Mullen, S. P.; Wojcicki, T. R.; Mailey, E. L.; White, S. M.; Olson, E. A.; Szabo, A. N.; Kramer, A. F.; McAuley, E., Trajectories of Change in Self-Esteem in Older Adults: Exercise Intervention Effects. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 2011, 34, (4), 298-306.

    • Voss, M. W.; Chaddock, L.; Kim, J. S.; Vanpatter, M.; Pontifex, M. B.; Raine, L. B.; Cohen, N. J.; Hillman, C. H.; Kramer, A. F., Aerobic Fitness Is Associated with Greater Efficiency of the Network Underlying Cognitive Control in Preadolescent Children. Neuroscience 2011, 199, 166-176.

    • Flicker, L., Ambrose, T.L. & Kramer, A.F. (2011). Why so negative about preventing cognitive decline and dementia? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45(6), 465-467.

    • Theeuwes, J., Kramer, A,F. & Irwin, D.E. (2011).  Attention on our mind:  The role of spatial attention in visual working memory.  Acta Psychologica, 137, 248-251.

    • Neider, M. & Kramer, A.F. (2011). Older adults capitalize on contextual information to guide search. Experimental Aging Research, 37, 539-571.

    • Pontifex, M. B.; Raine, L. B.; Johnson, C. R.; Chaddock, L.; Voss, M. W.; Cohen, N. J.; Kramer, A. F.; Hillman, C. H., Cardiorespiratory Fitness and the Flexible Modulation of Cognitive Control in Preadolescent Children. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2011, 23, (6), 1332-1345.

    • Vo, L., Walther, D., Kramer, A.F., Erickson, K., Boot, W., Voss, M., Prakash, R., Lee, H., Fabiani, M., Gratton, G., Simons, D., Sutton, B. & Wang, M. (2011). Predicting Individuals’ Learning Success from Patterns of Pre-learning MRI Activity. PLoS One, 6(1), 1-9.

    • Erickson, K.I.,  Voss, M., Prakash, R., Basak, C., Chaddock, L., Kim, J., Heo, S., Alves, H., White, S., Wojcicki, T.,  Mailey, E., Vieira, V.,  Martin, S., Pence, B., Woods, J., McAuley, E. & Kramer, A.F. (2011). Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(7), 3017-3022.

    • McAuley, E., Mailey, EL., Mullen, SP., Szabo, AN., Wójcicki, TR., White, SM., Gothe, N., Olson, EA., & Kramer, AF. (2011). Growth trajectories of exercise self-efficacy in older adults: Influence of measures and initial status. Health Psychology, 30, 75-83.

    • Neider, M., Gasper, J.G., McCarley, J.S., Crowell, J.A., Kaczmarski, H. & Kramer, A.F. (2011). Walking and talking: Dual-task effects on street crossing behavior in older adults. Psychology & Aging, 26(2), 260-268.

    • Prakash, R., Voss, M., Erickson, K., Lewis, J., Chaddock, L., Malkowski, E., Alves, H., Kim, J., Szabo, A., White, S., Wojcicki, T., Klamm, E., McAuley, E. & Kramer, A.F. (2011). Cardiorespiratory fitness and attentional control in the aging brain. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 4 (229), 1-12.

    • Szabo, A., Mullen, S.P., White, S.M., Wojcicki, T.M., Mailey, E.L., Gothe, N., Olson, E.A., Fanning, J., Kramer. A.F. & McAuley, E. (2011). Longitudinal invariance and construct validity of the abbreviated late-life function and disability instrument in healthy older adult. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 92, 785-791.

    • Voss, M., Nagamatsu, L., Liu-Ambrose, T. & Kramer, A.F. (2011).  Exercise, brain, and cognition across the lifespan.  Journal of Applied Physiology, 111, 1505-1513.

    • Chaddock, L., Pontifex, M., Hillman, C. H. & Kramer, A.F. (2011). A review of the relation of aerobic fitness and physical activity to brain structure and function in children. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 17, 1-11.

    • Wu, C.T., Pontifex, M. B., Raine, L. B., Chaddock, L., Voss, M. W., Kramer, A. F., & Hillman, C. H. (2011). Aerobic fitness and response variability in preadolescent children performing a cognitive control task. Neuropsychology, 25, 333-341.

    • McAuley, E., Szabo, A.N., Mailey, E.L., Erickson, K.I., Voss, M., White, S.M., Wojcicki, T.R., Gother, N., Olson, E.A., Mullen, S.P. & Kramer, A.F. (2011). Non-exercise estimated cardiorespiratory fitness: Associations with brain structure, cognition, and memory complaints in older adults. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 4, 5-11.

    • Nagamatsu, L., Voss, M., Neider, M., Gasper, J., Handy, T., Kramer, A.F. & Liu-Ambrose, T. (2011). Increased cognitive load leads to impaired mobility decisions in seniors at risk for falls:  A virtual reality experiment. Psychology & Aging, 26(2), 253-259.

    • Basak, C., Voss, M., Erickson, K., Boot, W. & Kramer, A.F.  (2011).  Regional differences in brain volume predict the acquisition of skill in a complex real-time strategy videogame. Brain and Cognition, 76, 407-414.

    • Szabo, A.N., McAuley, E., Erickson, K.I., Voss, M., Prakash, R.S., Mailey, E,L., Wojcicki, T.R.,  White, S.M., Gothe, N., Olson, E.A. & Kramer, A.F. (2011).  Cardiorespiratory fitness, hippocampal volume, and frequency of forgetting in older adults.  Neuropsychology, 25(5), 543-553.

    • McAuley, E., Mullen, S.P., Szabo, A.N., White, S.M.,  Wojcicki, T.R., Mailey, E.L., Gothe, N.P., Olson, E.A., Voss, M., Erickson, K., Prakash, R. & Kramer, A.F. (2011).  Self-regulatory processes and exercise adherence in older adults: Executive function and self-efficacy effects. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 41(3), 284-290.

    • Cramer, S., Sur, M., Dobkin, B., O’Brien, C., Sanger, T., Trojanowski, J., Rumsey, J., Hicks, R., Cameron, J., Chen, D., Chen, W., Cohen, L., deCharms, C., Duffy, C., Eden, G., Fetz, E., Filart, R., Freund, M., Grant, S., Haber, S., Kalivas, P., Kolb, B., Kramer, A,F., Lynch, M., Mayberg, H., McQuillen, P., Nitkin, R., Pascual-Leon, A., Reuter-Lorenz, P., Schiff, N., Sharma, A., Shekim, L., Stryker, M., Sullivan, E. & Vinogradov, S. (2011).  Harnessing neural plasticity in clinical applications. Brain, 134, 1591-1609.

    • Maclin, E. L., Mathewson, K.E., Low, K.A., Boot, W.R., Kramer, A,F., Fabiani, M. & Gratton, G. (2011).  Learning to multitask:  Effects of video game practice on electrophysiological indices of attention and resource allocation. Psychophysiology, 48, 1173-1183.

    • Chaddock, L., Neider, M., Voss, M.W., Gasper, J.G. &  Kramer, A.F. (2011).  Do athletes excel at everyday tasks? Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 43(10, 1920-1926.


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