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Aaron Kucyi

Aaron Kucyi, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences


  • PhD, Institute of Medical Science & Collaborative Program in Neuroscience, University of Toronto, 2014
  • BSc Hons, Biology, York University, 2009

Curriculum Vitae:

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Research Interests:

  • Brain networks
  • Mental health
  • Spontaneous thought
  • Attention
  • Experience sampling
  • fMRI
  • Intracranial EEG


Aaron Kucyi is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. He completed a PhD at the University of Toronto, followed by postdoctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Stanford University.

Kucyi directs the Dynamic Brain and Mind Lab, a cognitive and clinical neuroscience research program. The Lab has a scientific focus on the neural basis of subjective experiences that occur during spontaneous thought, mind-wandering, and rumination. These experiences occupy up to half of a person’s typical waking life and significantly impact mental health. With an improved understanding of the variability in mental life across different individuals, the Lab aims to facilitate the development of personalized neuromodulation tools that can promote healthy patterns of thinking and experience.

Kucyi’s research involves various techniques in human neuroscience, including functional MRI (fMRI), intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG), and scalp EEG. Study participants include healthy individuals and various clinical populations. Current research projects involve real-time fMRI, simultaneous EEG-fMRI, experience sampling paradigms, and computational analyses of brain network data.

Kucyi’s research has appeared in journals such as PNAS, Nature Communications, and the Journal of Neuroscience. His efforts have received support and funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

Selected Publications:

  • Kucyi, A., Esterman, M., Capella, J., Green, A., Uchida, M., Biederman, J., Gabrieli, J.D.E., Valera, E.M., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., 2021. “Prediction of stimulus-independent and task-unrelated thought from functional brain networks.” Nature Communications 12(1):1-17. 
  • Kucyi, A., Parvizi, J., 2020. “Pupillary dynamics link spontaneous and task-evoked activations recorded directly from human insula.” Journal of Neuroscience 40(32):6207-6218. 
  • Kucyi, A., Daitch, A., Raccah, O., Zhao, B., Zhang, C., Esterman, M., Zeineh, M., Halpern, C.H., Zhang, K., Zhang, J., Parvizi, J., 2020. “Electrophysiological dynamics of antagonistic brain networks reflect attentional fluctuations.” Nature Communications 11(1):325. 
  • Kucyi, A., Schrouff, J., Bickel, S., Foster, B.L., Shine, J.M., Parvizi, J., 2018. “Intracranial electrophysiology reveals reproducible intrinsic functional connectivity within human brain networks.” Journal of Neuroscience 38(17):4230-4242. 
  • Kucyi, A., Tambini, A., Sadaghiani, S., Keilholz, S.D., Cohen, J.R., 2018. “Spontaneous cognitive processes and the behavioral validation of time-varying brain connectivity.” Network Neuroscience 2(4):397-417. 
  • Kucyi, A., 2018. “Just a thought: How mind-wandering is represented in dynamic brain connectivity.” Neuroimage 180:505-514. 
  • Kucyi, A., Hove, M.J., Esterman, M., Hutchison, R.M., Valera, E.M., 2017. “Dynamic Brain Network Correlates of Spontaneous Fluctuations in Attention.” Cerebral Cortex 27(3):1831-1840. 
  • Kucyi, A., Esterman, M., Riley, C.S., Valera, E.M., 2016. “Spontaneous default network activity reflects behavioral variability independent of mind-wandering.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(48):13899-13904. 
  • Kucyi, A., Davis, K.D., 2014. “Dynamic functional connectivity of the default mode network tracks daydreaming.” NeuroImage 100:471-80. 
  • Kucyi, A., Salomons, T.V., Davis, K.D, 2013. “Mind wandering away from pain dynamically engages antinociceptive and default mode brain networks.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(46):18692-7.