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Faculty Highlights: Adam Green, Ph.D. (Dept. of Psychology)

Adam Green, Ph.D., is the director of the Lab for Relational Cognition and is a Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor at Georgetown in the Psychology Department. Professor Green is a founder and current president of The Society for the Neuroscience of Creativity as well as the incoming Editor-In-Chief at Creativity Research Journal. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Johns Hopkins University and went on to complete his Ph.D. at Dartmouth College. Professor Green finished his Post-Doc training at Yale University.

Involvement in Research:

Dr. Green’s lab focuses on relational thinking and reasoning. In other words, he and his group study how our brains establish connections between ideas and events in life and how we come up with new and creative connections. Currently, using advanced brain image analysis tools, Dr. Green is researching relational concepts and reasoning strategies in the brains of students who are learning STEM concepts or practicing STEM-relevant relational reasoning strategies. Additionally, his lab is attempting to enhance creative cognition and relational reasoning through using electrical neuromodulation and training. Furthermore, Dr. Green’s lab is examining anxiety in relation to creativity and hopes to use data to predict real-world creative performance as well as to develop interventions to creativity anxiety. 


Dr. Green’s path to becoming a professor and researcher of cognition and psychology was actually rooted in his interest in philosophy. He realized that his original philosophical questions were based in science and in the nature of reality. After his realization, Dr. Green wanted to study how we as humans think, and he wanted to study it in physical terms. Therefore, he ended up majoring in neuroscience and eventually became a neuroscientist which lined up with what he truly loved doing. In graduate school, Dr. Green studied cognitive neuroscience and neurogenetics leading him to his current research and positions at Georgetown. 


Dr. Green faced many challenges along the way, and he felt like the odds were against him. He recalled constantly having to deal with disappointment in his research as he was buried by data and problem-solving. However, he realized that it was ultimately worth it because he got to do research in service of others. Several things he learned along the way are to balance work life with family life as well as seeing the big picture and being excited by the little things as well. Dr. Green feels super fortunate to have found mentors along the way who helped him find his balance.  

Advice for Students:

Dr. Green’s valuable advice to students is to get involved in research early on because it takes quite a while to really build something of value. He also urges students to seek out as many opportunities as they can and to choose carefully who they work with. He believes that choosing the right people to work with is important because the most rewarding work he has done is often with people he could develop friendships with. Dr. Green wanted to emphasize that interpersonal dynamics between different researchers can not be overlooked. Overall, he wants students to jump at opportunities and develop valuable relationships with other researchers they will work with. 

Written by Christina Zhu