Erik Benau

benaue's picture

Job title: 

Assistant Professor, Cognitive Psychology





New Academic Building



Office hours: 

  • Please email me to schedule a virtual appointment.

Courses taught: 

  • PY3410 Cognitive Psychology
  • PY4200 Research, Design, & Analysis II


  • 2018 – 2020 - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY
  • 2018 - Ph.D. Clinical Psychology - University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
  • 2012 - M.S. Clinical Health Psychology - University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2007 B.A. Cognitive Science - Hampshire College, Amherst, MA


  • 2019 - Licensed Clinical Psychologist - New York State (023546)

Research interests: 

My research primarily focuses on the interaction of cognition and emotion. Within this line of research, I address two broad, overlapping questions. First, how do cognition and emotion influence each other and potentially contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? Second, what role does the body contribute to these thoughts and feelings? To address these questions, I conduct research using psychophysiological methodologies (primarily Event-Related Potentials [ERPs]) to better understand the mechanisms underlying emotions and, ultimately, clinical disorders like depression and anxiety. I also have a secondary interest in health psychology, especially the physical and mental health of underrepresented populations. Within this work, I examine the form and function of self-harm, eating, and addictive behaviors.

Select publications & presentations: 


[18] Benau, E.M., Wiatrowski, R., & Timko, C.A. (in press). The role of emotion dysregulation, alexithymia, and social anxiety in disordered eating in college athletes. Frontiers in Psychology: Eating Behaviors. 1648(11) doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01646

[17] Benau, E.M., & Atchley, R.A. (2020). Time flies faster when you’re feeling blue: sad mood induction accelerates the perception of time in a temporal judgment task. Cognitive Processing. 21, 479-491, doi: 10.1007/s10339-020-00966-8

[16] Benau, E.M., & Atchley, R.A. (2020). Some compliments (and insults) are more heartfelt: High cardiac awareness increases P2 amplitudes to emotional verbal stimuli that involve the body. Journal of Psychophysiology. 34(1), 50–59. doi: 10.1027/0269-8803/a000235.

[15] Benau, E.M., Plumhoff, J., & Timko, C.A., (2019). Women's dieting goals (weight loss, weight maintenance, or not dieting) predict exercise motivation, goals, and engagement in undergraduate women: A self-determination theory framework. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 17(6). 553-557 doi: 10.1080/1612197X.2017.1421683

[14] Stewart, J.G., Singleton, P., Benau, E.M., Foti, D., Allchurch, H., Kaplan, C., Aguirre, B., & Auerbach, R.P. (2019). Neurophysiological activity following rewards and losses among female adolescents and young adults with Borderline Personality Disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 128(6), 610-621. doi: 10.1037/abn0000439

[13] Benau, E.M., Hill, K., Foti, D., Atchley, R.A., O’Hare, A., Gibson, L., Hajcak, G., Ilardi, S.S., & Foti, D. (2019). Increased neural sensitivity to self‐relevant stimuli in major depressive disorder. Psychophysiology. 56(7), e13345. doi: 10.1111/psyp.13345

[12] Liese, B.S., Benau, E.M., Atchley, P., Becirevic, A., & Kaplan, B.A. (2019) Revisiting the construct validity of the Self-Perception of Texting Dependence Questionnaire in a national sample. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. 45(1), 42-50. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2018.1465572.

[11] Benau, E.M., Gregersen, S.C., Siakaluk, P.D., O’hare, A., Johnson, E.K., & Atchley, R.A. (2018). Sweet-Cheeks Vs. Pea-Brain: embodiment, valence and task all influence the time course of the LPP in emotional language. Cognition and Emotion. 32(4), 691-708. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2017.1342602.

[10] Benau, E.M., DeLoretta, L.C., & Moelter, S.T. (2018). The time is “right:” Brain electrophysiology reveals hemispheric differences in time perception. Brain and Cognition. 123, 92-102. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2018.03.008

[9] Benau, E.M., Jenkins, A.J., & Conner, B.T. (2017). Perceived parental monitoring and sexual orientation moderate lifetime acts of non-suicidal self-injury. Archives of Suicide Research. 21, 322-340. doi: 10.1080/13811118.2016.1182092

[8] Benau, E.M., & Moelter, S.T. (2016). Content of lexical stimuli and self-reported physiological state modulate the amplitude of the Error-Related Negativity. Physiology and Behavior. 163(1), 43-50. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.04.036

[7] Fennel, A., Benau, E.M., & Atchley, R.A., (2016). A single session of meditation reduces physiological indices of anger in both experienced and novice meditators. Consciousness and Cognition. 40, 54-66. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.12.010

[6] Balass, M., Halderman, L.K., Benau, E.M., & Perfetti, C.A. (2016). Semantic processes and individual differences detected through error-related negativities. Journal of Neurolinguistics. 37, 82-97. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2015.08.002

[5] Benau, E.M., Orloff, N.A., Janke, E.A., Serpell, L. & Timko, C.A. (2014). A systematic review of experimental fasting and cognitive function in healthy adults. Appetite. 77, 52-61. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.02.014

[4] Votta, R.J., & Benau, E.M. (2014). Sources of stress for pharmacy students in a nationwide sample. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning. 6(5), 675-681. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2014.05.002

[3] Yean, C., Benau, E.M., Dakanalis, A., Hormes, J.A., Perone, J. & Timko, C.A. (2013). The relationship of sex and sexual orientation on self-esteem, body shape satisfaction, and eating disorder symptomatology. Frontiers in Psychology: Eating Behavior, 887(4), 1-10 doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00887

[2] Votta, R.J., & Benau, E.M. (2013). Predictors of stress in pharmacy students: Results from a nationwide survey. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 5(5), 365-372. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2013.06.014

[1] Benau, E.M., Morris, J., & Couperus, J.W. (2011). Semantic processing in children and adults: Incongruity and the N400. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 40(3), 225-239. doi: 10.1007/s10936-011-9167-1


[1] Hamilton, N.A., Atchley, R.A., Benau, E.M., Freche, R.E., & Boddy, L. (2018). Emotion Regulation and Cognitive Control Training. In P. Karoly and G. Crombez (Eds.), Motivational Perspectives on Chronic Pain: Theory, Research, and Practice (pp. 99-142). Oxford University Press.


[11] Benau, E.M. Carrillo, V. Allchurch, H.E., Shankman, S.A., & Auerbach, R.P. (2019) Depressogenic selfreferential processing biases in remitted depressed adults. 59th Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, Washington, D.C.

[10] Benau, E.M. (2018). The body on the brain: The role of psychophysiology and interoception in emotional experience, Cognitive Science Wednesday Lunch Talk and Culture Brain and Development Student Group Meeting. Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

[9] Benau, E.M., Jenkins, J., Konecny, E.,* Dozier, B., Gerber, A., & Atchley, R.A. (2018). The blink and the body: Cardiac awareness and the perception of emotionally salient words in an attentional blink paradigm. 58th Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. Québec City, QC.

[8] Gregersen, S. C., Benau, E. M., & Atchley, R. A. (2017). Facial expression and selective attention to emotional images: An ERP investigation of embodiment. 29th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Boston, MA

[7] Benau, E.M., Liese, B.S., Atchley, P., Becirevic, A., & Kaplan, B.A. (2016). Construct validity of a texting dependence scale that predicts motor vehicle accidents and moving violations. Addictive Behaviors Special Interest Group Poster, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies 50th Annual Convention. New York City, NY.

[6] Benau, E.M. O’Hare, A.J., Ilardi, S.S., & Atchley, R.A. (2016). Major Depressive Disorder reduces attentional allocation to word stimuli involving people as indexed by the P3b. 56th Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. Minneapolis, MN.

[5] Benau, E.M., Svancara, A.M.,* Parrish, B.A., & Atchley, R.A. (2016). Some insults are more heartfelt: The role of cardiac perception in the processing of insults and compliments using EEG. Ninth Annual Meeting of the Social and Affective Neuroscience Society. New York City, NY.

[4] Benau, E.M., Fennel, A., Kirchoff, J., Svancara, A., McCartin, J., Dore, S., & Atchley, R.A. (2015).Time flies when you’re having fun, and it flies faster when you’re feeling blue: Negative mood induction increases the overestimation of time. 55th Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. Seattle, WA.

[3] DeLoretta, L.C., Benau, E.M., Saad, L., & Moelter, S.T. (2013). Tick Tock: Brain electrophysiology and time perception. First Annual Misher College Undergraduate Research Day – University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA.

[2] Hua, J., Benau, E.M., Moore, Z., Vargas, A., Saad, L., & Moelter, S.T. (2013). Testing the limits of temporal processing: Replicating the attentional blink. Eighth Annual Philadelphia Area Psi-Chi Research Day, Philadelphia, PA.

[1] Fausto, B., Fontana, M., Benau, E.M., & Moelter, S.T. (2012). Attention and aerobic capacity in healthy volunteers: the attention network task and harvard step test. Seventh Annual Philadelphia Area Psi-Chi Research Day, Philadelphia, PA.