Reporting Avenues for Concerns Related to Integrity or Fairness

Human Complex Mental Function Study Section (HCMF) reviews applications to investigate a broad range of complex mental functions in humans, including attention, perception, navigation, learning, memory, cognition, decision making, executive function, social cognition, and interactions between functional systems (e.g., emotion and cognition). Developmental, aging, and lifespan applications are covered. Approaches and methodologies include neuroimaging and electrophysiology, electrocorticography, neuropsychology, computational modeling, and non-invasive brain stimulation. HCMF reviews predominantly human subject applications with occasional consideration of other applications proposing non-human primates.

Review Dates

Membership Panel

The membership panel is a list of chartered members only.


  • Perception: higher-order perceptual mechanisms for all sensory modalities; object and scene recognition; processing of spatial and temporal relations.
  • Attention: attentional control and allocation; capacity and resource limitations; automatization.
  • Executive Function: planning and monitoring of complex behaviors; coordination of cognitive operations; consciousness; cognitive control; goal-oriented processing; decision neuroscience.
  • Learning and Memory: Encoding, consolidation, and retrieval processes; short-term, working, and long-term memory; episodic/semantic, declarative/procedural, explicit/implicit and other types of memory and their interactions.
  • Knowledge and Semantics, including categorization and expert knowledge.
  • Skill learning; rule induction; cognitive training, roles of instruction, and practice.
  • Reasoning: deductive and inductive reasoning; mathematical and statistical reasoning; analogical reasoning.
  • Computational and machine learning approaches to modeling of interactions among brain structures that affect learning, memory, and decision making in humans.
  • Problem Solving: use of rules, models, strategies, and heuristics.
  • Mathematical Cognition: cognitive processes (and their development) related to science, technology, engineering and math; spatial awareness, number concept.
  • Navigation: driving, simulated driving, way-finding, and spatial navigation/representation; effects of age, substance use, and other factors on driving and navigation outcomes.
  • Social-affective neuroscience.
  • Cognitive aging: Normative age-related cognitive change; cognition in premorbid or at-risk older adults

Shared Interests and Overlaps

Adult Psychopathology and Disorders of Aging (APDA): Applications that focus on cognition in Alzheimer’s Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and other dementias are typically reviewed in APDA. Normative age-related cognitive change, risk for dementias, premorbid conditions, and effects of concussion are usually reviewed in HCMF.

Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning, and Ethology (BRLE): Applications that focus on basic mechanisms of learning such as classical/operant conditioning are reviewed in BRLE; animal models of learning or navigation with a predominantly behavioral orientation, or those focused on decision making in animals in the context of addiction processes, are also appropriate for BRLE.

Language and Communication (LCOM): Applications that focus on language acquisition or processing are assigned to LCOM; applications focusing on perception and cognition in other contexts will be assigned to HCMF.

Social, Personality, and Interpersonal Processes (SPIP): Affective neuroscience is an area shared by HCMF and SPIP. SPIP focuses more on questions in the areas of social and personality psychology, whereas HCMF is more focused on questions involving social cognitive neuroscience.

Applications that focus on the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of sensation, perception, attention, and cognitive function, particularly in animal models, may be more appropriately reviewed by different study sections in the IFCN IRG. For example, applications focused on the auditory system are likely to be reviewed by AUD, visual perception applications - by NBVP, circuitry-level studies of the neural basis of cognition and executive functions in animals - by LMDN, etc.

There are shared interests in cognitive aging with Aging, Injury, Musculoskeletal, and Rheumatologic Disorders (AIMR). Applications that take a mechanistic approach to cognitive aging, especially laboratory-based human studies, are reviewed in HCMF. Applications that emphasize the process of aging in human subpopulations with an epidemiological study approach is reviewed in AIMR.