Kesong Hu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Dr. Hu runs an emotion-cognition neuroscience lab at UA Little Rock and collaborates with the Brain Imaging Research Center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). He completed his postdoctoral training at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, with Drs. Adam Anderson and Eve DeRosa, and at the University of Maryland, College Park, with Dr. Luiz Pessoa. Dr. Hu received a Ph.D. in Hong Kong, where he collaborated on his dissertation with Dr. Arthur Samuel of Stony Brook University.

To contact Dr. Hu, please email

Courses Instructed

  • Psychology and the Human Experience
  • Statistics and Methods


As a cognitive and affective neuroscientist, my research is grounded in theories and methods established in the fields of cognitive psychology, emotion/motivation, neuroscience, and computational modeling. I use behavioral and neuroimaging (e.g., fMRI and EEG) approaches to study the integration and interaction of emotion (induced, for example, by cash reward or mild electric shock) and cognition (perception, attention, executive function). I focus on the role of emotions in all aspects of human cognition, from the very first stage of perception to higher-order decision-making and thought. Some of my research questions include: 1) How do people do visual search? Are perception and attention trainable? 2) Are emotions basic? 3) How do acquired emotions influence people’s decision-making? 4) How do the positive and negative processes interact? I also conduct relevant psychiatry and clinical neuroscience research. My long-term goal is to develop a connection between basic science and clinical intervention and training.

Representative Publications

Chaudhary, S., Hu, S., Hu, K., Dominguez, J. C., Chao, H. H., & Li, C. S. R. (2023). Sex differences in the effects of trait anxiety and age on resting-state functional connectivities of the amygdala. Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, 100646.

Hu, K., Godfrey, K., Ren, Q., Wang, S., Yang, X., & Li, Q. (2022). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on college students in USA: Two years later. Psychiatry Research, 315, 114685.

Li, Q., Dai, W., Zheng, Y., Wang, C., Yang, Z., Ren, Q.,Hu, K*, & Liu, X. (2022). Social comparisons differentially affect fair and unfair processing in ultimatum bargaining. Neuropsychologia, 174, 108318.

Murty, D. V., Song, S., Morrow, K., Kim, J., Hu, K., & Pessoa, L. (2022). Distributed and multifaceted effects of threat and safety. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 34(3), 495-516.

Wang, L., Yang, G., Zheng, Y., Li, Z., Wei, P., Li, Q. Hu, K., & Liu, X. (2021). Neural substrates of deficient cognitive control in individuals with severe internet gaming disorder. NeuroImage: Clinical, 32, 102828.

Hu, K., De Rosa, E., & Anderson, A. K. (2020). Differential color tuning of the mesolimbic reward system. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 10223.

Hu, K. (2020). Investigations into ventral prefrontal cortex using mediation models. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 98(4), 632-642.

Hu, K. (2019). Reward priming eliminates color-driven affect in perception. Psychological research, 83(2), 321-331.

Hu, K., De Rosa, E., & Anderson, A. K. (2018). Differential temporal salience of earning and saving. Nature Communications, 9(1), 2843.

Hu, K. (2018). Neural activity to threat in ventromedial prefrontal cortex correlates with individual differences in anxiety and reward processing. Neuropsychologia, 117, 566-573.

Hu, K., Fan, Z., & He, S. (2015). Uncovering the interaction between empathetic pain and cognition. Psychological Research, 79, 1054-1063.

Hu, K., Zhan, J., Li, B., He, S., & Samuel, A. G. (2014). Multiple cueing dissociates location- and feature-based repetition effects. Vision Research, 101, 73-81.

Hu, K., Padmala, S., & Pessoa, L. (2013). Interactions between reward and threat during visual processing. Neuropsychologia, 51(9), 1763-1772.

Hu, K., Bauer, A., Padmala, S., & Pessoa, L. (2012). Threat of bodily harm has opposing effects on cognition. Emotion, 12(1), 28.

Hu, K., & Samuel, A. G. (2011). Facilitation versus inhibition in non-spatial attribute discrimination tasks. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 73, 784-796.

Hu, K., Samuel, A. G., & Chan, A. S. (2011). Eliminating inhibition of return by changing salient nonspatial attributes in a complex environment. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140(1), 35-50.