Vannia Puig Rivera

Graduate Student, Cognition & Neural Systems
Neuroscience of Emotion & Thought (NET) Lab
Faculty Advisor: Jessica Andrews-Hanna
Headshot - Vannia Puig Rivera - Grad Student

Psychology 421

She, Her, Hers


I am a doctoral student in the Cognitive and Neural Systems program and a 2023 University Fellow. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, I moved to the United States in 2014 to strengthen my research skills and pursue graduate school.

I have worked as a research assistant at the University of Chicago and completed a Master's Degree in Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After my  Masters, I did research for the Air Force Research Lab - Applied Neuroscience Division (WPAFB) for three years. In 2023 I returned to academia to further my research skills and degree at the UA NET Lab.

As for my favorite hobbies, I enjoy hiking, weight-lifting, spending time at the pool, and dancing.

Research Interests:

My interests have centered on researching internally-guided cognition and its relation to emotion and behavior. Specifically, I study how internally generated thoughts guide human behavior, emotion and cognition, and vice-versa. 

  • Future-Oriented Cognition
  • Spontaneous Thoughts
  • Emotion
  • Behavior
  • Threat-Detection
  • Individual Differences

Selected Publications:

  • Kayser, K. C., Puig, V. A., & Estepp, J. R. (2022). Predicting and mitigating fatigue effects due to sleep deprivation: A review. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 16, 930280.
  • Puig, V. A., Özbek, M., & Szpunar, K. K. (2020). A negativity bias in detail generation during event simulation. Emotion, 20(8), 1390.
  • Puig, V. A., & Szpunar, K. K. (2017). The devil is in the details: Comparisons of episodic simulations of positive and negative future events. Emotion, 17(5), 867.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • 2023 University Fellow

Updated: 10/04/23


  • M.A. Cognitive Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago