Chad Woodruff, PhD

Chad Woodruff Associate Professor
Northern Arizona University
Blg 60 Rm #367
Phone: 928-523-4678

Post-doctoral fellowship, Department of Neurobiology of Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 2003-2005
PhD University of New Mexico, 2003
MS University of New Mexico, 1999
BFA University of Oklahoma, 1993

Professional interests


Dr. Woodruff is a Social Neuroscientist whose research aims to elucidate the brain mechanisms underlying empathy, sympathy and compassion as well as religious belief. He uses electroencephalography (EEG) to measure various brain signals, investigating how these signals relate to social neuroscience topics. Much of his research focuses on an EEG signal believed to reflect the activity of mirror neurons. These are neurons that not only code the intentions of an individual, but also seem to reflect the intentions of those with whom the individual interacts. Among the most important findings in his laboratory is that putative mirror neuron activity has a complicated relationship with empathy in which the one’s empathic abilities increase with the ability of his/her mirror neuron systems ability to distinguish self from other (self-other discrimination). Dr. Woodruff maintains a vibrant lab, typically employing 10-15 students (graduate and undergraduate) who participate in all facets of the research process.


Recent publications  

  • Woodruff CC, Klein S (2013). Attentional distraction, mu suppression and empathic perspective-taking. Experimental Brain Research, 229, 507-215.
  • Woodruff CC, Daut R, Brower M, Bragg A (2011). EEG alpha- and beta-band correlates of perspective-taking and personal distress. Neuroreport, 22, 744-748.
  • Woodruff CC, Martin T, Bilyk N (2011). Differences in self- and other-induced Mu suppression are correlated with empathic abilities. Brain Research, 1405, 69-76.
  • Woodruff CC, Maaske S (2010). Action execution engages human mirror neuron system more than action observation. NeuroReport, 21: 432-435.
  • Houck JM, Martin T, Bish JP, Moses SN, Woodruff CC, Kicic D, Tesche CD (2007). Early Cerebellar Activation Predicts Response Time. International Congress Series, 1300, 413-416.
  • Martin T, McDaniel MA, Guynn MJ, Houck JM, Woodruff CC, Bish JP, Moses SN, Kicic D, Tesche CD (2007). Brain regions and their dynamics in prospective memory retrieval: a MEG study. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 64(3):247-258.
  • Woodruff CC, Uncapher M, Rugg MD (2006). Neural correlates of differential retrieval orientation: Sustained and item-related components. Neuropsychologia, 44(14), 3000-3010.
  • Woodruff CC, Hayama H, Rugg MD (2006). Electrophysiological dissociation of the neural correlates of recollection and familiarity. Cognitive Brain Research, 1100(1), 125-35.
  • Aine C, Woodruff C, Knoefel J, Adair J, Hudson D, Qualls C, Bockholt C, Kovacevic S, Cobb W, Padilla D, Hart D, Stephen J (2006). Aging: Compensation or maturation. Neuroimage, 32(4), 1891-1904.
  • Martin T, McDaniel M, Guynn M, Houck J, Woodruff C, Bish J, Moses S, Jackson J, Dubravko K, Tesche C (2006). MEG Reveals Different Contributions of Motor Cortex and Cerebellum to Simple Reaction Time Following Temporally-structured Cues. Human Brain Mapping, 27(7), 552-561.
  • Woodruff CC, Johnson J, Uncapher M, Rugg M (2005). Content-specificity of the neural correlates of recollection. Neuropsychologia, 43(7), 1022-1032.
  • Woodruff CC, Barbera DVon Oepen RGoodman A (2016). Beta Enhancement versus Suppression: First-Person versus Vicarious Emotional Experience? International Journal of Psychophysiology, 99, 18-23.
  • Yaggie, M., Stevens, L., Miller, S.Abbott, A., Woodruff, C., Getchis, M.Stevens, S., Sherlin, L, Keller, B., & Daiss, S. (2015). EEG coherence, memory vividness, and emotional valence effects of bilateral eye movements during unpleasant memory recall and subsequent free association: Implications for EMDR. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 9, 78-97.


Psychology 255 - Introduction to Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience 
Psychology 350 – Physiological Psychology
Psychology 650 – Physiological Psychology
Psychology 432 – Psychophysiology of Drugs and Behavior