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Rajal Cohen

Associate Professor


Student Health Center 212

Mailing Address

Department of Psychology & Communication
University of Idaho MS 3043
Moscow, Idaho 83844-3043

Rajal Cohen studies the interconnectedness of cognition, posture and action, with a special interest in principles that apply across the spectrum from high performance to dysfunction.

  • Ph.D., Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, 2008
  • M.S., Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, 2005
  • B.A., Psychology, Wesleyan University, 2002

My research uses tools and concepts from cognitive psychology, neuroscience and kinesiology to inform and inspire questions about posture and voluntary movement—in healthy young adults as well as in the context of Parkinson’s disease, aging and musculoskeletal pain. Recently we have looked at which cognitive factors are associated with postural alignment and gait in healthy older adults, at how postural tone affects neck pain, and at how biofeedback may cause a tradeoff between postural alignment and computer task performance. We are also involved in some multi-site intervention studies and neuroimaging studies.

  • Cognitive and neural factors underlying control of posture and action
  • Neck Pain
  • The Alexander Technique
  • Parkinson's disease

  • Co-founder and primary contributor to a website devoted to improving scientific understanding of the Alexander Technique (AT) - its principles, practices, reported and demonstrated benefits, and terminology. The content ranges from descriptions of direct experiments on the effects of AT lessons to focused explanations of relevant current science to rigorously researched history of the work.
  • Scientific consultant for an organization devoted to bringing principles of adaptive movement and posture to those who can use them. Projects include applying for grants from foundations and delivering and testing group courses (both in-person and online) for adults caring for a family member with a neurodegenerative disease.

Representative Peer Reviewed Publications: (*students mentored by Dr. Cohen) 

  • Google scholar profile
  • Cohen, R.G., *Baer, J.L., *Ravichandra, R., *Kral, D. McGowan, C.P., Cacciatore, T.W. (2020). Lighten up! Postural instructions affect static and dynamic balance in healthy older adults. Innovations in Aging,64, igz056. PMID 32226825.
  • *Baer, J.L., Vasavada, A., Cohen, R.G. (2019). Anticipation and inhibition affect neck posture. Human Movement Science, 108-122. PMID 30710861
  • *Becker J.J., Copeland S.L., *Botterbusch E.L., Cohen, R.G. (2018). Preliminary evidence for feasibility, efficacy, and mechanisms of Alexander technique group classes for chronic neck pain. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 39 (2018) 80–86. PMID 30012397 
  • Cohen, R.G., Vasavada, A.N., Wiest, M., Schmitter-Edgecombe, M. (2016). Mobility and upright posture are associated with different aspects of cognition in older adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 8:257. PMID 27877123
  • Peterson, D.S., King, L.A., Cohen, R.G., Horak, F.B. (2016). Cognitive contributions to freezing of gait in Parkinson disease – Implications for physical rehabilitation. Physical Therapy Journal, 96, 659-670. PMID 26381808
  • Cohen, R.G., *Chao, A., Nutt, J.G. & Horak, F.B. (2011). Freezing of gait is associated with a mismatch between motor imagery and motor execution, not with failure to judge doorway passability. Neuropsychologia 49, 3981-3988. PMID 22027173

  • Mountain West Research Consortium CTR-IN Pilot Project Enhancement Grant, An online course to improve the motor symptoms in rural older adults with Parkinson's
  • U of I Office of Research and Economic Development Research Equipment and Infrastructure Support Award, Electroencephalography (EEG) System for Investigating Neural Correlates of Cognition and Action, 2018
  • Key Fund, 2013, 2016
  • Pilot grant from Mountain West Research Consortium CTR-IN, Lighten Up: Modifying Postural State to Reduce Fall Risk, 2015
  • Kurt Olsson Early Career Research Fellowship, A Non-Exercise Intervention to Improve Balance in the Elderly, 2014
  • University of Idaho Seed Grant, 2013
  • OHSU post-doc paper of the year, runner-up, 2011
  • OHSU Post-Doctoral Training Fellowships in Neuroscience, 2008-2011
  • NIH-sponsored Training Course in fMRI, 2009
  • Penn State College of Liberal Arts Dissertation Award, 2008
  • Penn State University Graduate Fellowship, 2002-2005

Psychology & Communication

Physical Address:
206 Student Health Center

Mailing Address:
Psychology & Communication
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3043
Moscow, ID 83844-3043

Phone: 208-885-6324

Fax: 208-885-7710


Web: Psychology and Communication