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School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences - The University of Texas at Dallas

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School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Research Projects

Functional Neuroimaging of High Level Visual Processing of Human Faces


Over the last decade or so, functional neuroimaging techniques, including fMRI, have made it possible to “observe” the activity of the human brain as a person engages in a task. These kinds of studies have been applied to understanding how we perceive and remember human faces. Many studies have established the existence of multiple cortical areas that respond selectively to human faces. In our work, we have expanded the types of tools used to analyze fMRI data on face perception, using pattern classification algorithms. This method of data analysis is relatively new in this area. In our first work on this topic, we modeled extant data collected by other researchers. More recently, the availability of a 3T scanner at UT-Southwestern Medical Center has enabled us to design and implement our own fMRI experiments and to apply data pattern classification analyses to data that we can control more directly. The following is a list of papers that report our recent work on functional neuroimaging.


Natu, V. & O’Toole, A. J. (2013, accepted). Neural perspectives on the other race effect. Visual Cognition.


Natu, V. & O’Toole, A. J. (2011). The neural processing of familiar and unfamiliar faces: A review and synopsis. British Journal of Psychology.


Natu, V., Raboy, D. & O'Toole, A. J. (2011). Neural correlates of own-race and other-race face perception: Spatial and temporal response differences. NeuroImage, 53(3), 2547-2555.

Natu, V. S., Jiang, F. Narvekar, A., Keshvari, S., Blanz, V. & O’Toole, A. J. (2010). Dissociable neural patterns of facial identity across changes in viewpoint. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(7), 1570-1582.

O’Toole, A. J., Jiang, F., Abdi, H., Penard, N., Dunlop, J. P. & Parent, M. A. (2007). Theoretical, statistical, and practical perspectives on pattern-based classification approaches to functional neuroimaging analysis. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 1735-1752.

O’Toole, A. J., Jiang, F., Abdi, H. & Haxby, J. V. (2005). Partially distributed representations of objects and faces in ventral temporal cortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17(4), 580-590.




More Research Projects


Face Recognition Comparisons Between Humans and MachinesFace Recognition Comparisons Between Humans and Machines


Perception and Memory for Human FacesPerception and Memory for Human Faces


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