School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Face Perception Research Lab


Principal Investigator

Alice O'Toole

Alice O’Toole, PhD

Prof. Alice O’Toole is a Professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas and currently holds the Aage and Margareta Møller Endowed Chair.

Her research interests include human perception, memory, and cognition, with an emphasis on computational approaches to modeling human information processing. Most recently, her work is focused on the problem of recognizing faces and people. She has approached this problem using methods from psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and computational modeling. Current projects in her lab include comparisons between human and machine-based face recognition, the analysis of face recognition algorithms, person recognition from face, body, and biological motion, and modeling the relation between language and human body shapes. Read more

View Dr. O’Toole’s Curriculum Vitae

Graduate Students

Carina A. Hahn

Carina A Hahn, MS (Doctoral Student)

Carina is working toward a PhD, with a focus on high level vision. She earned a BS in Psychology from Texas A&M University in 2011. Currently, her primary interests are in the psychological and neural processing of unfamiliar and familiar faces and bodies. We encounter familiar and unfamiliar people in motion and in a variety of contexts and viewing conditions, and yet we are able to recognize people we know despite this large variability. Information from the face and body allow people to perform this task with high accuracy. With behavioral studies, Carina has examined how the quality of the information from the face and body in natural viewing conditions contributes to recognition. Using functional neuroimaging and pattern-based classification techniques, she examines the neural correlates of recognition when we view people as we see them in the real world. For her most up-to-date information and CV, visit


Hahn, C. A., O’Toole, A.J., Phillips, P. J. (2016). Dissecting the time course of person recognition in natural viewing environments. British Journal of Psychology. 107(1), 117-134. doi: 10.1111/bjop.12125

White, D., Phillips, P.J, Hahn, C.A., Hill, M., & O’Toole, A.J. (2015). Perceptual expertise in forensic facial image comparison. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 282, 1814-1822. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1292

Matthew Hill

Matthew Q. Hill, BS (Doctoral Student)

Matt is a PhD student interested in the relationship between human cognition and machine learning. He has recently investigated the relationship between human body shapes and the language used to describe them by systematically linking 3D body scans with verbal body descriptions. He now works as part of a team evaluating computer face recognition systems in order to improve their performance.


White, D., Phillips, P.J, Hahn, C.A., Hill, M. Q., & O’Toole, A.J. (2015). Perceptual expertise in forensic facial image comparison. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 282, 1814-1822. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1292

Phillips, P. J., Hill, M. Q., Swindle, J. A., & O’Toole, A. J. (2015). Human and algorithm performance on the PaSC face Recognition Challenge. In Biometrics Theory, Applications and Systems (BTAS), 2015 IEEE 7th International Conference on (pp. 1-8). IEEE.

Ying Hu

Ying Hu

Ying is a master’s student majoring in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience. She received a BS in Applied Psychology. She is interested in perception and cognition in vision. She is currently working on designing a test to measure the skills of forensic face identification examiners on challenging tasks.

Géraldine Jeckeln

Géraldine Jeckeln

Géraldine is a first year Master’s student in the Applied Cognition and Neuroscience program. She recently graduated from Concordia University with a bachelor’s degree in Honors Psychology. Her research interests involve visual perception. She focused her undergraduate research on visual eccentricity-dependent effects involving illusory face distortions. Her interests are now focused on the nature of face recognition.

Linda Nguyen

Linda Nguyen

Linda is a second-year Master’s student in the Applied Cognition and Neuroscience program. She is currently working on a project that examines cross-cultural trustworthiness and lie detection. She is interested in social neuroscience, specifically the intersection of psychology and neuroscience and how it informs implicit and explicit behavior. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Journalism at Baylor University.

Lab Affiliated Graduate Student

James Ryland

James Ryland (Doctoral Student)

James is a PhD student studying with Dr. Richard Golden and Dr. O’Toole, who carries out research on visual cognition and neuroscience. He designs and implements neural network models for object recognition that are consistent with cognitive theories of how the brain performs visual recognition. In addition, he tests these models to see if their behavior and representations are consistent with human behavior and neural organization. Although now focused on visual recognition, James has many other interests such as self-organization, spatial awareness, motor planning, and visualization.

Undergraduate Students

Kelsey Jackson

Kelsey Jackson

Kelsey is a sophomore at The University of Texas at Dallas, majoring Cognitive Science with a minor in Creative Writing. Areas of interest include facial recognition, perception, cognitive media theory, and vision science. She is currently working on a statistical item analysis for forensics facial examiners as an undergrad assistant. After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in vision science or cognitive neuroscience.

Connor Parde

Connor Parde

Connor is a senior undergraduate student studying Cognitive Science. He is interested in face recognition, decision-making, and computational modeling of human cognition. Upon graduating in the spring of 2016, Connor plans to obtain a PhD in Cognition and Neuroscience. His professional goals include becoming a professor and establishing a career in academic research. His current research focuses on analyzing the performance of facial recognition algorithms across difficult imaging conditions, with emphasis on the performance differences between individual algorithms on specific subsets of image-templates.

Rahel Usman

Rahel Usman

Rahel is a junior at The University of Texas at Dallas. She is a pre-med student working to get into medical school after completing her bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science. She is working on a study of face recognition study as an undergrad research assistant.


Fang Jiang, PhD – Assistant Prof at U Nevada at Reno (See bio)

Vaidehi Natu, PhD – Post-doctoral Fellow at Stanford (See bio)

Allyson Rice

Dana Roark, PhD – Instructor in BBS at UT Dallas

Alumni with Dr. O'Toole

(Dr. O’Toole with lab alumni)