Gregory McCarthy

Professor of Psychology

Research Summary

Research conducted in my laboratory is concerned with the functional anatomy of the human brain. Our methods include functional magnetic resonance imaging, intracranial human electrophysiology, direct cortical stimulation, and scalp-recorded event-related potentials. There are two themes of investigation. The first concerns the processing of complex visual stimuli, such as faces, objects, and letterstrings. Our research has identified discrete regions of the ventral occipitotemporal brain in the perception of faces and of letterstrings. We are now investigating whether these areas are influenced by attentional, semantic, and experiential factors and, if so, whether these influences represent top-down processes. Our work in face perception has recently expanded to investigate lateral temporal lobe regions that appear involved in processing dynamic aspects of visual stimuli, such as the perception of shifting gaze within an otherwise static face. In particular, we are interested in whether this lateral temporal region contributes to processing of complex biological cues that form a substrate for social perception.

Selected Publications

  • Huettel, S.A., Song, A.W., and McCarthy. G. (2005). Decisions under uncertainty: Probabilistic context influences activation of prefrontal and parietal cortices. J. Neurosci. 25(13):3304-3311.
  • Morris, J.P., Pelphrey, K., and McCarthy, G. (2005). Regional brain activation evoked when approaching a virtual human on a virtual walk. J. Cognitive Neurosci. 17(11):1744-1752.

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