Projects at the Bangor Imaging Unit cut across the four research groups that span the School of Psychology.
Below is a list of research labs in our unit and projects that are currently carried out.
- Projects using adaptation techniques to evaluate models of face and voice perception.
- Investigations of the neuroanatomical and temporal underpinnings of the perception of paralinguistic aspects of voice such as affect or identity.
- Projects investigating the contributions of domain-general declarative memory systems to social cognition.
- Investigations that compare and contrast the neural basis of abstract (e.g., liberty) and concrete (e.g., prison) concepts.
- Studies exploring the neural correlates of cognitive dysfunction, plasticity, and recovery.
More information available at the Conceptual Knowledge and Communication Lab web page: https://sites.google.com/view/richardjbinney
- Investigations into the use of behavioural factors as predictors of functional cerebral asymmetries such as language, emotion processing, and face and body perception.
- Using DTI to investigate differences between left- and right-handed subjects, as well as people who are left or right brain dominant for language.
- Projects investigating the relationship between spatial attention, neural signal variability, and performance variability in discrimination tasks.
- Evaluating the hypothesis that trial-to-trial changes in signal amplitude represent ongoing updating of estimates of cue reliability.
- Attempting to determine which of the two main mechanisms of endogenous attention, distractor exclusion and target enhancement, these signals are related to.
More information on the Social Vision lab web page: https://sites.google.com/view/downinglab/research
- A combined TMS-fMRI project demonstrated the causal role of category-selective visual brain regions in forming and using expectations about upcoming perceptual events (see figure). Gandolfo, M., & Downing, P. E. (2019). Causal evidence for expression of perceptual expectations in category-selective extrastriate regions. Current Biology, 29(15), 2496-2500.
- A multi-voxel pattern analysis approach revealed brain representations supporting our ability to judge the size of grasped objects. Perini, F., Powell, T., Watt, S. J., & Downing, P. E. (2020). Neural representations of haptic object size in the human brain revealed by multivoxel fMRI patterns. Journal of neurophysiology, 124(1), 218-231.
- Neural basis for visual perception of others' bodies, and related judgments about social cues. Harry, B. B., Umla-Runge, K., Lawrence, A. D., Graham, K. S., & Downing, P. E. (2016). Evidence for integrated visual face and body representations in the anterior temporal lobes. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 28(8), 1178-1193; Greven, I. M., Downing, P. E., & Ramsey, R. (2019). Neural networks supporting social evaluation of bodies based on body shape. Social neuroscience, 14(3), 328-344
- What is the function of category-selective regions in the human occipitotemporal cortex? Peelen, M. V., & Downing, P. E. (2017). Category selectivity in human visual cortex: Beyond visual object recognition. Neuropsychologia, 105, 177-183.
Caption: Perceptual expectations about an upcoming visual event (e.g. person or scene) are expressed in the activity of relevant extrastriate areas (e.g. EBA or OPA). Online TMS over these regions during a verbal cue selectively removes the behavioural effects of such cues in a discrimination task.
Projects are geared towards researching the cerebrovascular response to extreme conditions.
- Investigating the effects of acute Hypoxia on neurovascular coupling and cerebral metabolism
- Improvements in neurovascular function from an exercise intervention in chronic kidney disease.
More information on the Developmental Social Vision lab web page: https://sites.google.com/view/devsocialvislab/
Lab video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouvwaEdMj6U
Robot project video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T63NpoGam4
- A series of experiments investigating neural responses to scenes depicting social interactions of different types, including in the auditory domain (led by Dr. Julia Landsiedel, a postdoc in the lab) • Projectsinvestigating the neural response to goal-directed actions in different social contexts and during different tasks (e.g. shared goals vs. independent goals).
- Investigating the development of the "social brain", focused on the perception of social interaction in children aged 5 to 18.
- Projects (led by PhD student Laura Jastrzab) focused on the brain response to social interactions with non-human robotic agents in children and adults.
More information on the Lab webpage: https://sites.google.com/site/kkornysheva/
- Planning and execution of action sequences
- Neural basis of timing
- Functional plasticity related to long-term consolidation and training of skills
- Disorders affecting sequencing and timing (dyspraxia, task-dependent dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, Cerebellar ataxia)
- fMRI, MEG/EEG, EMG, TMS, behaviour
The Mullins lab is involved in studies of cerebral physiology, metabolism and neurotransmitter involvement in cognitive function and clinical conditions.
- Investigating cerebral metabolism in hypoxia
- Neuroprotective effects of plant based nutraceuticals
- Improving measures of neurotransmitters via Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS)
- Developing optimal methods for functional MRS
- Structural and functional connectivity changes associated with normal ageing
- Utilises fMRI, DTI, DSI, Quantitative Susceptibility mapping (QSM), MRS, fMRS, mapping of water content, and ASL measures of cerebral blood flow.
How does the brain change after injury to the nerves of the hand, and what do these changes mean for patient recovery?
Our current project sets out to address this question, funded by the Wellcome Trust (215186/Z/19/Z) and made possible by our collaborative partnerships with hand surgeons Prof. Vivien Lees and Edwin Jesudason, and NHS centres MFT and BCUHB.
Our methods include fMRI to characterise the functional properties of finger-specific ‘maps’ in the brain (Fig 1, below).
This project builds from our recent discovery of brain changes following hand loss, and restored hand and brain function in a transplant recipient who lived as an amputee for 13 years after receiving a donor’s hand. For more information on our current and past research, please visit our lab website.