This is the web page of Paul Downing's lab in the School of Psychology at Bangor University. Our research uses fMRI and other methods to investigate human high-level vision with a focus on socially-relevant stimuli: bodies, faces, and their movements.
Some recent / current projects:
• An ESRC-funded project (with Steve Tipper) to use MVPA and other fMRI methods in order to investigate the human "mirror system". Are there brain areas for which local patterns of BOLD activity distinguish among different actions, across the visual and motor domains? (e.g. see this paper or this paper).
• A Leverhulme-funded project to examine how TMS disruption of activity in various nodes of the proposed human "action perception network" changes both the BOLD activity in other parts of the network as well as action-perception behavioural performance. (e.g. see this paper)
• A collaborative project (with Kim Graham, Cardiff) that was funded by the BBSRC focused on using fMRI to assess the perceptual functions of the medial temporal lobes, and to compare these directly to the functions of category-selective areas of the extrastriate cortex (e.g. see this paper or this paper).
• A collaborative project with Lew Hardy and Ross Roberts (School of Sports, Health, and Exercise Sciences, Bangor) and Leanne Simpson, funded by DSTL, on the neural underpinnings of mental resilience.
Find more on Google Scholar or ResearchGate. Current CV is here.
Welcome to Marco Gandolfo, who has started a PhD in the lab! He will be studying the perceptual processes that reveal information about other people from the shape, movements, and posture of their bodies.
Two new papers:
Led by colleagues in Cardiff: Evidencing a place for the hippocampus within the core scene processing network
Led by colleagues in Bangor: Linking person perception and person knowledge in the human brain
We published a new paper in JoCN: Evidence for Integrated Visual Face and Body Representations in the Anterior Temporal Lobes
A very warm welcome to Prof Giuseppe di Pellegrino, who will be spending a year as part of our Social Neuroscience group in Bangor thanks to a Visiting Professor grant from the Leverhulme Trust (PI: Downing).
We have a new fully-funded (home/EU) PhD position available. Details available shortly - for initial expressions of interest email Paul Downing with a CV and a brief description of research interests.
Welcome to Leah Johnstone, who joined the lab as a Research Assistant, working on projects about extracting social cues from the body and face.
It was great to participate in the Bangor Social Cognition workshop!
A new TICS Review article with Angelika Lingnau, on the role of the lateral occipitotemporal cortex in perceiving, performing, and understanding action, is now in press.
A new review article with Marius Peelen - part of a special issue on domain selectivity - is online in Neuropsychologia here.
Time to say farewell to Bronson, who is off to a new postdoc position at MARCS in Sydney. Good luck Bronson!
It was great to welcome Dr. India Morrison back to Bangor for a fantastic lecture in our Cognitive Colloquium series!
I’m back from an excellent sabbatical visit to Cimec at the University of Trento. I’m grateful for the chance to spend time at such a world-class place! A big part of the fun was contributing to the Harvard/Trento Summer Program in Mind/Brain Sciences - it was a pleasure to work with Marius Peelen, Daniel Kaiser, and a bright and talented bunch of students.
Welcome to Dr Cosimo Urgesi, who is a Marie Curie Fellow in the School of Psychology! Looking forward to working with him...
It’s (approximately) the 10 year anniversary of MRI scanning in Bangor! Early in 2004, a few of us (including Andrew Bayliss, Annie Chan, Chris Dodds, Steve Johnston, Charles Leek, David Linden, India Morrison, John Parkinson, Marius Peelen, Bob Rafal, Kim Shapiro) started getting together for regular weekly Bangor Imaging Group -- “BIG” meetings… We did our scanning on the 1.5T machine in Ysbyty Gwynedd until early 2007, when our in-house 3T was handed over. Congrats all around on the milestone...
Welcome to two new PhD students joining the lab:
Leanne Simpson, who is joining the lab to work on a joint project with with Lew Hardy and Ross Roberts (School of Sports, Health, and Exercise Sciences) to study mental resilience. Leanne comes most recently from the MSc programme on War and Psychiatry at KCL.
Hannah Chandler, who will be working jointly in Bangor and with Prof Kim Graham (Cardiff) on fMRI studies investigating the perceptual functions of the medial temporal lobes.
We've had a new Opinion paper accepted at Trends in Cognitive Sciences:
Oosterhof, Tipper, and Downing. (TiCS, 2013). Cross-modal and action-specific: neuroimaging and the human mirror neuron system.
Farewell to Manuela Sellitto, who's submitted her PhD and is now heading to Bologna/Cesena for a postdoc with Giuseppe Di Pellegrino. We had a great lab walk on Anglesey to send her off...
Welcome to Dr Francesca Perini, who will be doing a postdoc in the lab on a project jointly with Dr Simon Watt. We are looking at the brain's multimodal representation of object size using psychophysics and fMRI.
We've had two new papers accepted in Journal of Neuroscience:
van Koningsbruggen, Peelen, and Downing (J Neurosci, 2013). A Causal Role for the Extrastriate Body Area in Detecting People in Real-World Scenes
Mundy, Downing, Dwyer, Honey, and Graham (J Neurosci, in press). A critical role for the hippocampus and perirhinal cortex in perceptual learning of scenes and faces: complementary findings from amnesia and fMRI
There is a new funded PhD studentship available in the lab
Congratulations to John Kontaris, who passed his PhD viva with minor corrections! More pictures can be found here.
We have a new article coming out in Neuroimage:
Oosterhof N, Tipper S, Downing P. (in press). Visuo-motor imagery of specific manual actions: a multi-variate pattern analysis fMRI study.
We have a new article coming out in Social Neuroscience:
Wiggett A; Hudson M; Clifford A; Tipper S; Downing P (in press). Doing, seeing, or both: effects of learning condition on subsequent action perception.
Welcome to three new lab members!!
Bronson Harry is a postdoc with expertise on face perception working on the BBSRC project described above.
Asma Hanif is a visiting PhD student from Mark Fenske's lab in Guelph. She's working on attention and functional connectivity.
Manuela Sellitto is a visiting PhD student from Giuseppe Di Pellegrino's lab in Bologna. She's working on intertemporal choice.
We have a new article coming out in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience:
Oosterhof N, Tipper S, Downing P. (in press). Viewpoint (in)dependence of action representations: an MVPA study.
Congratulations to Dr Martijn van Koningsbruggen, who has accepted a postdoc position at CIMeC in Rovereto, Italy!
Congratulations to Dr Nick Oosterhof, who passed his viva with no corrections!
He is off in January to a postdoc at Harvard and CIMeC.
We have a new article coming out in J. Neurophysiology entitled Mapping brain activation and information during category-specific visual working memory
John Kontaris and Paul Downing have a new article coming out in Perception titled Reflections on the hand: the use of a mirror highlights the contributions of perceived and interpreted representations in the rubber hand illusion.
John Taylor and Paul Downing have a new review article coming out in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience titled Division of labor between lateral and ventral extrastriate representations of faces, bodies, and objects
Paul Downing and Marius Peelen have a new Discussion target article coming out in Cognitive Neuroscience on The role of occipitotemporal body-selective regions in person perception.
Nick Oosterhof, Tobias Wiestler and Joern Diedrichsen released version 0.2 of "surfing", a Matlab toolbox for surface-based voxel selection. This toolbox provides functionality for surface-based multivariate information mapping of the cerebral cortex using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging data.
Congratulations to John Taylor, who will be starting a 3 year postdoc position this summer in Cardiff!
We've had a paper recently accepted at Brain and Cognition:
Wiggett A, Hudson M, Tipper S, Downing P. Learning associations between action and perception: Effects of incompatible training on body part and spatial priming
Check out the new surface-based voxel selection toolbox for MVPA.
Congratulations to Dr John Taylor, who passed his viva with no corrections!
We've had a paper recently accepted at Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience:
Wiggett A, Downing P. Representation of action in occipitotemporal cortex
We've had a paper recently accepted at J Neurophysiology:
Oosterhof N, Wiggett A, Diedrichsen J, Tipper S, Downing P. Surface-based information mapping reveals crossmodal vision-action representations in human parietal and occipitotemporal cortex
We've had a paper recently accepted at Neuroimage:
Oosterhof N, Wiestler T, Downing P, Diedrichsen J. A comparison of volume-based and surface-based multi-voxel pattern analysis
We've had a paper recently accepted at Brain and Cognition:
Taylor J, Roberts M, Downing P, Thierry G. Functional characterization of the extrastriate body area based on the N1 ERP component.
Congratulations to Nick Oosterhof, who received a travel grant and a speaking slot for the upcoming CAOS conference.
Welcome to Dr Martijn van Koningsbruggen, who is starting a 2-year postdoc on our Leverhulme-funded TMS/fMRI project.
We've had a paper recently accepted at J Neurophys:
Taylor J, Wiggett A, Downing P. fMRI–Adaptation Studies of Viewpoint Tuning in the Extrastriate and Fusiform Body Areas. in press, Journal of Neurophysiology.
Welcome to John Kontaris, who is starting his PhD in the lab.
Paul Downing and Nick Oosterhof will be at SFN in Chicago, presenting work on visual-motor congruency in extrastriate cortex, and MVPA work on the "mirror system" -- Posters 168.6/W13 and 577.13/FF132
Congratulations to Nick Oosterhof on receiving a Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds PhD Fellowship!
Paul Downing (with co-Is Steve Tipper, Bob Rafal, and Martin Giese) was awarded a 2-year grant from the Leverhulme Trust to conduct TMS and fMRI studies of the action-perception network.
We've had two papers accepted recently at Neuropsychologia -- see Publications link.