What we do

Our research involves a variety of questions and methods in social cognition. Below is a brief description of our work and some relevant publications. All our papers are available to download on the publications page.


Face Processing

Cognitive: Our cognitive studies attempt to understand how facial information is represented and processed. One of the main issues that we've addressed is the division of labor within face processing and within visual recognition more generally. We use results from psychophysics, acquired and developmental prosopagnosics, and TMS to investigate these cognitive questions.

Neural: What brain areas represent face and body information, what type of information do they represent, when do they represent it, and how do these areas interact? fMRI, ERP, and TMS in normal participants and in acquired prosopagnosics who have selective lesions are the main ways that we examine these neural issues.

Development and Genetics: Because face processing is better understood than most abilities, it provides a model system to explore neurocognitive development. We tackle these questions with studies of developmental prosopagnosia (particularly when it runs in families), twin studies, and age effects on face processing.

Neuropsychological Populations: Our research seeks to better understand the underlying problems and clinical complications in a number of neuropsychological conditions including developmental prosopagnosia, acquired prosopagnosia, and autism spectrum disorder. We also hope to develop methods that will improve face processing in these groups.

Body Processing

Although faces are the most important source of social information, bodies also carry rich information and body processing has started to receive the research attention that it deserves.

Other Selective Developmental Deficits:

Developmental prosopagnosia (DP) is one of the most well understood selective developmental deficits, but we think it is just the tip of the iceberg. Our lab has recently identified two new selective deficits. KH is the first developmental voice agnosic to have been documented (Garrido et al., 2009) while our report on A.W. is the first example of a developmental case who was normal with face memory but impaired with object memory (Germine et al., 2011).

Funding: Our research is supported by grants from NSF and NIH.