Interaction between cognitive and affective processes

paul downing

Name: Paul Downing
Email address: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Position: Professor
Primary affiliation: School of Psychology, Bangor University (see my lab webpage)
Postal address: School of Psychology, Adeilad Brigantia, Penrallt Road. Gwynedd LL57 2AS United Kingdom
Voice: (+44) 01248 382159
Facsimile: (+44) 01248 382599


At the broadest level, I am interested in understanding how the brain deals with one of its most complex problems -- understanding other people. With my students and colleagues we have focused on the earlier perceptual stages of this process, such as how people perceive faces and bodies and their movements. Moreover, we have extended this research into studies of the shared visual/motor representations of bodily actions. Still more recently, we have developed a line of work comparing and contrasting the perceptual functions of extrastriate cortex and the medial temporal cortex. In terms of methods, our main research tool has been and continues to be fMRI; our studies use traditional blocked and event-related designs, and, more recently, multivoxel pattern analysis approaches. Recently I have also collaborated on ERP studies of body and face perception, and I am working a new line of research that uses TMS and fMRI conjointly to study person and action perception.

Key words: face and body perception; action perception; shared representations; fMRI; multivoxel pattern analysis.


- 1998 Ph.D in Psychology, Princeton University
- 1992 B.S. in Cognitive Science, UCLA.

Positions and Employment:
- 2010. Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Bangor University
- 2006. Reader, Bangor University
- 2005. Senior Lecturer, Bangor University
- 2000. Lecturer, Bangor University
- 1998. Post-doctoral fellow, Brain & Cognitive Sciences, MIT


To be discussed


1. Peelen MV, Downing PE. Category selectivity in human visual cortex: Beyond visual object recognition. Neuropsychologia. 2017 Apr 2 [Epub ahead of print]
2. Lingnau A, Downing PE. The lateral occipitotemporal cortex in action. Trends Cogn Sci. 2015 May;19(5):268-77.
3. Oosterhof NN, Tipper SP, Downing PE. Crossmodal and action-specific: neuroimaging the human mirror neuron system. Trends Cogn Sci. 2013 Jul;17(7):311-8..
4. van Koningsbruggen MG, Peelen MV, Downing PE. A causal role for the extrastriate body area in detecting people in real-world scenes. J Neurosci. 2013 Apr 17;33(16):7003-10.
5. Oosterhof NN, Tipper SP, Downing PE. Visuo-motor imagery of specific manual actions: a multi-variate pattern analysis fMRI study. Neuroimage. 2012 Oct 15;63(1):262-71.
6. Taylor JC, Downing PE. Division of labor between lateral and ventral extrastriate representations of faces, bodies, and objects. J Cogn Neurosci. 2011 Dec;23(12):4122-37.
7. Downing PE, Peelen MV. The role of occipitotemporal body-selective regions in person perception. Cogn Neurosci. 2011; 2(3-4):186-203.
8. Downing PE. Face perception: broken into parts. Curr Biol. 2007 Oct 23;17(20):R888-9.
9. Peelen MV, Downing PE. The neural basis of visual body perception. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2007 Aug;8(8):636-48.
10. Peelen MV, Wiggett AJ, Downing PE. Patterns of fMRI activity dissociate overlapping functional brain areas that respond to biological motion. Neuron. 2006 Mar 16;49(6):815-22.



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