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Decoding individually unique object representations

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  • Full or part time
    Dr I Charest
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Recognising an object and its category is one of the most trivial yet important task in our interaction with the environment. This task is also heavily influenced by our own set of experiences. Applications are welcome from students fascinated by object recognition and keen on identifying the brain mechanisms supporting the recognition of particular object exemplars. Focusing on the human inferior temporal lobe (hIT) and the temporal voice areas and their interaction with the rest of the brain, the research project will involve multiple cutting-edge acquisition and analysis tools to investigate information processing during perception and relate it to subjective experience. The lab uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), scalp EEG, MEG, psychophysical experiments and computational models. Analytical approaches include pattern information analyses (including representational similarity analysis), machine learning and Deep Convolutional Neural Networks. The lab also uses these cutting edge techniques to study the brain representations of particular objects in individuals with an Autism Spectrum Condition diagnosis (ASC).

Applicants should have a research-oriented background in cognitive neuroscience, experimental psychology, or computer science and should have basic programming skills (e.g., MATLAB). Experience with neuroimaging and data analysis is desirable.

The lab is based in the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham. We are one of the largest and most active psychology departments in the UK and have an excellent reputation for teaching and research with around 800 students studying in a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes. Further information can be found at


For informal enquiries about the project please contact Dr. Ian Charest ([email protected]). Formal applications must be made via the postgraduate admissions system in the School of Psychology


Funding Notes

Competitive funding is occasionally available for excellent students. Applications for self-funded PhD projects are always welcome. If you are interested, please directly contact [email protected]


The brain of the beholder: honouring individual representational idiosyncrasies.
I. Charest & N. Kriegeskorte. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, (2015)

Unique semantic space in the brain of each beholder predicts perceived similarity.
I. Charest, R. A. Kievit, T. W. Schmitz, D. Deca & N. Kriegeskorte
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume: 111, Issue: 40 (2014)

Cerebral processing of voice gender studied using a continuous carryover FMRI design.
I. Charest, C. Pernet, M. Latinus, F. Crabbe & P. Belin. Cerebral Cortex, Volume: 23 (2013)

Electrophysiological evidence for an early processing of human voices.
I. Charest, C. Pernet, G. A. Rousselet, I. Quiñones, M. Latinus, S. Fillion-Bilodeau, J. P. Chartrand & P. Belin. BMC neuroscience, Volume: 10 (2009)

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 40.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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