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Indiana University Bloomington


Some of the images featured on our site, with short explanations:

Geodesic Photogrammetry System

Our geodesic photogrammetry system (GPS) is a feature of the EEG/TMS Lab, headed by Professor Aina Puce. The GPS system uses 11 cameras mounted on a geodesic steel gantry to determine the exact locations of scalp electrodes. When researchers attempt to determine the source location of brainwaves, and/or attempt to align EEG activity with fMRI images, it's important to know exactly where these electrodes are located on the scalp.

Motion Capture System

With our Vicon motion capture system, researchers are able to study precise aspects of how we perceive (and generate inferences about) human movement. Small reflectors are attached to parts of the model's body, and a series of infrared cameras mounted throughout the room measure the exact 3-dimensional locations of these reflectors. The system is operated by the IU Vision Lab, headed by Professor Jason Gold, but is also available to IU researchers and artists across campus.

fMRI Scanner

The department's research imaging facility has a research-dedicated 3T Siemens Tim Trio fMRI scanner, capable of producing detailed images of brain structure, and brain activity.

Our Tradition

This photograph of Indiana University's earliest psychology laboratory was probably taken in 1895 or 1896. From left to right in the photo are Edward M. Ritter, William Lowe Bryan, John A. Bergstrom, and Clark David Wissler. Bryan became the president of Indiana University in 1902. The apparatus at far right (with what looks like a drum at top and wheels below) is a clockwork, spring-driven "vertical kymograph." Psychologists used the instrument to record muscle exertion, response times, and other physiological responses to stimuli. Full photo


Converging techniques in neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and robotics, are allowing researchers in Olaf Sporn's Computational Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory to gain an understanding of behavior that isn't compartmentalized in any single level of analysis. This approach, also called Embodied Cognition, maintains that cognitive processes are the result of interactions between neural, bodily, and environmental factors. Many laboratories in our department are leaders in this growing field of Embodied Cognition.


Most of the buildings of Indiana University's campus, including the Psychology Building, are made with limestone quarried locally in South Central Indiana. Indiana limestone (formally Salem limestone) is a sedimentary rock formed from ancient marine fossils that decomposed at the bottom of a shallow inland sea that covered most of the midwestern USA 350 million years ago.

Electroencephalography (EEG)

At least five research laboratories in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences are equipped for electroencephalography recording (EEG; commonly called brainwaves). Electrodes are placed on the scalp, where tiny electrical fluxuations over millions of neurons can be measured. In our department, EEG recordings are being used to investigate a wide array of questions about human perception, including schizophrenia, face recognition, and social cognition.

IU Face Database Project

Several labs are currently carrying out research on human facial recognition. Most of this work requires a large set of carefully controlled face images to use as stimuli in experiments. The IU Face Database Project was started in 2011 to provide a substantial face image database to support this ongoing research, and currently contains face images taken from over 200 models, both male and female, and featuring different facial expressions (happy, sad...). This is an ongoing project, and new faces will be continuously added to the database.

Network Analysis

Network analysis has become an important analytical tool in social psychology, organizational psychology, and neuroscience, and is actively used by faculty in the department. The graph you see to the left visualizes a network of email messages sent between researchers at HP Laboratories in Palo Alto, created to show "communities of practice" or workgroups within the organization. It was constructed from these data by placing edges between any two individuals that had exchanged at least 30 emails in total, and at least 5 in both directions. The image shown here is a component of the larger network.

The Multisensory Brain

Using fMRI to measure human brain function non-invasively has produced incredible advances in our understanding of the brain systems involved in multisensory perception. Professor Thomas James' research suggests that sensory integration is not confined to only a few brain regions, but instead permeates much of the cortex. This inflated 3-D brain reconstruction highlights one example of sensory integration: the use of volumetric shape cues for object recognition. Based on the distribution of brain activation, we concluded that analyzing 3-D shape combines cues from the visual, tactile, and auditory systems.

Avian Communication

At the Animal Behavior Farm, researchers explore the effects of social organization on avian learning and seek developmental principles that apply to other animals, including human infants. Birds are studied throughout the year in large aviaries in which the composition of groups is periodically altered and the effects measured. Work revealing the use of visual displays by female songbirds is now cited as an animal exemplar for gesture and visual learning by children who are deaf or incapable of early vocalizations.

Brain Extravaganza

The Brain Extravaganza is a community art event created by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor to raise awareness, appreciation, and education about the amazing human brain. There are 22 fiberglass brain sculptures decorated by local artists around Bloomington. They will be on display until October 15th. The brain in front of the Psychology Building was decorated by Artist Barb Bonchek and students in Harmony School and is sponsored by the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Each brain is made of fiberglass and is about 5 feet tall.