About Me

Andrew Engell joined the Kenyon College faculty in 2013. His research program is motivated by his fascination with how the brain gives rise to a vast repertoire of elaborate social and cognitive skills.

Dr. Engell is particularly interested in the seemingly effortless way that people identify and interpret non-verbal social information that is conveyed by facial expression, eye-gaze direction, facial identity, body posture, and biological motion. To better understand how the brain generates these remarkable facilities, he has used a multimodal approach that includes functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), intracranial electroencephalography (EEG), and behavioral experiments.

Human neuroscience methods is also an area of focus for Dr. Engell, as he finds the tools used to measure human brain activity inherently interesting. For example, he has explored the relationship between the hemodynamic signal (i.e., changes in how much oxygen is in the blood) measured by fMRI and local-field potentials (i.e., electrical signals produced by large groups of neurons) measured by EEG.

Dr. Engell completed his Ph.D. in Psychology and Neuroscience at Princeton University, and his postdoctoral training in EEG at Yale University. His work has been supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship and a National Institute of Mental Health National Research Service Award.

Dr. Engell lives in the Gambier area with his wife, Dana, and their adopted German Shepherd, Carol. He can often be found being led around by one or the other.



Recent News

Stimulus induced reversal of information flow through a cortical network for animacy perception

Shultz, S, van den Honert, RN, Engell, AD, and McCarthy, G. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, In Press

Decades of research have demonstrated that a region of the right fusiform gyrus (FG) and right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) respond preferentially to static faces and biological motion, respectively. Despite this view, both regions activate in response to both stimulus categories and to a range of other stimuli, such as goal-directed actions, suggesting that these regions respond to characteristics of animate agents more generally. Here we propose a neural model for animacy detection composed of processing streams that are initially differentially sensitive to cues signaling animacy, but that ultimately act in concert to support reasoning about animate agents. We use Dynamic Causal Modeling, a measure of effective connectivity, to demonstrate that the directional flow of information between the FG and pSTS is initially dependent on the characteristics of the animate agent presented, a key prediction of our proposed network for animacy detection.

Repetition suppression of face-selective evoked and induced EEG recorded from human cortex

Engell, AD & McCarthy, G, Human Brain Mapping, In Press

In functional MRI studies, repetition suppression refers to the reduction of hemodynamic activation to repeated stimulus presentation. For example, the repeated presentation of a face reduces the hemodynamic response evoked by faces in the fusiform gyrus. The neural events that underlie repetition suppression are not well understood. Indeed, in contrast to the hemodynamic response, the face-specific N200 recorded from subdural electrodes on the ventral occipitotemporal cortex, primarily along the fusiform gyrus, has been reported to be insensitive to face-identity repetition. We have previously described a face-specific broadband gamma (30-100 Hz) response at ventral face-specific N200 sites that is functionally dissociable from the N200. In this study we investigate whether gamma and other components of the electroencephalogram spectrum are affected by face-identity repetition independently of the N200. Participants viewed sequentially presented identical faces. At sites on and around the fusiform gyrus, we found that face repetition modulated alpha (8-12 Hz), low-gamma (30-60 Hz) and high-gamma (60-100 Hz) synchrony, but not the N200. These findings provide evidence of a spatially co-localized progression of face processing. Whereas the N200 reflects an initial obligatory response that is less sensitive to face-identity repetition, the subsequent spectral fluctuations reflect more elaborative face processing and are thus sensitive to face novelty. It is notable that the observed modulations were different for different frequency bands. We observed repetition suppression of broadband gamma, but repetition enhancement of alpha synchrony. This difference is discussed with regard to an existing model of repetition suppression and behavioral repetition priming.

Kenyon College bound!

I am thrilled to announce that this fall I will be moving to Ohio as the new Assistant Professor of Psychology at Kenyon College.

fMRI activation by face and biological motion perception: Comparison of response maps and creation of probabilistic atlases – NeuroImage, in press

Neuroimaging research has identified several category-selective regions in visual cortex that respond most strongly when viewing an exemplar image from a preferred category, such as faces. Recent studies, however, have suggested a more complex pattern of activation that has been heretofore unrecognized, e.g., the presence of additional patches of activation to faces beyond the well-studied fusiform face area, and the activation of ostensible face selective regions by animate motion of non-biological forms. Here, we characterize the spatial pattern of brain activity evoked by viewing faces or biological motion in large fMRI samples (N > 120). We create probabilistic atlases for both face and biological motion activation, and directly compare their spatial patterns of activation. Our findings support the suggestion that the fusiform face area is composed of at least two separable foci of activation. The face-evoked response in the fusiform and nearby ventral temporal cortex has good reliability across runs; however, we found surprisingly high variability in lateral brain regions by faces, and for all brain regions by biological motion, which had an overall much lower effect size. We found that faces and biological motion evoke substantially overlapping activation distributions in both ventral and lateral occipitotemporal cortex. The peaks of activation for these different categories within these overlapping regions were close but distinct.

Publications

Engell A.D. and McCarthy G. (2014). Repetition suppression of face-selective evoked and induced EEG recorded from human cortex. Human Brain Mapping, 35, 4155-4162.

 

Shultz, S., van den Honert, R.N., Engell A.D. and McCarthy G. (2014). Stimulus induced reversal of information flow through a cortical network for animacy perception. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsu0

 

Engell A.D. and McCarthy G. (2013). fMRI activation by face and biological motion perception: Comparison of response maps and creation of probabilistic atlases. NeuroImage, 74, 140-151.

 

Engell A.D., Huettel S., and McCarthy G. (2012). The fMRI BOLD signal tracks electrophysiological spectral perturbations, not event-related potentials. NeuroImage, 59, 2600-2606.

 

Nummenmaa, L., Engell A.D., von dem Hagen, E., Henson, R.N., and Calder, A.J. (2012). Autism Spectrum Traits Predict the Neural Response to Eye Gaze in Typical Individuals. NeuroImage, 59, 3356-3363.

 

Todoorov, A., Said, C.P., Oosterhof, N.N., and Engell, A.D. (2011). Task-invariant brain responses to the social value of faces. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 23, 2766-2781.

 

von dem Hagen, E., Nummenmaa, L., Yu, R., Engell, A.D., Ewbank, M.P. and Calder, A.J. (2011). Autism spectrum traits in the typical population predict structure and function in the posterior superior temporal sulcus. Cerebral Cortex. 21, 493-500.

 

Engell A.D. and McCarthy G. (2011). The relationship of gamma oscillations and face-specific ERPs recorded subdurally from occipitotemporal cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 21, 1213-1221.

 

Said, C.P., Moore, C.D., Engell, A.D., Todorov, A. and Haxby, J.V. (2010). Distributed representations of dynamic facial expressions in the superior temporal sulcus. Journal of Vision, 10, 1-12.

 

Baron, S., Gobinni, M., Engell, A.D., and Todorov, A. (2010). Amygdala and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex responses to appearance-based and behavior-based person impressions. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 6, 572-581.

 

Engell, A.D., Nummenmaa, L., Henson, R.A., Haxby, J.V. and Calder, A.J. (2010). Differential activation of frontoparietal attention networks by social and symbolic spatial cues. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 5, 432-440.

 

Engell, A.D. and McCarthy, G. (2010). Selective attention modulates face-specific induced gamma oscillations recorded from human fusiform gyrus. Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 8780-86.

 

Engell A.D., Todorov, A., and Haxby J.V. (2010). Common neural mechanisms for the evaluation of facial trustworthiness and emotional expressions as revealed by behavioral adaptation. Perception, 39, 931-41.

 

Hassin, R.R., Bargh, J.A., Engell, A.D., and McCulloch, K.C. (2009). Implicit working memory. Consciousness and Cognition, 16, 21-58.

 

Nummenmaa, L., Passamonti, L., Rowe, J., Engell, A.D., and Calder, A.J. (2009). Connectivity analysis reveals a cortical network for eye gaze perception. Cerebral Cortex, 20, 1780-1787.

 

Todorov, A. and Engell, A.D. (2008). The role of the amygdala in implicit evaluation of emotionally neutral faces. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 3, 303-312.

 

Todorov A., Said C.P., Engell A.D., and Oosterhof, N.N. (2008). Understanding evaluation of faces on social dimensions. Trends In Cognitive Sciences, 12, 455-460.

 

Engell, A.D. and Haxby, J.V. (2007). Facial expression and gaze-direction in human superior temporal sulcus. Neuropsychologia, 45, 3234-3241.

 

Engell, A.D., Haxby, J.V., Todorov, A. (2007). Implicit trustworthiness decisions: Automatic coding of face properties in human amygdala. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19,1508-1519.

 

Greene, J.D., Nystrom, L.E., Engell, A.D., Darley, J.M., Cohen, J.D. (2004). The neural bases of cognitive conflict and control in moral judgment. Neuron, 44, 389-400.

Engell A.D. and McCarthy G. (2014). Repetition suppression of face-selective evoked and induced EEG recorded from human cortex. Human Brain Mapping, 35, 4155-4162

 

Shultz, S., van den Honert, R.N., Engell A.D. and McCarthy G. (2014). Stimulus induced reversal of information flow through a cortical network for animacy perception. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsu0

Engell A.D., Huettel S., and McCarthy G. (2012). The fMRI BOLD signal tracks electrophysiological spectral perturbations, not event-related potentials. NeuroImage, 59, 2600-2606.

 

Nummenmaa, L., Engell A.D., von dem Hagen, E., Henson, R.N., and Calder, A.J. (2012). Autism Spectrum Traits Predict the Neural Response to Eye Gaze in Typical Individuals. NeuroImage, 59, 3356-3363.

Engell A.D. and McCarthy G. (2011). The relationship of gamma oscillations and face-specific ERPs recorded subdurally from occipitotemporal cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 21, 1213-1221.

 

Todoorov, A., Said, C.P., Oosterhof, N.N., and Engell, A.D. (2011). Task-invariant brain responses to the social value of faces. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 2766-2781.

 

von dem Hagen, E., Nummenmaa, L., Yu, R., Engell, A.D., Ewbank, M.P. and Calder, A.J. (2011). Autism spectrum traits in the typical population predict structure and function in the posterior superior temporal sulcus. Cerebral Cortex, 21, 493-500.

Engell A.D., Todorov, A., and Haxby J.V. (2010). Common neural mechanisms for the evaluation of facial trustworthiness and emotional expressions as revealed by behavioral adaptation. Perception, 39, 931-41.

 

Engell, A.D. and McCarthy, G. (2010). Selective attention modulates face-specific induced gamma oscillations recorded from human fusiform gyrus. Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 8780-86.

 

Engell, A.D., Nummenmaa, L., Henson, R.A., Haxby, J.V. and Calder, A.J. (2010). Differential activation of frontoparietal attention networks by social and symbolic spatial cues. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 5, 432-440.

 

Baron, S., Gobinni, M., Engell, A.D., and Todorov, A. (2010). Amygdala and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex responses to appearance-based and behavior-based person impressions. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 6, 572-581.

 

Said, C.P., Moore, C.D., Engell, A.D., Todorov, A. and Haxby, J.V. (2010). Distributed representations of dynamic facial expressions in the superior temporal sulcus. Journal of Vision, 10, 1-12.

Nummenmaa, L., Passamonti, L., Rowe, J., Engell, A.D., and Calder, A.J. (2009). Connectivity analysis reveals a cortical network for eye gaze perception. Cerebral Cortex, 20, 1780-1787.

 

Hassin, R.R., Bargh, J.A., Engell, A.D., and McCulloch, K.C. (2009). Implicit working memory. Consciousness and Cognition, 16, 21-58.

Todorov A., Said C.P., Engell A.D., and Oosterhof, N.N. (2008). Understanding evaluation of faces on social dimensions. Trends In Cognitive Sciences, 12, 455-460.

 

Todorov, A. and Engell, A.D. (2008). The role of the amygdala in implicit evaluation of emotionally neutral faces. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 3, 303-312.

Engell, A.D., Haxby, J.V., Todorov, A. (2007). Implicit trustworthiness decisions: Automatic coding of face properties in human amygdala. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19,1508-1519.

 

Engell, A.D. and Haxby, J.V. (2007). Facial expression and gaze-direction in human superior temporal sulcus. Neuropsychologia, 45, 3234-3241.

Greene, J.D., Nystrom, L.E., Engell, A.D., Darley, J.M., Cohen, J.D. (2004). The neural bases of cognitive conflict and control in moral judgment. Neuron, 44, 389-400.

Curriculum Vitae

Atlas of Social Agent Perception (ASAP)

The Atlas of Social Agent Perception is a collection of  fMRI probabilistic maps of face, biological motion, scene, and house perception. The atlas is freely available via download or by emailing me at engella at kenyon dot edu.

If you find the atlas useful, please cite:

Engell A.D. and McCarthy G. (2013). fMRI activation by face and biological motion perception: Comparison of response maps and creation of probabilistic atlases. NeuroImage, 74, 140-151.

—–
Download ASAP

Contact Me

Email

engella at kenyon dot edu

 

Office Hours

Book Appointment

 

Web

Andrew D. Engell
Kenyon College, Department of Psychology
Google Scholar Profile

 

Mail

Department of Psychology
Samuel Mather Hall
Kenyon College
Gambier, OH 43022

Courier

Department of Psychology
Yale University
2 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06511
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