Diane Beck


531 Psychology
2147 Beckman Institute
Office: 217-244-1118

Mail to:
405 N. Mathews Ave
Beckman Institute
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL 61801

Diane Beck

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

Currently Teaching

NEUR 453 - Cog Neuroscience of Vision

Cognitive neuroscience, visual cognition, attention and visual perception

Diane Beck's research program is aimed at identifying the cognitive and neural processes that enable and limit our visual representations of the world. Despite the fact that our brains register visual information in parallel across the visual field, our visual experience of the world is surprisingly more limited. We have all experienced the difficulty of finding a face in the crowd, or being so engrossed in our own thoughts that we have completely failed to "see" someone we are looking right at. Beck and her lab are interested in why we experience these limitations. Specifically, they ask what processes determine whether or not we are aware of a visual object or event; what mechanisms constrain the number of items we can effectively process at the same time; how higher-level processes, such as attention, modulate activity in visual cortex; and what processes enable rapid processing of natural scenes. Beck and her lab use a variety of approaches and methods to address these questions, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), behavioral methods, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Research Areas

Representative Publications

Scalf, P.E. & Beck, D. M. (2010). Competition for representation impedes attention to multiple items. Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 161-169.

Walther, D.B., Caddigan, E., Fei-Fei, L., & Beck, D.M. (2009). Natural Scene Categories Revealed in Distributed Patterns of Activity in the Human Brain. Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 10573-10581.

Mathewson, K., Gratton, G., Fabiani, M., Beck, D., & Ro, T. (2009). To See or Not to See: Pre-stimulus Alpha Phase Predicts Visual Awareness. Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 2725-32.

Beck, D. M. & Kastner, S. (2008). Top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in biasing competition in the human brain. Vision Research 49, 1154-1165.

Torralbo, A. & Beck, D. M. (2008) Perceptual load-induced selection as a result of local competitive interactions in visual cortex. Psychological Science, 19, 1045-1050.

Palmer, S. E.; Beck, D. M. The repetition discrimination task: An objective method for studying perceptual grouping. Perception & Psychophysics 2007, 69, (1), 68-78.

Beck DM, Muggleton N, Walsh V, and Lavie N. 2006. Right parietal cortex plays a critical role in change blindness. Cerebral Cortex 16(5):712-717.

Beck DM, and Kastner S. 2005. Stimulus context modulates competition in human extrastriate cortex. Nature Neuroscience 8:1110-1116.

Beck DM, and Lavie N. 2005. Look here but ignore what you see: effects of distractors at fixation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 31:592-607.

Beck DM, and Palmer SE. 2002. Top-Down influences on Perceptual Grouping. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 28:1071-1084.

Complete Publications List (PubMed)