Leslie G. Ungerleider, Ph.D., Senior Investigator
Dr. Ungerleider received her B.A. degree from the State University of New York
at Binghamton and her Ph.D. degree, with a major in Experimental Psychology,
from New York University. During her postdoctoral training with Karl Pribram at
Stanford University, she began her work on higher-order perceptual mechanisms
in the cortex of primates. She moved to the NIMH in 1975, joining Mortimer
Mishkin in the Laboratory of Neuropsychology. Their neurobehavioral work
inspired their theory of 'two cortical visual systems', one specialized for
object recognition and another for visuospatial perception. In 1995, Dr.
Ungerleider became Chief of the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition at NIMH. She
is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine of
the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and
Sciences. In 2001, she was the recipient of the Women in Neuroscience Lifetime
Achievement Award and in 2008 she became an NIH Distinguished Investigator.
- Kandy Bahadur, Postbaccalaureate IRTA firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fern Baldwin, Postbaccalaureate IRTA email@example.com
- Andrew Bell, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tracy Doty, Ph.D., Special Volunteer email@example.com
- James Ellis, Postbaccalaureate IRTA firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stacia Friedman-Hill, Ph.D., Special Volunteer email@example.com
- Adam Greenberg, M.S., Contractor firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fadila Hadj-Bouziane, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow email@example.com
- Kathleen Hansen, Ph.D., IRTA Fellow firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sarah Hillenbrand, Postbaccalaureate IRTA email@example.com
- Shruti Japee, Ph.D., Staff Scientist firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kartik Kesavabhotla, Postbaccalaureate IRTA email@example.com
- Ning Liu, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nick Malecek, Postbaccalaureate IRTA email@example.com
- Adam Messinger, Ph.D., Staff Scientist firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ikuko Mukai, Ph.D., IRTA Fellow email@example.com
- Daniel Muldrew, Technical IRTA firstname.lastname@example.org
- Roger Tootell, Ph.D., Adjunct Investigator email@example.com
- William Vinje, Ph.D., Research Fellow firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Ungerleider's Section has long been devoted to establishing the links between neural structure and cognitive function, especially in the visual modality. Most of her early work focused on anatomical tracing techniques in macaque monkeys in order to delineate the areas that comprise visual association cortex and their interconnections. By the mid-1990s, she and others had succeeded in mapping much of the monkey extrastriate visual cortex and had outlined some of the major functional systems. With the basic anatomical data in hand, she then addressed more functional questions, including: 1) behavioral assessment of selective brain lesions in the cortical areas she had previously mapped; and 2) physiological recordings of neural activity in awake, behaving monkeys. With the advent of functional brain imaging in humans, she also began brain imaging studies of human cortex, using first PET and then fMRI. The monkey work has guided many of her hypotheses in the human imaging studies, and findings from the imaging studies have provided a broader, systems-level picture than could have been derived from the monkey work alone. Dr. Ungerleider has recently expanded her monkey program to include monkey fMRI in order to expand upon the parallel studies in humans and monkeys for which her lab is recognized.
Her work on visual attention has shown that in a typical scene many different objects compete for neural representation due to the limited processing capacity of the visual system. The competition among multiple objects can be biased by both bottom-up sensory-driven mechanisms and top-down influences, such as selective attention. Although the competition among stimuli is ultimately resolved within visual cortex, the source of top-down biasing signals derives from a distributed network of frontal and parietal areas. This biased competition model of attention suggests that once attentional resources are depleted, no further processing is possible. Dr. Ungerleider's more recent work has shown that, similar to the processing of other stimulus categories, the processing of stimuli with emotional valence is under top-down control, requiring attentional resources.
Comparing fMRI and Neuronal Activity in the Awake Behaving Monkey ( ASP LN-22 )
Regional Cerebral Blood Flow Studies of Object Perception, Identification, Localization, and Memory (
Selected Recent Publications:
Ungerleider, L.G., Galkin, T.W., Desimone, R., and Gattass, R. (2008) Cortical connections of area V4 in the macaque. , Cerebral Cortex 18, 477-499.
Hadj-Bouziane, F., Bell, A.H., Knusten, T.A., Ungerleider, L.G., and Tootell, R.B.H. (2008) Perception of emotional expression activates regions independent of face selectivity in monkey inferior temporal cortex: a fMRI study. , Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105, 5591-5596.
Tootell, R.B.H., Devaney, K.J., Young, J.C., Postelnicu, G., Rajimehr, R., and Ungerleider, L.G. (2008) fMRI mapping of a morphed continuum of 3D shapes within inferiortemporal cortex., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105, 3605-3609.
Rossi, A.F., Bichot, N.P., Desimone, R., and Ungerleider, L.G. (2007) Top-down attentional deficits in macaques with lesions of lateral prefrontal cortex. , J. Neurosci. 27, 11306-11314.
Mukai, I., Kim, D., Fukunaga, M., Japee, S., Marrett, S., and Ungerleider, L.G. (2007) Activations in visual and attention-related areas predict and correlate with the degree of perceptual learning. , J. Neurosci. 27, 11401-11411.
Heekeren, H.R., Marrett, S., Ruff, D.A., Bandettini, P.A., and Ungerleider, L.G. (2006) Involvement of left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in perceptual decision-making is independent of response modality., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103, 1023-1028.
Pessoa, L., Japee, S., Sturman, D.., and Ungerleider, L.G. (2006) Target visibility and visual awareness modulate amygdala responses to fearful faces., Cerebral Cortex 16, 366-375.
All Selected Publications
Dr. Leslie G. Ungerleider
Laboratory of Brain & Cognition, NIMH
Building 10, Room 4C104
10 Center Drive, MSC 1366
Bethesda, MD 20892-1366
Telephone: (301) 435-4932 (office),
(301) 402-0921 (fax)