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Nicole Rust

Assistant Professor of Psychology


Ph.D. in Neural Science, New York University
BS in Molecular Biology and Chemistry, University of Idaho

Office Location: 
3401 Walnut Street, Room 317C

Research Themes: Behavioral Neuroscience, Computational Modeling, Sensation and Perception. Specific Research Areas: Neural basis of object recognition. Research Synopsis: Our group is interested in the visual process­ing that happens at the nex­us of visual percep­tion and cog­nition. We are focused on understand­ing the seq­uence of neural events that allows the visual sys­tem to ext­ract informa­tion about the con­tent of the world (i.e. specific ob­jects) from the light patterns encoded by the eye. We are partic­ular­ly interested in the role that mem­ory plays in visual process­ing and ob­ject recog­nition. For example, when you search for a partic­ular face in a crowd, you have to com­pare the mem­ory of the face you are look­ing for with each per­son you see. We are current­ly investigat­ing the neural representa­tions of visual mem­ory and the neural mechan­isms that all­ow you to determ­ine if what you are look­ing "at" is also what you are look­ing "for". To add­ress these quest­ions, we monitor patterns of activ­ity in popula­tions of neur­ons in differ­ent brain areas while sub­jects perform ob­ject recog­nition tasks and use computation­al da­ta analyses to deci­pher the neural code.

Selected Publications

Rust NC, DiCarlo JJ (2012) Concurrent increases in selectivity and invariance produce constant sparseness across the ventral visual pathway. Journal of Neuroscience 32:10170-10182. 

 DiCarlo JJ, Zoccolan D, Rust NC (2012) Perspective: How does the brain solve visual object recognition? Neuron 73: 415-434.


Rust NC, DiCarlo JJ (2010) Selectivity and tolerance ("invariance") both increase as visual information propagates from V4 to IT. Journal of Neuroscience 30:12978-12995.


Rust NC, Stocker AA (2010) Ambiguity and invariance: two fundamental challenges for visual processing. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 20:382-388.