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Elissa M. Aminoff
Research Scientist

Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition
Department of Psychology
Carnegie Mellon University
office: 352 Baker Hall, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Google Scholar Profile


My research demonstrates the interconnection between neural and psychological processes associated with high-level vision and those associated with long-term memory. Experience and long-term contextual associations in memory can affect how we process objects and scenes, and influence their neural organization, while the organization and perception of objects and scenes can affect memory for past events. Currently, I collaborate with computer vision scientists to examine how computer models can explain the representational space within the visual cortex used to process scenes. And on the other hand, how neural and psychological mechanisms can inspire and advance computer vision models. In the past, my research has also extended to investigate individual differences in the effect of context on decision making, in this case with regards to recognition memory.


2008 PhD Psychology: Cognitive Neuroscience, Harvard University
2005 MA Psychology, Harvard University
2001 ScB Cognitive Neuroscience, Brown University


Kim, J.*, Aminoff, E.*, Kastner, S., & Behrmann, M. (In Press). The neural basis of developmental topographic disorientation. Journal of Neuroscience. * Equal contribution.

Aminoff, E. & Tarr, M. (2015). Associative processing is inherent in scene perception. PLoS ONE, 10(6), e0128840. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0128840.

Aminoff, E., Toneva, M., Shrivastava, A., Chen, X., Misra, I., Gupta, A. and Tarr, M. (2015). Applying artificial vision models to human scene understanding. Front. Comput. Neurosci. 9:8. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2015.00008

Aminoff, E., Freeman, S., Clewett, D., Tipper, C., Frithsen, A., Johnson, A., Grafton, S., & Miller, M. (2015). Maintaining a cautious state of mind during a recognition test: A large-scale fMRI study. Neuropsychologia, 67, 132-147.

Aminoff, E. (2014). Putting scenes in context. In, Kveraga, K. & Bar, M. (Eds), Scene vision: Making sense of what we see (pp. 135-154). Cambridge: MIT Press.

Hermunstad, A., Brown, K., Bassett, D., Aminoff, E., Frithsen, A., Johnson, A.,Tipper, C., Miller, M., Grafton, S., & Carlson, J. (2014). Structurally-constrained relationships between cognitive states in the human brain. PLOS Computational Biology, e1003591.

Aminoff, E., Kveraga, K., & Bar, M. (2013). The role of the parahippocampal cortex in cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17, 379-390.

Hermunstad, A., Bassett, D., Brown, K., Aminoff, E., Clewett, D., Freeman, S., Frithsen, A., Johnson, A.,Tipper, C., Miller, M., Grafton, S., & Carlson, J. (2013). Structural foundations of resting-state and task-based neural activity in the human brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, 6169-6174.

Aminoff, E., Clewett, D., Freeman, S., Frithsen, A., Tipper, C., Johnson, A., Grafton, S., & Miller, M. (2012). Individual differences in shifting decision criterion: A recognition memory study. Memory & Cognition, 40, 1016-1030.

Miller, M., Donovan, C., Bennett, C., Aminoff, E., & Mayer, R. (2012). Individual differences in cognitive style and strategy predict similarities in the patterns of brain activity between individuals. NeuroImage, 59, 83-93.

Kveraga, K., Ghuman, A., Kassam, K., Aminoff, E., Hamalainen, M., Chaumon, M., & Bar, M. (2011). Early onset of neural synchronization in the contextual associations network. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108: 3389-3394.

Aminoff, E., Balslev, D., Borroni, P., Bryan, R.E., Chua, E.F., Cloutier, J., Cross, E.S., Drew, T., Funk, C.M., Gil-da-Costa, R., Guerin, S.A., Hall, J.L., Jordan, K.E., Landau, A.N., Molnar-Szakacs, I., Montaser-Kouhsari, L., Olofsson, J.K., Quadflieg, S., Somerville, L.H., Sy, J.L., Uddin, L.Q., & Yamada, M. (2009). The landscape of cognitive neuroscience: Challenges, rewards, and new perspectives. In M.S. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The Cognitive Neurosciences IV. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Aminoff, E., Schacter, D. L., & Bar, M. (2008). The cortical underpinnings of context-based memory distortion. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20, 2226-2237.

Chiao, J. Y., Iidaka, T., Gordon, H. L., Nogawa, J., Bar, M., Aminoff, E., Sadato, N., & Ambady, N. (2008). Cultural specificity in amygdala response to fear faces. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20, 2167-2174.

Bar, M., Aminoff, E., Schacter, D. (2008). Scenes unseen: The parahippocampal cortex subserves contextual associations, not scenes per se. Journal of Neuroscience, 28, 8539-8544.

Bar, M., Aminoff, E., & Ishai, A. (2008). Famous faces activate contextual associations in the parahippocampal cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 18, 1233-1238.

Bar, M., Aminoff, E., Mason, M., & Fenske, M. (2007). The units of thought. Hippocampus, 17, 420-428.

Aminoff, E., Gronau, N., & Bar, M. (2007). The parahippocampal cortex mediates spatial and non-spatial associations. Cerebral Cortex, 27, 1493-1503.

Fenske, M., Aminoff, E., Gronau, N., & Bar M. (2006). Top-down facilitation of visual object recognition: Object-based and context-based contributions. Progress in Brain Research, 155, 3-21.

Zago, L., Fenske, M. J., Aminoff, E., & Bar, M. (2005). The rise and fall of priming: How visual exposure shapes cortical representations of objects. Cerebral Cortex, 15, 1655-1665.

Bar, M. & Aminoff, E. (2003). Cortical analysis of visual context. Neuron, 38, 347-358.


16-899A: The visual world as seen by neurons and machines (Spring 2014)