Dr. Kveraga is a cognitive neuroscientist who studies the neural mechanisms of threat perception from naturalistic stimuli, with strong interests in visual pathway function and autism. He is also interested in neural aesthetics and how brain activity can be employed to predict and shape architectural design and art. He has expertise in neuroimaging methods, such as structural and functional MRI (including ultra-high-field high resolution 7T fMRI), MEG and EEG, psychophysical techniques (eye and limb tracking, visual pathway biasing), and in brain connectivity analyses (e.g., Dynamic Causal Modeling and biomagnetic phase synchrony).
Dr. Kveraga leads a research program as PI of NIH K01 and R01 grants to elucidate the neurodynamics of threat perception. Given that the brain is tasked with ensuring survival, a fundamental function of the brain predicting proximal events in environment and potential impact on the organism. This requires real-time inferences about the current environment from external sensory inputs, accomplished by combining incoming information with stimulus associations in memory and interoceptive signals that convey the current state of the perceiver. As this process is very complex, Dr. Kveraga’s focus has been initially on understanding what neural processes are involved in distinguishing different types of threats and non-threats from naturalistic visual stimuli. He has tested neural and behavioral responses with several types and combinations of threat cues embedded in visual stimuli – facial expression and identity, eye gaze direction, body posture and positioning of weapons and predatory animals. To better understand how the distinct visual channels (magnocellular, parvocellular, koniocellular) contribute to this process, his group developed methods to bias threat stimuli towards these visual pathways. He has also been exploring how perceivers’ anxiety levels, sex and age influence threat perception.
PhD in Electrical Engineering, University of Minnesota
1. Kveraga K, Boshyan J, Bar M. Magnocellular projections as the trigger of top-down facilitation in recognition. J Neurosci. 2007 Nov 28;27(48):13232-40.
2. Kveraga K, Ghuman AS, Kassam KS, Aminoff EA, Hämäläinen MS, Chaumon M, Bar M. Early onset of neural synchronization in the contextual associations network. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Feb 22;108(8):3389-94.
3. Kveraga K, Boshyan J, Adams RB Jr, Mote J, Betz N, Ward N, Hadjikhani N, Bar M, Barrett LF. If it bleeds, it leads: separating threat from mere negativity. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2015 Jan;10(1):28-35.
2014: Editor of a book on scene perception (with Prof. Moshe Bar), “Scene Vision” by MIT Press.
1999: Fellow, The McDonnell Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience
1999: Fellow, Marine Biological Laboratory Summer School in Neuroinformatics