Gregory McCarthy, Ph.D.[Edit Page]

Professor, Psychology, Yale University


Ph. D., 1980, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Biological Psychology)

Research Interests

Functional neuroanatomy, face perception, social cues, prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in prediction.

Research Statement

Research conducted in my laboratory is concerned with the functional anatomy of the human brain. Our methods include functional magnetic resonance imaging, intracranial human electrophysiology, direct cortical stimulation, and scalp-recorded event-related potentials. There are two themes of investigation. The first concerns the processing of complex visual stimuli, such as faces, objects, and letterstrings. Our research has identified discrete regions of the ventral occipitotemporal brain in the perception of faces and of letterstrings. We are now investigating whether these areas are influenced by attentional, semantic, and experiential factors and, if so, whether these influences represent top-down processes. Our work in face perception has recently expanded to investigate lateral temporal lobe regions that appear involved in processing dynamic aspects of visual stimuli, such as the perception of shifting gaze within an otherwise static face. In particular, we are interested in whether this lateral temporal region contributes to processing of complex biological cues that form a substrate for social perception.

A second research theme has investigated the function of prefrontal cortex, particularly in the development of predictions or expectations, and in the processing of novel stimuli. In recent years, we have integrated the two research themes, by investigating differential response of prefrontal cortex and extrastriate visual cortex in the processing of complex stimuli that subjects must remember, or must discriminate among.

In addition, my laboratory has maintained an active interest in the physiological relationship between event-related potentials measured with electrophysiological methods and the hemodynamic response measured with imaging methods. We have also recently published several papers that have investigated statistical properties of the hemodynamic response that have important consequences for event-related fMRI designs.

Recent Representative Publications


Morey RA, Haswell C, Selgrade E, Massoglia D, Liu C, Weiner J, Marx C, Workgroup M-AM, Cernak I & McCarthy G (2012). Effects of chronic mild traumatic brain injury on white matter integrity in Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Human Brain Mapping. In Press: 1-15.

Morey RA, Gold AL, LaBar KS, Beall SK, Brown VM, Haswell CC, Nasser JD, Wagner HR, McCarthy G & Workgroup M-A (2012). Amygdala volume changes with posttraumatic stress disorder in a large case-controlled veteran group. Archives of General Psychiatry. 69(11): 1169-1178.


Wong G, Dolcos S, Denkova E, Morey R, Wang L, McCarthy G & Dolcos F (2012). Brain imaging investigation of the impairing effect of emotion on cognition. Journal of Visual Experiments. 60: 1-4.


Hayes JP, LaBar KS, McCarthy G, Selgrade E, Nasser J, Dolcos F & Morey RA (2011). Reduced hippocampal and amygdala activity predicts memory distortions for trauma reminders in combat-related PTSD. Journal of Psychiatric Research. 45(5): 660-669.


Morey RA, Hariri AR, Gold AL, Hauser MA, Munger HJ, Dolcos F & McCarthy G (2011). Serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms and brain function during emotional distraction from cognitive processing in posttraumatic stress disorder. BMC Psychiatry. 11: 76.


Morey RA, Selgrade ES, Wagner HR, Huettel SA, Wang LH & McCarthy G (2010). Scan-Rescan Reliability of Subcortical Brain Volumes Derived From Automated Segmentation. Human Brain Mapping. 31(11): 1751-1762.


Hayes JP, Morey RA, Petty CM, Seth S, Smoski MJ, McCarthy G & LaBar KS (2010). Staying cool when things get hot: emotion regulation modulates neural mechanisms of memory encoding. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 4: 1-10.


Morey RA, Dolcos F, Petty CM, Cooper DA, Pannu Hayes J, LaBar KS & McCarthy G (2009, In Press). The Role of Trauma Related Distractors on Neural Systems for Working Memory and Emotion Processing in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research.


Morey RA, Petty CM, Xu Y, Pannu Hayes J, Wagner HR, LaBar KS, Lewis DV, Styner M & McCarthy G (2009, In Press). A comparison of automated segmentation and manual tracing for quantifying hippocampal and amygdala volumes. NeuroImage.

Wang L, Mullette-Gillman O, Gadde KM, Kuhn CM, McCarthy G & Huettel SA (2009). The effect of acute tryptophan depletion on emotional distraction and subsequent memory. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 4(4): 357-68.


Hayes JP, LaBar KS, Petty CM, McCarthy G & Morey RA (2008, In Press). Alterations in the neural circuitry for emotion and attention associated with posttraumatic stress symptomatology. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.

Morey RA, Petty CM, Cooper DA, LaBar KS & McCarthy G (2008). Neural systems for executive and emotional processing are modulated by level of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in Iraq war veterans. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. 162(1): 59-72.


Dolcos F, Diaz-Granados P, Wang L & McCarthy G (2008). Opposing influences of emotional and non-emotional distracters upon sustained prefrontal cortex activity during a delayed-response working memory task. Neuropsychologia. 46(1): 326-35.


Wang L, Krishnan KR, Steffens DC, Potter GG, Dolcos F & McCarthy G (2008). Depressive State- and Disease-Related Alterations in Neural Responses to Affective and Executive Challenges in Geriatric Depression. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 165: 863-871.

Wang L, LaBar KS, Smoski M, Rosenthal MZ, Dolcos F, Lynch TR, Krishnan KR & McCarthy G (2008). Prefrontal mechanisms for executive control over emotional distraction are altered in major depression. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. 163(2): 143-155.

Huettel SA, Song AW & McCarthy G (2005). Decisions under Uncertainty: Probabilistic Context Influences Activation of Prefrontal and Parietal Cortices. Journal of Neuroscience. 25(13): 3304-11.

Huettel SA & McCarthy G (2004). What is odd in the oddball task? Prefrontal cortex is activated by dynamic changes in response strategy. Neuropsychologia. 42(3): 379-386.

Huettel SA, McKeown MJ, Song AW, Hart S, Spencer DD, Allison T & McCarthy G (2004). Linking hemodynamic and electrophysiological measures of brain activity: Evidence from functional MRI and intracranial field potentials. Cerebral Cortex. 14(2): 165-173.


Pelphrey KA, Mack PB, Song AW, Guzeldere G & McCarthy G (2003). Faces evoke spatially differentiated patterns of BOLD activation and deactivation. NeuroReport. 14(7): 955-9.

Pelphrey KA, Singerman JD, Allison T & McCarthy G (2003). Brain Activation Evoked by Perception of Gaze Shifts; The Influence of Context. Neuropsychologia. 41(2): 156-170.

Allison T, Puce A & McCarthy G (2002). Category-Sensitive Excitatory and Inhibitory Processes in Human Extrastriate Cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology. 88(5): 2864-8.

Paller KA & McCarthy G (2002). Field potentials in the human hippocampus during the encoding and recognition of visual stimuli. Hippocampus. 12(3): 415-420.

Yamasaki H, LaBar KS & McCarthy G (2002). Dissociable prefrontal brain systems for attention and emotion . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 99(17): 11447-11451.

McKeown MJ, Varadarajan V, Huettel SA & McCarthy G (2002). Deterministic and stochastic features of fMRI data: implications for analysis of event-related experiments. Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 118(2): 103-113.

Huettel SA, Mack PB & McCarthy G (2002). Perceiving patterns in random series: dynamic processing of sequence in prefrontal cortex. Nature Neuroscience. 5(5): 485-490.

Huettel SA, Singerman JD & McCarthy G (2001). The effects of aging upon the hemodynamic response measured by functional MRI. NeuroImage. 13(1): 161-175.

Huettel SA & McCarthy G (2000). Evidence for a refractory period in the hemodynamic response to visual stimuli as measured by MRI. NeuroImage. 11(5): 547-553.

Kirino E, Belger A, Goldman-Rakic P & McCarthy G (2000). Prefrontal activation evoked by infrequent target and novel stimuli in a visual target detection task: An event-related fMRI study. Journal of Neuroscience. 20(17): 6612-8.

Jha A & McCarthy G (2000). The Influence of Memory Load Upon Delay-Interval Activity in a Working-Memory Task: An Event-Related Functional MRI Study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 12(2): 16.

Allison T, Puce A & McCarthy G (2000). Social perception from visual cues: role of the STS region. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 7: 267-278.