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Michael Ewbank
Research staff, Emotion group
01223 273794
My research focuses on understanding the neural mechanisms that underlie the processing of social stimuli. I am particularly interested in the relationship between individual differences in personality traits the perception and processing of faces and other complex objects.

My expertise lies in using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to probe the response properties of brain regions involved in processing complex visual stimuli. In particular, I use a technique known as fMRI-adaptation (or repetition suppression). Adaptation is a ubiquitous property of all sensory systems and is characterised as a change in responsivity following repeated exposure to a stimulus. Despite its ubiquitous nature, there is little understanding of the mechanisms that underlie repetition suppression. My work investigates how changes in brain connectivity may underlie this phenomenon, and what this can tell us about the general mechanisms underlying brain function. I am also particularly interested in understanding how individual differences in repetition suppression are related to variation in autistic traits and face recognition abilities in both neurotypical and clinical populations.

A second strand of my research uses transcranial electrical brain stimulation (tES) as a method to enhance perception and learning.

Selected Publications

Holmes, J, Byrne, E, Gathercole, S, Ewbank, MP. (In Press). Transcranial random noise stimulation does not enhance the effects of working memory training. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Pell, PJ, Mareschal, I, Calder, AJ, von dem Hagen, EH, Clifford, CWG, Baron-Cohen, S, Ewbank, MP. (In Press). Intact priors for gaze direction in adults with high-functioning autism spectrum conditions. Molecular Autism. .pdf

Ewbank, MP, von dem Hagen, EH, Powell, TE, Henson, RN & Calder, AJ. (In Press). The effect of perceptual expectation on repetition suppression to faces is not modulated by variation in autistic traits. Cortex .pdf

Ewbank, MP, Rhodes, G, von dem Hagen, EH, Powell T, Bright, N, Stoyanova, RS, Baron-Cohen, S & Calder, AJ. (2014). Repetition suppression in ventral visual cortex is diminished as a function of increasing autistic traits. Cerebral Cortex .pdf

Ewbank, MP, Henson,RN, Rowe, JB, Stoyanova RS, Calder AJ. (2013) Different neural mechanisms within occipitotemporal cortex underlie repetition suppression across same and different size faces. Cerebral Cortex, 23(5), 1073-1084 .pdf

Ewbank, MP, & Henson, RN. (2012). Explaining away repetition effects via Predictive Coding. Cognitive Neuroscience, 3, 239-240. .pdf

Ewbank, MP. (2011) Adaptation studies suggest interactive feedback shapes responses in occipitotemporal regions. Cognitive Neuroscience, 2, (3-4) 205-206. .pdf

Calder AJ, Ewbank, MP, Passamonti, L. (2011). Personality influences the neural response to viewing facial signals of emotion. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 366(1751) 1684-1701. .pdf

Ewbank, MP, Lawson, RP, Henson,RN, Rowe, JB, Passamonti, L, Calder AJ. (2011) Changes in 'top-down' connectivity underlie repetition suppression in the ventral visual pathway. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(15), 5635-5642. .pdf

Stoyanova RS, Ewbank, MP & Calder AJ. (2010) "You talkin' to me?": Self-relevant auditory signals influence perception of gaze direction. Psychological Science, 21(12), 1765-1769. .pdf

Ewbank MP, Fox E & Calder AJ. (2010) The interaction between gaze and facial expression in the amygdala and extended amygdala is modulated by anxiety. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 4(56). .pdf

Ewbank MP, Jennings C & Calder AJ. (2009) Why are you always angry with me? Facial expressions influence perception of gaze direction. Journal of Vision, 9(12), 1 -7. .pdf

Ewbank MP, Barnard PJ, Ramponi, C, Croucher CJ & Calder AJ. (2009) The amygdala response to images with impact. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 4, 127-133..pdf

Ewbank MP, Lawrence AD, Passamonti L, Keane J, Peers PV. & Calder, AJ. (2009) Anxiety predicts a differential neural response to attended and unattended facial signals of anger and fear. NeuroImage, 44, 1144-1151 .pdf

Ewbank MP & Andrews TJ (2008). Differential sensitivity for viewpoint between familiar and unfamiliar faces in human visual cortex. NeuroImage, 40, 1857-1870 .pdf

Ewbank MP, Smith WAP, Hancock ER, Andrews TJ (2008). The M170 reflects a viewpoint dependent representation for both familiar and unfamiliar faces. Cerebral Cortex, 18, 364-370 .pdf

Ewbank MP, Schluppeck D, Andrews TJ (2005). FMR-adaptation reveals a distributed representation of inanimate objects and places in human visual cortex, NeuroImage 28:268–279 .pdf

Andrews TJ, Ewbank MP (2004). Distinct representations for facial identity and changeable aspects of faces in human visual cortex, NeuroImage 23:905–913 .pdf
CBSU publications