Diane Beck



  • 2147 Beckman Institute
  • 405 North Mathews Avenue
  • Urbana, Illinois 61801


Diane Beck received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1998. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Neuroscience Program, and a full-time faculty member in the Beckman Institute Cognitive Neuroscience group. Her main areas of interest are cognitive neuroscience, visual cognition, attention and visual perception.


Diane Beck's research program is aimed at identifying the cognitive processes and neural structures that enable and limit our visual representations of the world. Despite the fact that our brains register visual information in parallel across the visual field, our visual experience of the world is surprisingly more limited. We have all experienced the difficulty of finding a face in the crowd, or being so engrossed in our own thoughts that we have completely failed to "see" someone we are looking right at.

Beck and her lab are interested both in why we experience these limitations and why some stimuli seem more immune to such limitations. Specifically, they ask what processes determine whether or not we are aware of a visual object or event; what mechanisms constrain the number of items we can effectively process at the same time; how higher-level processes, such as attention, modulate activity in visual cortex; and why some stimuli, such as natural scenes, are processed so quickly and with relatively little effort. Beck and her lab use a variety of approaches and methods to address these questions, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), behavioral methods, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).


  • 2016
    • Baldassano, C.; Fei-Fei, L.; Beck, D. M., Pinpointing the Peripheral Bias in Neural Scene Processing Networks During Natural Viewing. Journal of Vision 2016, 16, (2), 9, DOI:10.1167/16.2.9.
    • Greene, M. R.; Baldassano, C.; Beck, D. M.; Fei-Fei, L., Visual Scenes Are Categorized by Function. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 2016, 145, (1), 82-94.
  • 2015
    • Iordan, M. C.; Greene, M. R.; Beck, D. M.; Fei-Fei, L., Basic Level Category Structure Emerges Gradually across Human Ventral Visual Cortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2015, 27, (7), 1427-1446.

    • Greene, M. R.; Botros, A. P.; Beck, D. M.; Li, F. F., What You See Is What You Expect: Rapid Scene Understanding Benefits from Prior Experience. Attention Perception & Psychophysics 2015, 77, (4), 1239-1251, DOI:10.3758/s13414-015-0859-8.

    • Baldassano, C.; Beck, D. M.; Li, F. F., Parcellating Connectivity in Spatial Maps. PEERJ 2015, 3, DOI:ARTN e784 DOI:10.7717/peerj.784.

    • Bouchaffra, D.; Cheriet, M.; Jodoin, P. M.; Beck, D., Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition Models in Change Detection. Pattern Recognition 2015, 3, (48), 613-615.
    • Parks, N. A.; Mazzi, C.; Tapia, E.; Savazzi, S.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G.; Beck, D. M., The Influence of Posterior Parietal Cortex on Extrastriate Visual Activity: A Concurrent TMS and Fast Optical Imaging Study. Neuropsychologia 2015, 78, 153-158.
  • 2014
    • Lavie, N.; Beck, D. M.; Konstantinou, N., Blinded by the Load: Attention, Awareness and the Role of Perceptual Load. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 2014, 369, (1641), 10, DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0205.

    • Tapia, E.; Mazzi, C.; Savazzi, S.; Beck, D. M., Phosphene-Guided Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of Occipital but Not Parietal Cortex Suppresses Stimulus Visibility. Experimental Brain Research 2014, 232, (6), 1989-1997, DOI: 10.1007/s00221-014-3888-y.

    • Scalf, P. E.; Ahn, J. W.; Beck, D. M.; Lleras, A., Trial History Effects in the Ventral Attentional Network. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2014, 26, (12), 2789-2797.

    • Michal, A. L.; Lleras, A.; Beck, D. M., Relative Contributions of Task-Relevant and Task-Irrelevant Dimensions in Priming of Pop-Out. Journal of Vision 2014, 14, (12), DOI:ARTN 14 DOI:10.1167/14.12.14.

    • Mathewson, K. E.; Beck, D. M.; Ro, T.; Maclin, E. L.; Low, K. A.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G., Dynamics of Alpha Control: Preparatory Suppression of Posterior Alpha Oscillations by Frontal Modulators Revealed with Combined EEG and Event-Related Optical Signal. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2014, 26, (10), 2400-2415, DOI:10.1162/Jocn_a_00637.

    • Tapia, E.; Beck, D. M., Probing Feedforward and Feedback Contributions to Awareness with Visual Masking and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Frontiers in Psychology 2014, 5, DOI:Unsp 1173 DOI:10.3389/Fpsyg.2014.01173.

    • Clevenger, J.; Beck, D. M., Refining the Resource Model: Cortical Competition Could Explain Hemifield Independence. Visual Cognition 2014, 22, (8), 1022-1026, DOI:10.1080/13506285.2014.960668.

  • 2013
    • Baldassano, C.; Beck, D. M.; Fei-Fei, L., Differential Connectivity within the Parahippocampal Place Area. Neuroimage 2013, 75, 228-237, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.02.073.

    • Beck, D. M.; Emanuele, B.; Savazzi, S., A New Illusion of Height and Width: Taller People Are Perceived as Thinner. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2013, 20, (6), 1154-1160, DOI: 10.3758/s13423-013-0454-8.

    • Parks, N. A.; Beck, D. M.; Kramer, A. F., Enhancement and Suppression in the Visual Field under Perceptual Load. Frontiers in Psychology 2013, 4, 8, DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00275.

    • Scalf, P. E.; Torralbo, A.; Tapia, E.; Beck, D. M., Competition Explains Limited Attention and Perceptual Resources: Implications for Perceptual Load and Dilution Theories. Frontiers in Psychology 2013, 4, 9, DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00243.

    • Torralbo, A.; Walther, D. B.; Chai, B.; Caddigan, E.; Fei-Fei, L.; Beck, D. M., Good Exemplars of Natural Scene Categories Elicit Clearer Patterns Than Bad Exemplars but Not Greater Bold Activity. Plos One 2013, 8, (3).

  • 2012
    • Parks, N. A.; Maclin, E. L.; Low, K. A.; Beck, D. M.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G., Examining Cortical Dynamics and Connectivity with Simultaneous Single-Pulse Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Fast Optical Imaging. Neuroimage 2012, 59, (3), 2504-2510.

    • Savazzi, S.; Emanuele, B.; Scalf, P.; Beck, D., Reaction Times and Perceptual Adjustments Are Sensitive to the Illusory Distortion of Space. Experimental Brain Research 2012, 218, (1), 119-128.

    • Walther, D. B.; Beck, D. M.; Li, F. F., To Err Is Human: Correlating FMRI Decoding and Behavioral Errors to Probe the Neural Representation of Natural Scene Categories, In Visual Population Codes: Toward a Common Multivariate Framework for Cell Recording and Functional Imaging; Kriegeskorte, N., Kreiman, G., Eds. 2012, 391-415.

    • Baldassano, C.; Iordan, M. C.; Beck, D. M.; Fei-Fei, L., Voxel-Level Functional Connectivity Using Spatial Regularization. Neuroimage 2012, 63, (3), 1099-1106.

    • Lustig, A. G.; Beck, D. M., Task-Relevant and Task-Irrelevant Dimensions Are Modulated Independently at a Task-Irrelevant Location. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2012, 24, (9), 1884-1895.

    • Mathewson, K. E.; Prudhomme, C.; Fabiani, M.; Beck, D. M.; Lleras, A.; Gratton, G., Making Waves in the Stream of Consciousness: Entraining Oscillations in EEG Alpha and Fluctuations in Visual Awareness with Rhythmic Visual Stimulation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2012, 24, (12), 2321-2333.

  • 2011
    • Mathewson, K. E.; Lleras, A.; Beck, D. M.; Fabiani, M.; Ro, T.; Gratton, G., Pulsed Out of Awareness: EEG Alpha oscillations represent a pulsed inhibition of ongoing cortical processing. Frontiers in Perception Science 2011, 2, (99), 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00099.

    • Walther, D. B.; Chai, B.; Caddigan, E.; Beck, D.; Fei-Fei, L., Simple line drawing suffice for functional MRI decoding of natural scene categories. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2011, 108, (23), 9661-9666.

    • Scalf, P.E., Basak, C. & Beck, D. M. (2011). Attention does more than modulate suppressive interactions: attending to multiple items. Experimental Brain Research, 212, 293-304.

    • Parks, N.A., Maclin, E.L., Low, K.A., Beck, D.M., Fabiani, M., & Gratton, G. (2011). Examining cortical dynamics and connectivity with simultaneous single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation and fast optical imaging. NeuroImage [Epub ahead of print]

  • 2010
    • Mathewson, K. E.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G.; Beck, D. M.; Lleras, A., Rescuing stimuli from invisibility: Inducing a momentary release from visual masking with pre-target entrainment. Cognition 2010, 115, (1), 186-191.

    • Mathewson, K. E.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G.; Beck, D. M.; Lleras, A., Making waves in the stream of consciousness: Eliciting predictable oscillations in visual awareness with pretarget entrainment at 12 Hz. Visual Cognition 2010, 18, (1), 137-141.

    • Scalf, P. E.; Beck, D. M., Competition in Visual Cortex Impedes Attention to Multiple Items. Journal of Neuroscience 2010, 30, (1), 161-169.

    • Beck, D. M., The Appeal of the Brain in the Popular Press. Perspectives on Psychological Science 2010, 5, (6), 762-766. 

  • 2009
    • Beck, D. M.; Kastner, S., Top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in biasing competition in the human brain. Vision Research 2009, 49, (10), 1154-1165.

    • Chai, B.; Walther, D. B.; Beck, D. M.; Fei-Fei, L., Exploring Functional Connectivity of the Human Brain using Multivariate Information Analysis. 2009, http://books.nips.cc/nips22.html, 1-9.

    • Walther, D. B.; Caddigan, E.; Fei-Fei, L.; Beck, D. M., Natural Scene Categories Revealed in Distributed Patterns of Activity in the Human Brain. Journal of Neuroscience 2009, 29, (34), 10573-10581.

    • Yao, B.; Walther, D. B.; Beck, D. M.; Fei-Fei, L., Discovering and Modeling Interactions Between Brain Regions with Hidden Conditional Random Fields. Neural Information Processing System. Neural Information Processing System 2009, http://books.nips.cc/nips22.html.

    • Mathewson, K. E.; Gratton, G.; Fabiani, M.; Beck, D. M.; Ro, T., To See or Not to See: Prestimulus alpha Phase Predicts Visual Awareness. Journal of Neuroscience 2009, 29, (9), 2725-2732.

  • 2008
    • Torralbo, A.; Beck, D., Defining perceptual load: The role of local competitive interactions in visual cortex. Visual Cognition 2008, 16, (8), 1131-1134.

    • Torralbo, A.; Beck, D. M., Perceptual-Load-Induced Selection as a Result of Local Competitive Interactions in Visual Cortex. Psychological Science 2008, 19, (10), 1045-1050.

  • 2007
    • Palmer, S. E.; Beck, D. M. The repetition discrimination task: An objective method for studying perceptual grouping. Perception & Psychophysics 2007, 69, (1), 68-78.

    • Beck, D. M.; Kastner, S., Stimulus similarity modulates competitive interactions in human visual cortex. Journal of Vision 2007, 7, (2).

  • 2005
    • Beck, D.M.; Muggleton, N.; Walsh, V.; Lavie, N. Right Parietal Cortex Plays a Critical Role in Change Blindness. Cerebral Cortex 2005.

    • Beck, D.M.; Kastner, S. Stimulus context modulates competition in human extrastriate cortex. Nature Neuroscience 2005, 8, 1110-1116.

    • Beck, D.M.; Lavie, N. Look here but ignore what you see: effects of distractors at fixation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 2005, 31, 592-607.

    • Kastner, S.; Beck, D.M. Biasing competition in human visual cortex. In Neurobiology of Attention; Itti, L.; Rees, G.; Tsotsos, J., Eds.; Elsevier: San Diego, 2005.

  • 2002
    • Beck, D.M.; Palmer, S.E. Top-Down influences on Perceptual Grouping. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 2002, 28, 1071-1084.

  • 2001
    • Beck, D.M.; Rees, G.; Frith, C.D.; Lavie, N. Neural correlates of change detection and change blindness. Nature Neuroscience 2001, 4, 645-650.


The Communications Office maintains the information included in Beckman Institute's online directory listings. In order to update your directory listing, please submit the following information to directoryupdates@beckman.illinois.edu:

  • a short bio including information on your educational background and your field
  • any honors and awards you may have received
  • a description of your research (approximately 200-400 words)
  • a list of recent representative publications
  • a photo of yourself (you can submit one or we can take one for you)