Event Perception and Understanding

How do people identify the temporal parts of events and the relations amongst those parts? Research in the lab has shown that observers spontaneously encode activity in terms of their temporal parts and subparts, and that this structure influences how they talk about activity and how they remember it later. Using functional MRI, we have identified a network of brain regions that responds selectively at event part boundaries, independent of whether the observer is consciously attending to these boundaries. Current work in the lab explores the role of different components of this network, and examines the influence of event structure on attention and memory.

 Zacks, J. M., Braver, T.S., Sheridan, M.A., Donaldson, D.I., Snyder, A.Z., Ollinger, J.M., Buckner, R.L., & Raichle, M.E. (2001). Human brain activity time-locked to perceptual event boundaries. Nature Neuroscience, 4, 651-655.

Zacks, J. M., & Tversky, B. (2001). Event structure in perception and conception. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 3-21.

Zacks, J. M., Tversky, B., & Iyer, G. (2001). Perceiving, remembering, and communicating structure in events, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 130, 29-58.

Tversky, B., Morrison, J., & Zacks, J. M. (2002). On bodies and events. In A. Meltzoff & W. Prinz (Eds.), The imitative mind: Development, evolution, and brain bases (pp. 221-232). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Zacks, J. M., & Tversky, B. (2003). Structuring Information Interfaces For Procedural Learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 9, 88-100.

Michelon, P., Snyder, A. Z., Buckner, R. L., McAvoy, M., & Zacks, J. M. (2003). Neural correlates of incongruous visual information: An event-related fMRI study. NeuroImage, 19, 1612-1626.

Swallow, K. M., Braver, T. S., Snyder, A. Z., Speer, N. K., & Zacks, J. M. (2003). Reliability of Functional Localization Using fMRI. NeuroImage, 20, 1561-1577.

Speer, N. K., Swallow, K. M., & Zacks, J. M. (2003). Activation of human motion processing areas during event perception. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 3, 335-345.

Zacks, J. M. (2004). Using movement and intentions to understand simple events. Cognitive Science, 28, 979-1008.

Speer, N. K., & Zacks, J. M. (2005). Temporal changes as event boundaries: Processing and memory consequences of narrative time shifts. Journal of Memory and Language, 53, 125-140.

Fox, M. D., Snyder, A. Z., Zacks, J. M., & Raichle, M. E. (2005). Coherent spontaneous activity accounts for trial-to-trial variability in human evoked brain responses. Nature Neuroscience, 9, 23-25.

Zacks, J. M., Swallow, K. M., Vettel, J. M., & McAvoy, M. P. (2006). Visual motion and the neural correlates of event perception. Brain Research, 1076, 150-162.

Zacks, J. M., Speer, N. K., Vettel, J. M., & Jacoby, L. J. (2006). Event understanding and memory in healthy aging and dementia of the Alzheimer type. Psychology and Aging, 21, 466-482.

Zacks, J. M., Speer, N. K., Swallow, K. M., Braver, T. S., & Reynolds, J. R. (2007). Event perception: A mind/brain perspective. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 273-293.

Zacks, J. M., & Swallow, K. M. (2007). Event segmentation. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 80-84.

Reynolds, J. R., Zacks, J. M., & Braver, T. S. (2007). A computational model of event segmentation from perceptual prediction. Cognitive Science, 31, 613-643.

Speer, N. K., Zacks, J. M., & Reynolds, J. R. (2007). Human brain activity time-locked to narrative event boundaries. Psychological Science, 18, 449-455.

Tversky, B., Zacks, J. M., & Martin, B. (2008). The structure of experience. In T. F. Shipley & J. M. Zacks (Eds.), Understanding events: From perception to action. (pp. 436-464).

Swallow, K. M., & Zacks, J. M. (2008). Sequences learned without awareness can orient attention during the perception of human activity. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Kurby, C. A. & Zacks, J. M. (2008). Segmentation in the perception and memory of events. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12, 72-79.

Yarkoni, T., Speer, N. K., Zacks, J. M. (2008). Neural substrates of narrative comprehension and memory. Neuroimage, 41, 1408-1425.

Zacks, J. M. (2008). Event perception. Scholarpedia, 3, 3837.

Yarkoni, T., Speer, N. K., Balota, D. A., McAvoy, M. P., Zacks, J. M. (2008). Pictures of a thousand words: Investigating the neural mechanisms of reading with extremely rapid event-related fMRI. NeuroImage, 42, 973-987.

Zacks, J., Speer, N., Reynolds, J.R. (2009). Segmentation in reading  and film comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138, 307-327.

Swallow, K. M., Zacks, J. M., & Abrams, R. A. (2009). Event boundaries in perception affect memory encoding and updating. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138, 236-257.

Speer, N. K., Reynolds, J. R., Swallow, K. M., & Zacks, J. M. (2009). Reading stories activates neural representations of perceptual and motor experiences. Psychological Science, 20, 989-999.

Zacks, J. M., & Magliano, J. P. (2009). Film understanding and cognitive neuroscience. In D. P. Melcher & F. Bacci (Eds.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Zacks, J. M., Kumar, S., & Abrams, R. A., Mehta, R. (2009). Using movement and intentions to understand human activity. Cognition, 112, 201-216.

Zacks, J. M., & Sargent, J.Q. (2009). Event perception: A theory and its application to clinical neuroscience. In B.H. Ross (Ed.), Psychology of learning and motivation, Vol. 53 (pp. 253-299). Burlington: Elsevier.

Zacks, J. M. (2010). How we organize our experience into events. Psychological Science Agenda, 24.

Zacks, J. M., Speer, N. K., Swallow, K. M. & Maley, C. J. (2010). The brain’s cutting-room floor: segmentation of narrative cinema. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 4, ArtID 168.

Swallow, K. M., Barch, D. M., Head, D., Maley, C. J., Holder, D. & Zacks, J. M. (2010). Changes in events alter how people remember recent information. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 1052-1064.

Radvansky, G.A. & Zacks, J. M. (2011). Event perception. WIREs Cognitive Science, 2(6), 608-620.

Tversky, B., Zacks, JM, Morrison, JB, Hard, BM (2011). Talking about events. Event Representation in Language and Cognition (Bohnemeyer, J. & Perdersen, E., Eds).

Kurby, C.A. & Zacks, J.M. (2011). Age differences in the perception of hierarchical structure in events. Memory & Cognition, 39, 75–91.

Zacks, J.M., Kurby, C.A., Eisenberg, M.L., Haroutunian, N. (2011). Prediction error associated with the perceptual segmentation of naturalistic events. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 4057-4066.

Magliano, J.P., & Zacks, J.M. (2011). The impact of continuity editing in narrative film on event segmentation. Cognitive Science, 35, 1-29.

Magliano, J.P., Kopp, K., Windy McNerney, M., Radvansky, G.A., & Zacks, J.M. (2011). Aging and perceived event structure as a function of modality. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 19(1-2), 264-282.

Kurby, C.A. & Zacks, J.M. (2012). Starting from scratch and building brick by brick in comprehension. Memory & Cognition, 40(5), 812-826.

Huff, M., Papenmeier, F., & Zacks, J.M. (2012). Visual target detection is impaired at event boundaries. Visual Cognition, 20(7), 848-864.

Bailey, H. R.,  Zacks, J. M., Hambrick, D. Z., Zacks, R. T., Head, D., Kurby, C. A., & Sargent, J. Q.  (2013). Medial temporal lobe volume predicts elders’ everyday memory. Psychological Science, 24(7), 1113-1122.

Kurby, C. A. & Zacks, J. M. (2013). The activation of modality-specific representations in naturalistic discourse processing. Brain & Language, 216, 338-349.

Bailey, H. R.,  Kurby, C. A., Giovannetti, T. & Zacks, J. M. (2013). Action perception predicts action performance. Neuropsychologia, 51(11), 2294-2304.

Sargent, J. Q., Zacks, J. M., Hambrick, D. Z., Zacks, R. T., Head, D., Kurby, C. A., et al.. (2013). Event segmentation ability uniquely predicts memory across the lifespan. Cognition, 129(2), 241-255.

McAleer, P., Pollick, F. E., Crabbe, F., Love, S. A. & Zacks, J. M. (2014). The neural correlates of biological motion perception in naturalistic events. Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 14, 307-318.

Mereu, S., Zacks, J. M., Kurby, C. A., & Lleras, A. (2014). The role of prediction in perception:  evidence from interrupted visual search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40, 1372-1389.

Bailey, H. R., Sargent, J. Q., Flores, S., Nowotny, P., Goate, A., & Zacks, J. M. (2015). APOE e4 genotype predicts memory for everyday activities. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition: A Journal on Normal and Dysfunctional Development

Bailey, H. R., & Zacks, J. M. (2015). Situation model updating in young and older adults: Global versus incremental mechanisms. Psychology and Aging, 30(2), 232-244.

Zacks, J. M., Kurby, C. A., Landazabal, C. S., Krueger, F., & Grafman, J. (2016). Effects of penetrating traumatic brain injury on event segmentation and memory. Cortex, 74, 233-246.

Eisenberg, M. L., Sargent, Jesse Q., & Zacks, J. M. (2016). Posttraumatic stress and the comprehension of everyday activityCollabra2(1), 1–10.

Eisenberg, M. L., & Zacks, J. M. (2016). Ambient and focal visual processing of naturalistic activity. Journal of Vision, 16(2), 5.

Gold, D. A., Zacks, J. M., & Flores, S. (2016). Effects of cues to event segmentation on subsequent memory. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications2.

Bailey, H. R., Kurby, C. A., Sargent, J. Q., & Zacks, J. M. (2017). Attentional focus affects how events are segmented and updated in narrative reading. Memory & Cognition, 1–16.

Flores, S., Bailey, H. R., Eisenberg, M. L., & Zacks, J. M. (in press). Event segmentation improves event memory up to one month later. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition.

Richmond, L. L., Gold, D. A., & Zacks, Jeffrey M. (in press). Event perception: Translations and applications. Journal of Applied Research on Memory and Cognition.