Ernest Greene

Professor of Psychology
Ernest Greene
Email Office SGM 721 Office Phone (213) 740-7967

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Neuropsychology Foundation, Los Angeles, Chief Financial Officer,
  • Western Psychological Foundation, Director


  • Ph.D. Psychology, University of Oregon, 1/1968
  • M.A. Psychology, San Jose State University, 1/1965
  • B.A. Psychology, San Jose State University, 1/1963
    • Postdoctoral Fellow, Brain Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, 1968-1969
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Founding Director, Master’s in Human Behavior Program, 08/27/2009 – 05/04/2012
    • Head, Brain & Cognitive Sciences Area, University of Southern California, 09/15/2000 – 06/15/2002
    • Associate Chair for Psychology, University of Southern California, 12/31/1999 – 09/15/2002
    • Chief Financial Officer, Neuropsychology Foundation, 01/01/1983 –
    • Neuropsychologist, Good Samaritan Hospital, 01/01/1980 – 01/01/1982
    • Intern, Huntington Memorial Hospital, 01/01/1978 – 01/01/1979
    • Professor, University of Southern California, 01/01/1969 –
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    My recent research has focused on neural mechanisms for encoding of shape information. The research makes use of a custom designed 64×64 LED display board that allows for microsecond control over each of the LEDs. Each shape is specified as address positions (dots) along the major contours, especially the outer boundary of the shape. I have found that shapes can be identified on the basis of sparse boundary cues. A sparse pattern of dots will often be sufficient for identifying known objects and also for match-recognition of unknown shapes. The unknown-shape experiments demonstrate one-trial encoding of the shape information sufficient for translation, size, and rotation invariance. This is a challenge to neural network models that require many thousands or tens of thousands of training trials to accomplish invariant recognition of shapes. Shapes can be identified when the span between boundary dots is well beyond the receptive field size of orientation-selective neurons in primary visual cortex. These results call for new concepts for how shape information is encoded. A link for accessing a given article may be provided at the end of the citation.

    Research Keywords

    object recognition, shape encoding, neural persistence, retinal mechanisms

  • Journal Article

    • Zhang, S., Morrison, J., Sun, T., Kowal, D., Greene, E. (2024). Evaaluating integration of letter fragments through contrast and spatially targeted masking. Journal of Vision. Vol. 24 (6.9), pp. 1-17.
    • Greene, E., Morrison, J. (2024). Human perception of flicker-fused letters that are luminance balanced. Vol. 24 (e 16425), pp. 1-12. PubMed Web Address
    • Greene, E., Morrison, J. (2023). Evaluation of the Talbot-Plateau law. Frontiers in Neuroscience. Vol. 17, pp. 13.
    • Zhang, s., Jack, M., Wei, W., Ermest, G. (2022). Recognition of letters displayed as successive contour fragments. AIMS Neuroscience / AIMS Press. Vol. 9 (4), pp. 491-515. PubMed Web Address
    • Greene, E. (2020). An evolutionary perspective on the design of neuromorphic shape filters. IEEE Access / IEEE Computer Society. Vol. 8, pp. 114228-114238. online link
    • Burchfield, T., Greene, E. (2020). Evaluating spatiotemporal integration of shape cues. PLOS ONE / Public Library of Science. Vol. 15 (5), pp. 15. online link
    • Greene, E. (2019). Comparing methods for scaling shape similarity. AIMS Neuroscience. Vol. 6, pp. 54-50. online access
    • Geoly, A., Greene, E. (2019). Masking the integration of complementary shape cues. Frontiers in Neuroscience. Vol. 13, pp. e178. online access
    • Greene, E. (2018). New encoding concepts for shape recognition are needed. AIMS Neuroscience. Vol. 5 (3), pp. 162-178. online access
    • Greene, E., Morrison, J. (2018). Computational scaling of shape similarity that has potential for neuromorphic implementation. IEEE Access. Vol. 6, pp. 38294-38302. online access
    • Greene, E., Simonich, S. (2018). Persistence of induction influence for Ebbinghaus, Muller-Lyer, and Poggendorff illusions. JSM Anatomy & Physiology. Vol. 3 (1), pp. e-1018. online link
    • Greene, E. (2018). Rapid de novo shape encoding: a challenge to connectionist modeling. JSM Brain Science. Vol. 3, pp. 3. online link
    • Nordberg, H., Hautus, M. J., Greene, E. (2018). Visual coding of unknown shape boundaries. AIMS Neuroscience. Vol. 5 (2), pp. 132-147. online link
    • Greene, E., Patel, Y. (2018). Scan transcription of two-dimensional shapes as an alternative neuromorphic concept. Trends in Artificial Intelligence. Vol. 1, pp. 27-33. online link
    • Greene, E., Hautus, M. J. (2018). Evaluating persistence of shape information using a matching protocol. AIMS Neuroscience. Vol. 5 (1), pp. 81-96. online link
    • Greene, E., Onwuzulike, O. (2017). What constitutes elemental shape information for biological vision?. Trends in Artificial Intelligence. Vol. 1 (1), pp. 22-26. online link
    • Greene, E., Hautus, M. J. (2017). Demonstrating invariant encoding of shapes using a matching judgment protocol. AIMS Neuroscience. Vol. 4 (3), pp. 120-146. online link
    • Greene, E. (2016). How do we know whether three dots form an equilateral triangle?. JSM Brain Science. Vol. 1, pp. 1-6. online link
    • Greene, E. (2016). Retinal encoding of shape boundaries. JSM Anatomy & Physiology. Vol. 1, pp. 1-6. online link
    • Greene, E. (2016). Information persistence evaluated with low-density dot patterns. Acta Psychologica. Vol. 170, pp. 215-225.
    • Greene, E. (2016). Rethinking how the nervous system registers and identifies shapes. Journal of Psychology and Cognition. Vol. 1, pp. 4-5. online link
    • Greene, E. (2016). Reading words and sentences with microsecond flash displays. PLOS ONE. Vol. 11 (1), pp. 1-22. online link
    • Greene, E., Visani, A. (2015). Recognition of letters displayed as briefly flashed dot patterns. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. Vol. 77, pp. 1955-1969.
    • Greene, E. (2015). Evaluating letter recognition, flicker fusion, and the Talbot-Plateau law using microsecond-duration flashes. PLOS ONE. Vol. 10 (4), pp. 17. online link
    • Greene, E. (2014). Shape recognition elicited by microsecond flashes is not based on photon quantity. i-Perception. Vol. 5 (2), pp. 87-93. online link
    • Greene, E. (2013). Violation of Bloch’s law that specifies reciprocity of intensity and duration with brief light flashes. i-Perception. Vol. 4 (8) online link
    • Greene, E., Ogden, R. T. (2013). Shapes displayed with durations in the microsecond range do not obey Bloch’s law of temporal summation. i-Perception. Vol. 4, pp. 429-436. online link
    • Greene, E., Ogden, T. (2012). Evaluating shape recognition using the minimal transient discrete cue protocol. Behavioral & Brain Functions. Vol. 8 (53), pp. 14. online link
    • Ogden, T., Greene, E. (2010). Wavelet modeling of functional random effects with application to human vision. Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference. Vol. 140, pp. 3797-3808.
    • Greene, E., Ogden, R. (2008). Wavelet modeling of collinearity judgment errors. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology. Vol. 61, pp. 189-210.
    • Greene, E. (2008). Additional evidence that contour attributes are not essential cues for object recognition. Behavioral & Brain Functions. Vol. 4, pp. e26. online link
    • Greene, E. (2007). Retinal encoding of ultrabrief shape recognition cues. PLoS ONE. Vol. 2, pp. e871. on-line access
    • Greene, E. (2007). Spatial and temporal proximity as factors in shape recognition. Behavioral & Brain Functions. Vol. 3, pp. e27. on-line access
    • Greene, E. (2007). The integration window for shape cues is a function of ambient illuminations. Behavioral & Brain Functions. Vol. 3, pp. e15. on-line access
    • Greene, E. (2007). The role of visible persistence for mediating the temporal integration of shape cues. Perception & Psychophysics. Vol. 69, pp. 772-784.
    • Greene, E. (2007). Recognition of objects that are displayed with incomplete sets of border dots. Perceptual and Motor Skills. Vol. 104, pp. 1043-1059.
    • Greene, E. (2006). Simultaneity in the millisecond range as a requirement for effective shape recognition. Behavioral & Brain Functions. Vol. 2, pp. e38. on-line access
    • Greene, E. (2005). Do rotation coordinates provide the substrate for a mental protractor?. Perception. Vol. 39, pp. 1339-1352.
    • Greene, E. (2003). Mapping is not sufficient to specify position in visual space. Perceptual and Motor Skills. Vol. 97., pp. 97-98.
    • Greene, E., Fraser, S. (2002). Observation distance and recognition of celebrities’ faces. Perceptual and Motor Skills. Vol. 95, pp. 637-651.
    • Greene, E., Gentner, S. (2001). Further consideration of size illusions in random dot stereograms. Perceptual and Motor Skills. Vol. 03, pp. 205-212.
    • Greene, E., Frawley, W. (2001). Evaluating models of collinearity judgment for reliability and scale. Perception. Vol. 30, pp. 543-558.
    • Greene, E., Frawley, W. (2001). Idiosyncratic profiles of collinearity error using segments and dot pairs. Psychological Research. Vol. 65, pp. 260-278.
    • Charter Fellow, Association for the Advancement of Preventive Psychology, 1992
    • Life Fellow, American Psychological Association (Division 3, Experimental), 1992
    • Life Fellow, American Psychological Association, (Division 6, Physiological), 1991
    • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, Life Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1990
    • Charter Fellow, Association for Psychological Science, 1989
    • Life Fellow, American Psychological Association, (Division 1, General), 1989
    • National Academy Member, National Academy of Neuropsychology, 1988
    • Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, Fellow of Psychonomic Society, 2014-2015
  • Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Board Member, Annual Reviews of Anatomy and Physiology, 2019 –
    • Board Member, Trends in Artificial Intelligence, 2017 –
    • Board Member, AIMS Neuroscience, 2016 –
    • Academic Editor, PLoS ONE, 2008 – 2010
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