Michele Diaz



Director of Human Imaging, SLEIC of Psychology
Professor of Psychology and Linguistics
Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers
356 Moore Building University Park, Pa 16802
(814) 863-1726

Curriculum Vitae


Ph. D., Duke University, 2005

Professional Bio

Research Interests

Language is a ubiquitous aspect of human life. Yet we are just beginning to understand the neural infrastructure that supports this complex social and cognitive function. Broadly, my research focuses on the relations between the brain and behavior. My lab has examined semantic and phonological aspects of language comprehension and production. Most recently I have been examining age-related differences in language. Specifically, this research project looks at neural factors that contribute to age-related retention (semantics) and decline (phonology) that have been observed in language production. We investigate the relations between structural factors (i.e., white matter integrity), functional activations, and behavior.

Previously, I have used electrophysiology to examine how semantic and phonological processes interact during spoken language comprehension. Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), I have investigated the neural substrates of orthographic, lexical, and semantic aspects of visual word processing, and the influence of conscious perception on the engagement of brain regions that support these processes. Finally, my involvement with the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN) project has allowed me to explore technical issues related to multi-site imaging, such as quality assurance measures and reliability. This experience facilitates my current role as the Director of Human Imaging at the Social, Life, and Engineering Sciences Imaging Center.

Representative Publications

* indicates student collaborator

Diaz, M.T., Johnson, M.A.*, Burke, D.M., & Madden, D. J. (In Press). Age-related differences in the neural bases of phonological and semantic processes. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. PMID: 24893737 NIHMSID: 605188 PMCID: in progress

Johnson, M.A.*, Diaz, M.T., & Madden, D.J. (In Press). Global versus tract-specific components of cerebral white matter integrity: Relation to adult age and perceptual-motor speed. Brain Structure & Function.NIHMSID: 620459, PMCID: in progress

Madden, D.J., Parks, E.L., Davis, S.W., Diaz, M.T., Potter, G.G., Chou, Y.H., Chen, N.K., & Cabeza, R. (In Press). Age mediation of fronto-parietal activation during visual feature search. Neuroimage, NIHMSID: 619637, Publ.ID: YNIMG11555, PMCID: in progress

Diaz, M.T., Hogstrom, L.J.*, Zhuang, J.*, Voyvodic, J.T., Johnson, M.J.* & Camblin, C.C.*. (2014). The influence of written distractor words on brain activity during overt picture naming. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 8:167. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00167, PMID: 24715859 PMCID: PMC3970014

Liu, T.T., Glover, G.H., Mueller, B.A., Greve, D.N., Rasmussen, J., Voyvodic, J.T., Turner, J.A., van Erp, T.G.M., Lu, K., Brown, G.G., Keator, D.B., Calhoun, V.D., Lee, H.J., Ford, J.M., Mathalon, D.H., Jorgensen, K., Diaz, M.T., O’Leary, D.S., Gadde, S, Preda, A, Lim, K.O., Wible, C.G., Stern, H.S., Belger, A., McCarthy, G., Ozyurt, B., Potkin, S.G., FBIRN. (In Press). Quality assurance in functional MRI. In K. Ugurbil, K. Uludag, & L.J. Berliner (Eds). fMRI: Theory and Applications. Springer Publishing.

Glover, G.H.,  Mueller, B.,  Van Erp, T., Liu, T.T., Greve, D., Voyvodic, J., Rasmussen, J., Turner, J.,  Brown, G.G., Keator, D.B., Calhoun, V.D., Lee, H.J., Ford, J., Diaz, M.T., O’Leary, D.S.,  Potkin, S.G., FBIRN. (2012). Function biomedical informatics research network recommendations for prospective multi-center functional neuroimaging studies. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 36 (1), 39-54 PMID: 22314879 PMCID: PMC3349791 [Available on 2013/7/1].

Diaz, M.T. & Hogstrom, L.J.* (2011). The influence of context on hemispheric recruitment during metaphor processing. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(11), 3586-3597. PMID: 21568642 NIHMSID: 300129, PMCID: PMC3175018.

Diaz, M.T., He, G., Gadde, S., Bellion, C., Belger, A., Voyvodic, J.T., & McCarthy, G. (2011). The influence of emotional distraction on verbal working memory: An fMRI investigation comparing individuals with schizophrenia and healthy adults. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45 (9), 1184-1193. PMID: 21411108 NIHMS: NIHMS276896, PMCID: PMC3131474

Diaz, M.T., Barrett, K.T.*, & Hogstrom, L.J.* (2011). The influence of sentence novelty and figurativeness on brain activity. Neuropsychologia, 49 (3), 320-330. PMCID: PMC3034783

Greve, D.N., Mueller, B.A., Liu, T., Turner, J.A., Potkin, S.G., Voyvodic, J.T., Diaz, M.T., Wallace, S., Yetter, E., Roach, B.J., Ford, J.M., Mathalon, D.H., Wible, C.G., & Glover, G. (2011). A novel method for quantifying scanner instability in fMRI. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 65(4), 1053-61. PMID: 21121002 NIHMS: NIHMS240496 PMCID: PMC3117086

Brown, G.G., Mathalon, D., Stern, H., Ford, J., Mueller, B., Greve, D., McCarthy, G., Voyvodic J., Glover, G., Diaz, M.T., Yetter, E., Ozyurt, B., Jorgensen, K.W., Wible, C., Turner, J., Thompson, W.K., Potkin, S., and the  FBIRN. (2011). Multisite reliability of cognitive BOLD data. Neuroimage, 54(3), 2163-75. PMCID: PMC3009557 [Available on 2012/2/1].

Diaz, M.T., He, G., Gadde, S., Bellion, C., Belger, A., Voyvodic, J.T., and McCarthy, G. (2009). Brain activity elicited by emotional stimuli during a verbal working memory task: A comparison of healthy adults and patients with chronic schizophrenia. NeuroImage, 47, S166.

Diaz, M.T. & McCarthy, G. (2009). A comparison of brain activity evoked by single content and function words: An fMRI investigation of implicit word processing. Brain Research, 1282, 38-49. PMCID: PMC2755079.

Diaz, M.T. & Swaab, T.Y. (2007). Electrophysiological differentiation of phonological and semantic integration in word and sentence contexts. Cognitive Brain Research, 1146, 85-100. PMCID: PMC1853329.
Schwartz, A.I, Kroll, J.F., & Diaz, M.T. (2007). Reading words in Spanish and English: Mapping orthography to phonology in two languages. Language and Cognitive Processes, 22:1, 106 - 129.

Diaz, M.T. & McCarthy, G. (2007). Unconscious word processing engages a distributed network of brain regions. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19(11), 1768-1775. PMID: 17958480.

Michele Diaz
Michele Diaz


Primary Investigator:

Program Areas: