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Brian Keane, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 276-3578

Faculty Appointments


Professional Background

Dr. Keane is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers–Robert Wood Johnson Medical School with institutional affiliations at University Behavioral Health Care and Center for Cognitive Science. He employs behavioral psychophysics and functional neuroimaging to investigate visual object perception – both how it goes right in healthy people and how it becomes disturbed in those with serious mental illness. Dr. Keane obtained a doctoral degree from University of California in Psychology in 2009, a doctoral degree in Analytic Philosophy from Rutgers University, New Brunswick in 2006, and a Bachelor of Arts Triple Major (Physics & Astronomy, Spanish, Philosophy) from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999. Dr. Keane has developed a series of behavioral tasks that reveal information about illness stage, illness duration, disorganized/positive symptoms, premorbid functioning, and the schizophrenia phenotype. These tasks are firmly grounded in vision science and visual neuroscience, and thus provide important clues about how the visual brain may be differentially affected by psychotic illness. Dr. Keane has published 39 papers/chapter (20 first authored) in reputable clinical and non-clinical outlets such as Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Schizophrenia Bulletin, Cognitive Psychology, and Psychological Review. He has been the recipient of a number of awards and grants including a K01 Mentored Career Development award, an NRSA postdoctoral fellowship, a UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship, the ICOSR Young Investigator Award, and the APA Dissertation Research Award . Dr. Keane has served as a dissertation committee member domestically and abroad and has reviewed manuscripts for over 25 clinical and non-clinical journals (e.g., JAMA Psychiatry, Neuroimage, and Psychological Science).


I investigate how the visual system transforms spatiotemporally fragmented retinal images into discrete representations of objects and how this transformation becomes compromised during serious mental illness. This question is approached with behavioral psychophysics (ideal observer, classification imaging, and adaptive threshold estimation) as well as with functional neuroimaging (task activation, pattern classification, and functional connectivity analyses), although the recent endeavor is much more recent. Over the years, I have also written on theoretical questions in cognitive science that are related to object perception, such as conditions under which visual grouping becomes malleable by higher-order thought or the best way to characterize the content of sensory representations.

To date, my clinical investigations have been mostly centered on understanding the visual disturbances associated with schizophrenia. We have found that the illness, in some cases, can dramatically disrupt visual perceptual organization. Some of the impairments are closely linked to the ability to think clearly and function normally in everyday life. Others arise as early as the first psychotic episode or even during the prodromal phase, suggesting that they may serve as an illness biomarker. More generally, we are finding that relatively simple visual experiments offer surprising insights into how the illness emerges and how it changes the brain over time. How exactly the brain generates abnormal visual experience and behavior is a topic of current investigation.



Bachelor of Arts | University of Pittsburgh, PA, University Honors College
Physics & Astronomy, Spanish, Philosophy (intensive)

Doctor of Philosophy | Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Doctor of Philosophy | University of California, Los Angeles

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

10/2009 - 10/2011
Postdoctoral Fellow, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ, University Behavioral Health Care, Center for Cognitive Science.


Rutgers/RBHS Travel Award
Sponsor: Rutgers University

2013 - 2016
NIH/NIMH LRP program
Sponsor: NIH/NIMH

Young Investigator Travel Award
Sponsor: International Congress on Schizophrenia Research

2008 - 2009
UCLA Graduate Division Dissertation Year Fellowship
Sponsor: UCLA

American Psychological Association Dissertation Award
Sponsor: American Psychological Association

2007 - 2008
Cure Autism Now Fellowship

2006 - 2007
UCLA Graduate Division Year-Long Research Fellowship
Sponsor: UCLA

UCLA Graduate Division Summer Research Fellowship
Sponsor: UCLA

UCLA Departmental Summer Research Fellowship
Sponsor: UCLA

2004 - 2006
UCLA Edwin W. Pauley Fellowship
Sponsor: UCLA

2004 - 2005
UCLA Distinguished Achievement Fellowship
Sponsor: UCLA

Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Alternate
Sponsor: US Department of Education

1999 - 2001
Rutgers University Excellence Fellowship
Sponsor: Rutgers University

Summa Cum Laude
Sponsor: University of Pittsburgh

Phi Beta Kappa
Sponsor: University of Pittsburgh

Brackenridge Fellowship
Sponsor: University of Pittsburgh

Augmentation Scholarship

1995 - 1999
University Scholarship
Sponsor: University of Pittsburgh

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Journal Articles

Keane, B. P.; Paterno, D.; Kastner, S.; Krekelberg, B.; Silverstein, S. M.;. "Intact illusory contour formation but equivalently impaired visual shape completion in first- and later-episode schizophrenia" . J.Abnorm.Psychol. 2019; 128(1): 57-68.

Nikitova, N.; Keane, B. P.; Demmin, D.; Silverstein, S. M.; Uhlhaas, P. J.;. "The Audio-Visual Abnormalities Questionnaire (AVAQ): Development and validation of a new instrument for assessing anomalies in sensory perception in schizophrenia spectrum disorders" . Schizophr.Res. 2019; 209: 227-233.

Keane, B. P.; Paterno, D.; Crespo, L. P.; Kastner, S.; Silverstein, S. M.;. "Smaller visual arrays are harder to integrate in schizophrenia: Evidence for impaired lateral connections in early vision" . Psychiatry Res. 2019; 282: 112636.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: Visual objects as the referents of early vision: A response to a Theory of Sentience
Book Title: Computation, cognition, and Pylyshyn
Author List: Keane, B. P.
Published By: MIT Press 2009 in Cambridge