Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Behrmann, Marlene
Location University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Primary Field Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
Secondary Field Systems Neuroscience
 Election Citation
Behrmann's landmark studies have transformed our understanding of the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying perceptual organization, object, word and face recognition, mental imagery, and spatial attention. Her novel, groundbreaking ways of studying neuropsychological patients combined with brain imaging (fMRI, DTI) have revealed basic computational principles of visual learning and plasticity.
 Research Interests
Marlene Behrmann's laboratory is interested in the psychological and neural mechanisms that underlie visual processing. Despite the paucity of input from the retina (roughly amount and wave length of light), humans can recognize visual scenes and their content with remarkable ease, speed and accuracy. To elucidate the mechanisms by which this is achieved, Behrmann adopts a multiplicity of research methods including neuroimaging and electrophysiology, along with detailed psychophysics in normal and brain-damaged (stroke, trauma) individuals, as well as in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders (autism, face blindness). For example, Behrmann's lab has characterized the neural circuit associated with face processing, as well as the structural connectivity between the nodes, and has elucidated the neural code associated with identifying individual faces. Behrmann and colleagues have also documented the interactivity between disparate parts of the visual system, namely the ventral temporal structures and the dorsal parietal structures, and its emergence over the course of development. In addition, Behrmann's lab has provided empirical support and a theoretical account, using computational approaches, for the processes that govern the organization of the two cerebral hemispheres in adult humans and the developmental trajectory by which this neural profile emerges.

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