2022 Elsevier/VSS Young Investigator Award – Dobromir (Doby) Rahnev

Monday, May 16, 2022, 12:30 – 1:45 pm EDT, Talk Room 2

The Vision Sciences Society is honored to present Dobromir (Doby) Rahnev with the 2022 Elsevier/VSS Young Investigator Award.

The Elsevier/VSS Young Investigator Award, sponsored by Vision Research, is given to an early-career vision scientist who has made outstanding contributions to the field. The nature of this work can be fundamental, clinical, or applied. The award selection committee gives highest weight to the significance, originality and potential long-range impact of the work. The selection committee may also take into account the nominee’s previous participation in VSS conferences or activities, and substantial obstacles that the nominee may have overcome in their careers.   The awardee is asked to give a brief presentation of her/his work and is required to write an article to be published in Vision Research.

Dobromir (Doby) Rahnev

Associate Professor, School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology

The 2022 Elsevier/VSS Young Investigator Award goes to Professor Dobromir (Doby) Rahnev for fundamental contributions to our understanding of perceptual decision making and visual metacognition. Dr. Rahnev is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at Georgia Tech. After finishing his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Harvard University, Dr. Rahnev obtained his Ph.D. at Columbia University with Hakwan Lau and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley with Mark D’Esposito.

Dr. Rahnev’s research seeks to uncover the computational and neural bases of perceptual decision making. He studies the top-down processes that modulate the normal visual experience, using a combination of neuroimaging, brain stimulation, psychophysics, and computational modeling. His early pioneering work on attention-related subjective biases has inspired new lines of investigation and stimulated debates among philosophers. In another influential line of studies, Dr. Rahnev used a combination of brain stimulation and neuroimaging to demonstrate the existence of a hierarchical structure in the prefrontal cortex such that progressively rostral regions control later stages of perceptual decision making. His more recent work has uncovered the sources of suboptimality in perceptual decision making and developed improved models of visual metacognition. Dr. Rahnev has received an impressive series of grants from NIH, NSF, and the Office of Naval Research and mentored many graduate students and postdocs. He has also spearheaded several large collaborative efforts, such as creating the Confidence Database and organizing a consensus paper where researchers in visual metacognition agreed on shared goals. Dr. Rahnev’s research exemplifies open and high-quality science that produces fundamental discoveries about how humans make perceptual decisions.

Bias and confidence in perceptual decision making

Perceptual decision making is the process of choosing a course of action based on the available sensory evidence. This process begins with a stimulus that is internally represented in the visual system. Based on the internal representation, a person makes a decision and can also evaluate this decision via a confidence rating. Progress on perceptual decision making ultimately requires an understanding of the stimulus, the internal representation, the decision, and the confidence in the decision. This talk will focus on recent work that begins to reveal the computations that link all these components together. I will show how previously unexplained response biases emerge from individual differences in the internal representation. I will also present a new process model of confidence that allows the unbiased measurement of metacognitive ability and fits empirical data better than existing alternatives. I will end by highlighting exciting new developments in the field that promise to revolutionize our understanding of the computations underlying perceptual decision making.

Dr. Rahnev will speak during the Awards session.

2022 Davida Teller Award – Lynne Kiorpes

Monday, May 16, 2022, 12:30 – 1:45 pm EDT, Talk Room 2

The Vision Sciences Society is honored to present Dr. Lynne Kiorpes with the 2022 Davida Teller Award

VSS established the Davida Teller Award in 2013. Davida was an exceptional scientist, mentor and colleague, who for many years led the field of visual development. The award is therefore given to an outstanding female vision scientist in recognition of her exceptional, lasting contributions to the field of vision science.

Lynne Kiorpes

Professor of Neural Science and Psychology, New York University

Lynne Kiorpes is a leader and innovator in the field of visual development.  Throughout her career she has integrated studies of human visual development with studies of both behavior and neural development in infant macaques to understand immaturities and the role of visual experience in the development of visual processing.  Her work on amblyopia has been critical in revealing the developmental changes in the visual pathways that may contribute to the disorder.  Her findings have highlighted the role of extrastriate cortical development and the importance of focusing on higher-level visual functions in amblyopia. Recognitions of her accomplishments have included a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award (2007) and a Presidential Special Lecture at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (2016).

Dr. Kiorpes earned her Bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in 1973 and her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1982, both in Physiological Psychology.  She took up her faculty position at New York University in Psychology and Neural Science after a postdoctoral position in Ophthalmology at the University of Washington, where she had trained with leading vision scientists Davida Teller and Anita Hendrickson.

Dr. Kiorpes has been consistently dedicated in her support of women and under-represented minorities aspiring to careers in science. She is currently serving as the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at NYU and was awarded a prestigious Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering Program Fellowship in 2015.  She founded the NYU Women in Science Scholars program and has served as the director of NYU’s NIMH-funded training program in systems and integrative neuroscience since 2005.  Her accomplishments in teaching and mentoring have been recognized with both the Golden Dozen Teaching Award and the University Distinguished Teaching Medal at NYU.  She has served in numerous innovative leadership roles in support of the mentoring and training of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as mentoring the students in her own laboratory, for over 30 years.

Linking behavior and brain development

“As infants get older they get better at things” was never a satisfactory explanation of visual development, especially because in some children development does not proceed normally – as is the case in amblyopia. The question of what mechanisms in the visual brain permit the maturation of vision is long-standing in the field. At the same time, understanding how that developmental process is affected by visual experience is critical for informing our knowledge of typical development as well as experience-dependent plasticity. To identify the neural correlates of visual development and evaluate brain-behavior relationships, establishing the macaque model for human visual development was essential. Our work has established that – contrary to expectation – developmental changes in neural response properties early in the visual pathways do not limit normal development or define amblyopia. In this talk, I will argue that visual processing beyond V1 is more important for understanding both normal and abnormal visual development.

Dr. Kiorpes will speak during the Awards session.

2022 Ken Nakayama Medal for Excellence in Vision Science – Norma Graham

Monday, May 16, 2022, 12:30 – 1:45 pm EDT, Talk Room 2

The Vision Sciences Society is honored to present Norma Graham with the 2022 Ken Nakayama Medal for Excellence in Vision Science.

The Ken Nakayama Medal is in honor of Professor Ken Nakayama’s contributions to the Vision Sciences Society, as well as his innovations and excellence to the domain of vision sciences.

The winner of the Ken Nakayama Medal receives this honor for high-impact work that has made a lasting contribution in vision science in the broadest sense. The nature of this work can be fundamental, clinical or applied.

Norma Graham

Centennial Professor of Psychology, Columbia University

Dr. Graham is known for groundbreaking research integrating visual psychophysics, mathematical modeling and relating these to physiological measurements to uncover the workings of the early cortical stages of visual processing. Graham was an early and leading proponent of theories based on multiple spatial channels that have become the foundation of contemporary models of the early visual system. This work also involved the crystallization of the notion that probability summation across channels mediates stimulus detection, the idea that the observer’s knowledge of the stimulus is an important determinant of detection, and later that the outputs of early filters are combined in a non-linear fashion to mediate the perception of higher-order patterns such as textures. Graham’s seminal book “Vision Pattern Analyzers” integrated a vast body of empirical work within a rigorous computational framework that continues to inform the interpretation of psychophysical measurements and their relationship to underlying neural processes. Graham’s thinking in these areas has become so deeply ingrained in the conceptual toolkit of modern vision science that it has in many cases transcended the need for citation.

Norma Graham completed her B.S. in Mathematics at Stanford University in 1966 and her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. Following her Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Rockefeller University between 1970 and 1972. Norma then joined the faculty of Psychology at Columbia University, where she has been the William B. Ransford Professor of Psychology (2009-2012) and the Centennial Professor of Psychology (2013-present). Graham was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998, to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993 and to the Society of Experimental Psychologists in 1983. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, of the Optical Society of America (now Optica) and of the American Psychological Association.

Breaking the visual stimulus into parts …and then?

Dr. Graham will speak during the Awards session.

John I. Yellott Travel Award for Vision Science

The John I. Yellott Travel Award for Vision Science will be given annually to a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher who will be attending the VSS conference to present research that provides new quantitative insights into the human visual system.

The award was created in 2022 to honor Jack Yellott’s legacy of innovative, quantitative, and rigorous research that spanned many areas of vision science. His work was known for its ingenuity, creativity and clear mathematical reasoning.

Jack served as founding chair of the Department of Cognitive Sciences at University of California-Irvine. Throughout his career he served as a mentor and close collaborator to many outstanding vision scientists. He was a visible and friendly presence at ARVO and VSS. He was always interested to visit with young investigators, to listen to them and to share his thoughts, and offer support to the next generation of vision scientists. See more information about the life and work of John I. Yellott.

Application for the Yellott travel award will be made following the procedures established for other VSS travel awards. Those seeking a Yellott travel award will also be asked to indicate how their VSS presentation provides new quantitative insights into the human visual system and relates to the work of John Yellott.

This award was established by friends of John (Jack) Yellott.

2022 Recipients

Dominik Straub

TU Darmstadt

“An Analysis Method for Continuous Psychophysics Based on Bayesian Inverse Optimal Control”

Ling-Qi Zhang

University of Pennsylvania

“Image Reconstruction from Cone Excitations using the Implicit Prior in a Denoiser”

2021 Young Investigator Award – Martina Poletti

The Vision Sciences Society is honored to present Martina Poletti with the 2021 Elsevier/VSS Young Investigator Award.

The Young Investigator Award is an award given to an early-stage researcher who has already made a significant contribution to our field. The award is sponsored by Elsevier, and the awardee is invited to submit a review paper to Vision Research highlighting this contribution.

Martina Poletti

Assistant Professor
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
University of Rochester

The 2021 Elsevier/VSS Young Investigator Award goes to Dr. Martina Poletti for fundamental contributions to our understanding of eye movements, microsaccades, and the nature of visual-motor function and attention within the foveola. Dr. Poletti is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. She received her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree at the University of Padova and completed her doctoral and postdoctoral work at Boston University.

Dr. Poletti’s research addresses core questions regarding the interplay of attention and eye movements at the foveal scale. Her scholarly contributions will help revise textbook descriptions of the central fovea as a region of uniformly high acuity and microsaccades as involuntary eye movements, which purpose is to merely refresh the retinal image during fixation. Dr. Poletti’s experiments have capitalized on high-resolution eye tracking and gaze-contingent display to demonstrate that microsaccades are not random but purposeful, serving to bring task-relevant items to the preferred region within the foveola. Her work has revealed that fine spatial vision within the 1-deg foveola is non-uniform and it is selectively modulated by attention. Within this microcosm of visual space, covert and overt shifts of attention can still be observed operating with a remarkably high-precision, and guiding microsaccades in an active exploration of details. Dr. Poletti’s research exemplifies creative experimentation, cutting-edge methodology, and rigorous evaluation of longstanding theories in vision science.

The interplay of attention and eye movements at the foveal scale

Dr. Poletti will speak during the Awards session,
Sunday, May 23, 2021, 2:30 – 3:30 pm EDT.

Human vision relies on a tiny region of the retina, the foveola, to achieve high spatial resolution. Foveal vision is of paramount importance in daily activities, yet its study is challenging, as eye movements incessantly displace stimuli across this region. Building on recent advances in eye-tracking and gaze-contingent display, we have examined how attention and eye movements operate at the foveal level. We have shown that exploration of fine spatial detail unfolds following visuomotor strategies reminiscent of those occurring at larger scales. Together with highly precise control of attention, this motor activity is linked to non-homogenous processing within the foveola and selectively modulates sensitivity both in space and time. Therefore, high acuity vision is not the mere consequence of placing a stimulus at the center of gaze: it is the outcome of a synergy of motor, cognitive, and attentional processes, all finely tuned and dynamically orchestrated.

2021 Ken Nakayama Medal for Excellence in Vision Science – Gerald Westheimer

The Vision Sciences Society is honored to present Gerald Westheimer with the 2021 Ken Nakayama Medal for Excellence in Vision Science.

The Ken Nakayama Medal is in honor of Professor Ken Nakayama’s contributions to the Vision Sciences Society, as well as his innovations and excellence to the domain of vision sciences.

The recipient of the Ken Nakayama Medal receives this honor for high-impact work that has made a lasting contribution in vision science in the broadest sense. The nature of this work can be fundamental, clinical or applied.

Gerald Westheimer

Gerald Westheimer received his PhD degree in Physics: Physiological Optics at Ohio State under Glenn Fry in 1953 after completing optometry studies at the Sydney Technical College, a B.Sc. in mathematics and physiology at the University of Sydney and several years of private practice in Sydney, Australia. His post-doctoral education included the Nerve-Muscle Program at Woods Hole under Steven Kuffler, and a year at the Cambridge Physiological Laboratory, where he collaborated with Fergus Campbell and John Robson on the eye’s accommodative mechanism and attended E.H. Linfoot’s course on Fourier optics. After teaching optics and vision science in the optometry schools successively of Houston, Ohio State and Berkeley he was appointed as Professor of Physiology in Berkeley in 1967 and, when the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology was formed in 1987, as founding Head of its Division of Neurobiology. In 1994 he became Professor of the Graduate School at Berkeley as well as adjunct professor in the Laboratory of Neurobiology at the Rockefeller University, New York.

There are few facets of the visual system that Gerald Westheimer has not been involved in during his long career as active experimentalist, theoretician, scholar of the history of vision science, laboratory head, mentor and sponsor of independent research by post-doctoral and visiting scholars from around the world. His recognitions include election to the Royal Society of London and its Ferrier Lecture, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, Honorary Member of the Royal Society of NSW, the Tillyer Medal of the Optical Society, Proctor Medal of ARVO, Prentice Medal of the American Academy of Optometry, International von Sallman Prize in Ophthalmology, Barry Collins Medal of the Australian Optometric Association, Glenn Fry Medal of Ohio State University, several honorary degrees and Membership of the Order of Australia.

From his experiences in the optometry clinic Gerald formed an abiding interest in the eye’s optics and image formation, resolution and acuity. This led to his progressively deeper fascination with in the spatial sense of the eye in two and three dimensions, stereopsis and ocular motility. He used the research methodologies of optics, psychophysics, alert primate single unit recordings and right from their advent in the 1950’s, electronic computers. Rigorous training in mathematics and physics in Sydney enabled him to engage in the areas of systems theory and Fourier optics as they emerged, and to pioneer their application in visual science. Motivated primarily by an interest in and curiosity about human vision rather than the practice of particular scientific disciplines, Gerald concluded that, much as the analysis of visual phenomena should proceed initially by applying the knowledge and principles of the physical sciences, full understanding cannot be reached solely through that route but needs guidance from knowledge derived from observers’ awareness. With this approach, he made seminal discoveries in understanding the optics of the eye, binocular vision, spatial vision, eye-movements, learning and visual illusions. One example of his many contributions is his discovery how humans are able to discern small changes in the relative position of a stimulus that are an order of magnitude smaller than the smallest foveal cones in the retina. He termed this remarkable ability “hyperacuity” – a term that is now widely used, and elucidated many of its properties. In this, and in many other ways he shaped the growth of vision research. Vision science has benefited in lasting ways from Gerald’s research discoveries, his acumen, his scientific rigor, and his commitment to getting it right.

Dr. Westheimer will speak during the Awards session,
Sunday, May 23, 2021, 2:30 – 3:30 pm EDT
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2021 Davida Teller Award – Marisa Carrasco

The Vision Sciences Society is honored to present Dr. Marisa Carrasco with the 2021 Davida Teller Award

VSS established the Davida Teller Award in 2013. Davida was an exceptional scientist, mentor and colleague, who for many years led the field of visual development. The award is therefore given to an outstanding female vision scientist in recognition of her exceptional, lasting contributions to the field of vision science.

Marisa Carrasco

Julius Silver Professor of Psychology and Neural Science,  New York University

Marisa Carrasco investigates visual perception and attention, using human psychophysics, neuroimaging, neurostimulation, and computational modeling in order to study the relation between the psychological and neural mechanisms involved in these processes. Her research has revealed how attention modulates perceptual performance and alters appearance in a variety of visual tasks. Marisa grew up in Mexico City and earned her Licentiate in Psychology, specializing in experimental psychology, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where she graduated summa cum laude. Marisa then obtained her MS and PhD in psychology, specializing in cognition and perception, from Princeton University, where she received the highest scholarly excellence award, the Jacobus Honorific Fellowship. She became an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Wesleyan University in 1989. While at Wesleyan Dr. Carrasco received an NSF Young Investigator Award and an American Association of University Women Fellowship. She joined NYU in 1995 as an Associate Professor and was promoted to Professor of Psychology and Neural Science in 2002. She served as chair of the NYU Psychology Department from 2001-2007. NIH and NSF have continuously supported Carrasco’s research at NYU. Professor Carrasco received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Cattell Fellowship and was named a fellow of the American Psychological Society and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (2021); at NYU, she has been Collegiate Professor since 2007 and was named Julius Silver Professor of Psychology and Neural Science in 2019. Among her many other contributions to the vision sciences community, Marisa Carrasco has served as president of both the Vision Sciences Society and the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness and as a senior editor of two scientific journals, Journal of Vision and Vision Research.

Marisa Carrasco has had a profound impact on the field of vision science and attention through her multi-disciplinary research and through her mentorship activity. She is well-known as a dedicated teacher and mentor of undergraduate students, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. This is in part evidenced by her receipt of the NYU award for excellence in postdoc mentoring in 2018.

Marisa forged her research career in an era when the field of vision science had few women. Through her efforts she not only advanced her own research; she has also been an invaluable and generous role model for the many students she has taught and mentored through the years. With this award, VSS recognizes Professor Marisa Carrasco’s outstanding research and thanks her for being a wonderful scientist, mentor, and colleague.

Dr. Carrasco will speak during the Awards session,
Sunday, May 23, 2021, 2:30 – 3:30 pm EDT.

Travel Awards Information

Each year VSS endeavors to support travel to and accommodation at the annual meeting through a travel awards program, subject to availability of funding. For 2023, we are pleased to announce funding from both Elsevier/Vision Research and NIH/National Eye Institute. In addition, in 2022 VSS introduced the John I. Yellott Travel Award.

Guidelines for Applications

Travel awards are available to both US and non-US individuals and are open to Undergraduates, Graduate Students, and Postdocs. To help address historical disparities in our membership and the field, applications from females, underrepresented minorities, and individuals with disabilities are especially encouraged, as well as applications from those facing significant financial obstacles to their attendance. Applicants must be the first author on an abstract at the 2023 meeting. Previous VSS travel award recipients are not eligible (2020 and 2021 award recipients excluded).

Awards Selection

Applications will be reviewed by a committee appointed by the VSS Board of Directors.

Schedule

Intent to Submit Application (during abstract submissions): December 5, 2022
Applications Open: January 4, 2023 
Deadline to Apply: January 25, 2023
Recipients Announced: February 15, 2023

2020 Young Investigator Award – Timothy Brady

The Vision Sciences Society is honored to present Timothy Brady with the 2020 Young Investigator Award.

The Young Investigator Award is an award given to an early stage researcher who has already made a significant contribution to our field. The award is sponsored by Elsevier, and the awardee is invited to submit a review paper to Vision Research highlighting this contribution.

Timothy Brady

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
University of California, San Diego

The 2020 Elsevier/VSS Young Investigator Award goes to Professor Timothy Brady for his fundamental contributions to the scientific study of visual memory. Tim Brady is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology, UCSD. After completing his undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science at Yale University, Prof Brady did his PhD with Aude Oliva at MIT and then post-doctoral research with George Alvarez at Harvard University.

Prof Brady uses a combination of behavioral methods, cognitive neuroscience techniques and computational modelling to probe representations in the visual system and the processes by which visual information is encoded in working memory and integrated into long-term
storage. He has made numerous surprising discoveries about the extreme fidelity and detail of visual long-term memories for objects and scenes, and has demonstrated how statistical learning and ensemble encoding of features facilitates the maintenance and storage of complex stimuli like natural scenes. Prof Brady’s work has helped broaden the study of working memory to include richer, more naturalistic stimuli, and repeatedly challenged long-standing assumptions about the nature of visual representations. In a series of highly-cited studies he has shown how remembered objects are stored as groups of distinct parts that can be independently forgotten, and that when multiple items must be remembered, the brain computes summary statistics across the group. Prof Brady is not only a gifted and productive experimentalist—he has also made substantial contributions to the theoretical understanding of visual memory representations through computational modelling, as well as providing numerous useful tools for the community.

The nature of visual memory

Professor Brady will speak during the Awards session,
Saturday, May 22, 2021, 4:30 – 5:30 pm EDT.

In the real world, objects are discrete physical entities – your coffee mug either is or is not in your hand. As a result, both in everyday life and in memory research, there is a tendency to use a physical metaphor to understand memory: people tend to think of an object they are trying to remember as either in mind or not in their mind, and to say that we hold items in mind, as we hold real objects in our hand. This metaphor serves as a core mental model used in most conceptions of memory: all-or-none, discrete, and functioning at the level of entire objects or other discrete representations or chunks. In this brief talk, I’ll argue for a new way of thinking about memory that strongly contrasts with this common and intuitive view. I’ll show that individuated items are far from the only kind of representation people form, and that it is necessary to consider interactions among an entire hierarchy of representations (from semantic knowledge to ensemble information, chunks and items) to understand memory even for a single item. Next, I’ll show that memory representations, even for single items, are population-based and continuous in strength. Altogether, I’ll argue that even for those interested in cognition, analogies from neuroscience — with population codes, hierarchical representations and noisy signals — best allow us to understand memory limits, rather than physical analogies about discrete items.

2020 Davida Teller Award – Marlene Behrmann

The Vision Sciences Society is honored to present Dr. Marlene Behrmann with the 2020 Davida Teller Award

VSS established the Davida Teller Award in 2013. Davida was an exceptional scientist, mentor and colleague, who for many years led the field of visual development. The award is therefore given to an outstanding female vision scientist in recognition of her exceptional, lasting contributions to the field of vision science.

Marlene Behrmann

University Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Carnegie Mellon University
Marlene Behrmann received her B.A. in Speech and Hearing Therapy in 1981, followed by her M.A. in Speech Pathology in 1984, both from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She then obtained a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Toronto in 1991. She was a Research Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto before moving to Carnegie Mellon University in 1993, where she is currently a University Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience. Dr. Behrmann was elected a member of the Society for Experimental Psychologists in 2008, inducted into the National Academy of Sciences in 2015, and into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019. Her prior recognitions include the Presidential Early Career in Science and Engineering and the Fred Kavli Distinguished Career Contributions in Cognitive Neurosciences Award.

Dr. Behrmann is a trailblazer and a world leader in the field of visual cognition. Her work represents the best of cognitive neuroscience, seamlessly blending insights gained from neuropsychology, modeling, cutting-edge functional and structural brain imaging, and behavioral experiments. She has made major contributions across a wide range of topics, including attention, the neural basis of autism, specialization between hemispheres in the brain, face recognition and disorders of face recognition, visual object recognition, word recognition, and visual imagery. Dr. Behrman’s work is characterized by her remarkable ability to examine an issue rigorously from many vantage points, and from there to develop, test, and refine theories of how a given behavior arises from the underlying brain function. In addition, she has an exceptional record of mentorship throughout her career in promoting and supporting students at all stages. Dr. Behrmann embodies the characteristics that we so admired in Davida Teller, and it is with pride that the Society recognizes her accomplishments through the Davida Teller Award.

Hemispheric organization and pattern recognition

Dr. Behrmann will speak during the Awards session,
Saturday, May 22, 2021, 4:30 – 5:30 pm EDT.

Despite the overall similarity in structure, the two hemispheres of the human brain have somewhat different functions. A traditional view of hemispheric organization asserts that there are independent and largely lateralized domain-specific visual regions in ventral occipitotemporal, specialized, if not dedicated, and perhaps innate, for the recognition of distinct classes of objects such as words and faces. In this talk, I will offer an alternative account of the organization of the hemispheres. I will present an account of interactive and graded organization of both within- and between-hemisphere organization. The crux of the account is that mature hemispheric organization emerges from a competitive and collaborative dynamic in which in right-handers, during the acquisition of literacy, word recognition comes to be co-localized with language lateralization in the left hemisphere. Consequently, face recognition is shifted, albeit not entirely, to the right hemisphere. Behavioral and imaging data from adults and over development will provide evidence to support this hypothesis of graded asymmetry.
Last, I will show that this pattern of organization is malleable and that, in children who have had a unilateral posterior cortical resection, the preserved hemisphere can subserve both word and face recognition. Together, these findings support a dynamic interactive process by which hemispheric organization emerges and unfolds with experience.

Vision Sciences Society