Dr. Marlene Behrmann
Dr. Marlene Behrmann is a Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, who's research specializes in the cognitive basis of visual perception, with a specific focus on object recognition. Dr. 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 received a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Toronto in 1991. Dr Behrmann was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences in 2015 and into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019.
Dr. Behrmann is widely considered to be a trailblazer and a worldwide leader in the field of visual cognition. Below is an example of recently published work from the lab:
Liu, T., Nestor, A., Vida, M. D., Pyles, J. A., Patterson, C., Yang, Y., Yang, F. N., Freud, E., Behrmann, M. (2018).Successful Reorganization of Category-Selective Visual Cortex following Occipito-temporal Lobectomy in Childhood. Cell Repots 24:1113-1122. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.06.099.
Investigations of functional (re)organization in children who have undergone large cortical resections offer a unique opportunity to elucidate the nature and extent of cortical plasticity. We report findings from a 3-year investigation of a child, UD, who underwent surgical removal of the right occipital and posterior temporal lobe at age 6 years 9 months. Relative to controls, post-surgically, UD showed age-appropriate intellectual performance and visuoperceptual, face and object recognition skills. Using fMRI at five different time points, we observed a persistent hemianopia and no visual field remapping. In category-selective visual cortex, however, object and scene-selective regions in the intact left hemisphere were stable early on, but regions subserving face and word recognition emerged later and evinced competition for cortical representation. These findings reveal alterations in the topography of category-selective regions when confined to a single hemisphere, and provide a novel view of dynamic functional changes in extrastriate cortical architecture.
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