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National Academy of Sciences Inductee

In 2015, Dr. Behrmann was elected into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), making her the first female scientist from Carnegie Mellon University to be granted this prestige. Founded by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with "providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.1" Read about the history and current state of the NAS on the NAS website.

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 is widely considered to be a trailblazer and a worldwide leader in the field of visual cognition. Above and below are some examples of recently published papers:


A picture from freud et al..

Freud et al (2017) [Freud, E., Culham, J. C., Plaut, D. C. and Behrmann, M. (2017). The large-scale organization of shape processing in the ventral and dorsal pathways. eLife, Oct 5;6. pii: e27576. doi: 10.7554/eLife.27576. [Epub ahead of print].] map the shape selectivity function in each voxel in both ventral and dorsal cortex and show that some regions of dorsal cortex mediates shape representations that are highly similar to those in ventral cortex.


In this recent paper, Vida and Behrmann (2017) demonstrate that subcortical regions in human adults respond to ancestral threats (snakes, spiders) but not to modern threats (guns) or positively-valenced images (such as birthday cakes). They also showed that for snakes, there was a temporal hemifield advantage, consistent with facilitation by the retincotectal subcortical pathway.