Carnegie Mellon University

Marlene Behrmann

Marlene Behrmann

Thomas S. Baker University Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Emeritus

Areas of Expertise

Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Computational, Developmental, Perception


Dr. Marlene Behrmann is a Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, whose 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.


  • B.A. Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand
  • B.A. Speech Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Ph.D in Psychology, University of Toronto


Behrmann’s multifaceted research program is concerned with the psychological and neural bases of visual processing, with particular emphasis on the way in which visual object recognition is achieved. Using a range of methodological tools, including detailed behavioral investigation and structural and functional imaging with normal adults and children and with pathological populations (acquired lesions or neurodevelopmental atypicalities including lobectomy/hemispherectomy), Behrmann explores the necessary psychological and neural processes and representations that underlie abilities such as object segmentation and recognition and face and word recognition as well as their functional organization and plasticity. Behrmann has also played a role in using computational models to simulate and predict aspects of visual behavior and, recently, used deep networks to explore face recognition abilities. Behrmann’s research aims to advance our understanding of brain-behavior relations as well as the variability in these relations across individuals. Elucidating the mechanisms underlying perception has the potential not only to inform our understanding from a basic research perspective but also from a translational viewpoint with the goal of designing more targeted and customized intervention procedures.


Current Course Offerings

  • Cognitive Neuropsychology 85-414/714
  • Biological Foundations of Behavior 85-219