Vanderbilt University

04/04/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/04/2024 12:12

Two A&S psychology faculty receive prestigious awards in vision sciences

Posted by Hollis Calhoun on Friday, March 22, 2024 in News Story, Research.

Two leading scholars in the College of Arts and Science Department of Psychology were recognized by the Vision Sciences Society, the leading international society for vision science research. Randolph Blake, Centennial Professor of Psychology, won the 2024 Ken Nakayama Medal for Excellence in Vision Science Award for lasting, high-impact contributions to vision science. Isabel Gauthier, David K. Wilson Professor of Psychology, won the 2024 Davida Teller Award for exceptional scientific achievements, commitment to equity, and a strong history of mentoring.

"Having not just one, but two colleagues win these prestigious awards from this premier international society in the same year is truly unprecedented," said Thomas J. Palmeri, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology. "This accomplishment rightfully recognizes the exceptional scholarly impact that Randolph and Isabel are having on the field and is yet another reflection of the international stature of faculty in our department."

Blake 's research focuses on understanding human visual perception using psychophysical techniques, human brain imaging, virtual reality, and computational modeling. He is widely recognized as one of the leading scientists in the world on binocular fusion, binocular rivalry, multisensory integration, synesthesia, biological motion, and the neural basis of consciousness. Among his many accolades over his long and distinguished career, Blake is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He has been recognized by Vanderbilt with the 2000 Earl Sutherland Prize, 2008 Jefferson Award, 2020 Jeffrey Nordhaus Award, and 2023 Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor Award.

Gauthier, a cognitive neuroscientist, studies visual object recognition, or how humans learn to categorize, recognize, and represent objects in different domains. She is well known for her revolutionary work on how perceptual expertise impacts brain and behavior, demonstrating that both real-world and laboratory-trained experts in object recognition show behavior (holistic processing) and brain activity (in the Fusiform Face Area) observed for face recognition. Her current NSF-funded research has expanded to more broadly understand differences in how individuals recognize, remember, and categorize faces and objects by combining brain imaging, psychometric methods, and neural network models. An outstanding and devoted mentor, Gauthier received the 2024 Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award from the Graduate School and the 2012 Excellence in Graduate Mentoring Award from the College of Arts and Science.

Both Blake and Gauthier are investigators in the Vanderbilt Vision Research Center.

Both awardees will be officially recognized at the VSS Annual Meeting in May in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

The Vision Sciences Society a nonprofit membership organization of leading international vision scientists that aims to progress in understanding vision and its relation to cognition, action, and the brain.

Tags: Department of Psychology, Isabel Gauthier, Randolph Blake, Thomas Palmeri