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Robert Randolph Blake

Centennial Professor and Associate Chair of Psychology
Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Blake studies human visual perception, including binocular vision, motion perception and perceptual organization. His most recent research has focused on: i) the roles of knowledge and intention on the resolution of perceptual ambiguity, ii) role of temporal structure in visual grouping, iii) perception of biological motion, and iv) synesthesia. He has published neural models of perceptual bistability and of structure from motion. For the past ten years, Blake has used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study brain activation patterns associated with visual perception, with his current work focusing on biological motion and binocular rivalry. He has also published work on visual imagery, bisensory integration, working memory, and art and the brain. In collaboration with colleagues, he has extended his research to include individuals diagnosed with autism, Williams syndrome, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. His work is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lab Website

Representative Publications

Brascamp, J., Sterzer, P., Blake, R. & Knapen, T. (in press) Multistable perception, and the role of frontoparietal cortex in perceptual inference, Annual Review of Psychology

Kim, H-Y., Kim, C-Y. & Blake, R. (2017) Monocular perceptual deprivation from interocular suppression temporarily Imbalances ocular dominance, Current Biology, 27, 884-889.

Paris, R., Boddenheimer, B. & Blake, R. (2017) Does direction of walking impact binocular rivalry between competing patterns of optic flow? Attention, Perception & Performance. doi:10.3758/s13414-017-1299-4.

Kim, S., Lee, M., Blake, R. & Kim, C.Y. (2017) Audio-visual interactions uniquely contribute to resolution of visual conflict in people possessing absolute pitch. PLOS One. 12(4): e0175103.

Dieter, K., Sy, J., & Blake, R. (2017) Persistent biases in binocular rivalry dynamics within the visual field. Vision. 1(3): 18.

Choe, K.W., Blake, R. & Lee, S.H. (2016) Pupil size dynamics during fixation impact the accuracy and precision of video-based gaze estimation. Vision Research, 118, 48-59.

Hur, J.W., Blake, R., Cho, K.I-K., Kim, J., Kim, S-Y., Choi, S-H., Kang, D-H., Kwon, J.S. (2016) Biological motion perception, brain responses, and schizotypal personality disorder. Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry. 73, 260-267.

Dieter, K., Brascamp, J., Tadin, D. & Blake, R. (2016) Does visual attention drive the dynamics of bistable perception? Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 78, 1861-1873.

Sy, J., Tomarken, A.T., Patel, V. & Blake, R. (2016) The time course of binocular rivalry during the phases of the menstrual cycle. Journal of Vision. 16(15):22. doi: 10.1167/16.15.22.

Brascamp, J., Blake, R. & Knapen, T. (2015) Negligible fronto-parietal BOLD activity accompanying unreportable switches in bistable perception. Nature Neuroscience. 18, 1672-1678

Lee, M., Blake, R., Kim, S. & Kim, C.Y. (2015) Melodic sound enhances visual awareness of congruent musical notes, but only if you can read music. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112, 8493-8498.

Kim, J., Jung, E., Lee, S.H. & Blake, R. (2015) A new technique for generating disordered point-light animations for the study of biological motion perception. Journal of Vision, 15(11): 13.

Blake, R., Brascamp, J. & Heeger, D.J. (2014) Can binocular rivalry reveal neural correlates of consciousness? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 369, 20130211. doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0211



National Academy of Sciences, Elected 2012

American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Elected 2006

Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Texas, Arlington, 2002

Distinguished Faculty Award, Vanderbilt University, 2002

Chancellor’s Research Award, Vanderbilt University, 2004

Ig Nobel Prize Winner, AIR/Harvard, 2006

Vanderbilt University College of Arts & Science Graduate Mentoring Award, 2006

Vanderbilt Department of Psychology Outstanding Alumni Award, 2007

Jefferson Award, Vanderbilt University, August 2008