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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. (2018) Multistable perception, and the role of frontoparietal cortex in perceptual inference, Annual Review of Psychology, 69, 77-103. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-010417-085944 (Featured in news story in Knowable Magazine)  

Han, S., Blake, R. & Alais, D. (2018) Slow and steady, not fast and furious: Slow temporal modulation empowers continuous flash suppression. Cognition and Consciousness, 58, 10-19. 

Noel, J.-P., Simon, D., Thelen, A., Maier, A., Blake, R. & Wallace, M. (2018) Probing electrophysiological indices of perceptual awareness across unisensory and multisensory modalities. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 30, 814-828. https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/jocn_a_01247 

Cha, O., Blake, R., & Chong, S.C. (2018) Composite binocular perception from dichoptic stimulus arrays with similar ensemble information. Scientific Reports 8:8263. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-26679-9.pdf 

Han, S., Alais, D. & Blake, R. (2018) Battle of the Mondrians: Investigating the role of unpredictability in continuous flash suppression. I-Perception. 9(4), 1-21. 

Tadin, D., Park, W.J., Dieter, K.C., Melnick, M.D., Lappin, J.S. & Blake, R. (2019) Spatial suppression promotes rapid figure-ground segmentation of moving objects. Nature Communications. 10(1): 2732. Open Access, News story  

Blake, R., Goodman, R., Tomarken, A.T. & Kim, H.Y. (2019) Individual differences in continuous flash suppression: Potency and linkages to binocular rivalry dynamic. Vision Research, 160, 10-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2019.04.003 

Cha, O. & Blake, R. (2019) Evidence for neural rhythms embedded within binocular rivalry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116 (30) 14811-14812. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1905174116 

Cha, O., Son, G., Chong S.C., Tovar, D. & Blake, R. (2019) Novel procedure for generating continuous flash suppression: Seurat meets Mondrian, Journal of Vision, 19(14):1, 1–22,  

Park, M., Blake, R., Kim, Y. & Kim, C.Y. (2019) Congruent audio-visual stimulation during adaptation modulates the subsequently experienced visual motion aftereffect. Scientific Reports, 9, 19391 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-54894-5 

Wen, P., Opoku-Baah, C., Park, M. & Blake, R. (2020) Judging relative onsets and offsets of audiovisual events. Vision, 4 (1), 17; https://www.mdpi.com/2411-5150/4/1/17/htm 

Blake, R. (2021) Reflections on Eriksen’s seminal essay on discrimination, performance and learning without awareness. Attention, Perception & Performance (special issue honoring Charles Eriksen). 83(2),543-557. Online access 

Cha, O., Blake, R. & Gauthier, I. (2020) The role of category- and exemplar-specific experience in ensemble processing of objects. Attention, Perception & Performance (special issue on ensemble processing. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-020-02162-4 

Noel, J.P., Failla, M.D., Quinde-Zlibut, J.M., Williams, Z.J., Gerdes, M., Tracy, J.T., A.R., Zoltowski, Foss-Feig, J.H., Nichols, H.S., Armstrong, K., Heckers, S.H., Blake, R., Wallace, M.T., Park, S., & Cascio, C. (2020) Visual-tactile spatial multisensory interaction in adults with autism and schizophrenia. Frontiers in Psychiatry: Social Cognition. 11:578401. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.578401 

Ng, C.J., Blake, R., Banks, M.S., Tadin, D. & Yoon, G. (2021). Seeing the world like never before: Human stereovision through perfect optics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(23): e2100126118. https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/118/23/e2100126118.full.pdf 

Cha, O. Blake, R. & Gauthier (2021) Contribution of a common ability in average and variability judgments. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-021-01982-1


Honors

Jeffrey Nordhaus Award, Excellence in Teaching, Vanderbilt University 2020 

National Academy of Sciences, Elected Member 2012 

Elected Fellow Psychonomic Society, 2014 

Jefferson Award, Vanderbilt University, August 2008 

American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Elected Member 2006 

Chancellor’s Research Award, Vanderbilt University, 2004 

Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Texas, Arlington, 2002 

Distinguished Faculty Award, Vanderbilt University, 2002 

Earl Sutherland Prize, Vanderbilt University, 2000 

William Evans Professorship, Otago University, 1995 

Career Development Award, National Institutes of Health, 1978-83