Randolph Blake is Centennial Professor of Psychology and Professor of Opthalmology at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., where he is also a fellow of the Kennedy Center for Research in Human Development, a founding member of the Vision Research Center and of the Center for Cognitive and Integrative Neuroscience. He is a cognitive neuroscientist who uses behavioral techniques, neural modeling and brain imaging to study human visual perception and is known particularly for his work on binocular vision and motion perception. Blake grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, received his undergraduate degree in 1967 from University of Texas-Arlington and his doctorate from Vanderbilt in 1972. After spending two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Sensory Sciences Center at the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, he joined the faculty at Northwestern University where he remained for 15 years. In 1988, Blake moved to Vanderbilt to chair the Department of Psychology and to help form the nascent Vanderbilt Vision Research Center. Blake is also an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Society for Experimental Psychology, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Society. His other professional memberships include the Vision Sciences Society, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Society for Neuroscience, Sigma Xi, and Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness. For the past several years Blake has been one of four World Class University Foreign Scholars in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Seoul National University.

Research Interests

Throughout his career, Randolph Blake has maintained an enduring interest in human visual perception and its neural concomitants. Together with lab members and colleagues, he has studied perception using complementary techniques including psychophysics, neural modeling and brain imaging. Early in his career, Blake published a series of papers on vision in the cat that established close links between cat spatial vision and anatomical and physiological properties of neurons within the cat's retina and brain. Blake's later work on human motion perception established clear links between binocular stereopsis and structure from motion, culminating in a neural model integrating these two aspects of 3D vision. More recently he has expanded that line of work to include studies in which psychophysical and brain imaging techniques are used to identify neural mechanisms involved in perception of biological motion (the term referring to the kinematic information uniquely specifying the identity and activity of humans and other animate creatures). Most notably, Blake has intensively studied human binocular vision, publishing empircal and theoretical papers on binocular summation, stereopsis and binocular rivalry. His Psychological Review paper on rivalry, a widely cited theoretical paper on that phenomenon, stimulated intense interest in rivalry within cognitive neuroscience and neurophysiology. Blake has also devised novel psychoanatomical strategies for identifying neural sites of action within human vision, and he now supplements those strategies with brain imaging techniques including fMRI. In collaboration with others, Blake has expanded the focus of his work to include studies of visual perception in individuals diagnosed with autism and with schizophrenia.

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Primary Section

Section 52: Psychological and Cognitive Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 28: Systems Neuroscience