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Kalanit Grill-Spector is a Professor in Psychology and the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute. Her research examines how the brain processes visual information and perceives it. She uses functional imaging techniques to visualize the living brain in action and understand how it functions to recognize people, objects and places. Additionally, she investigates how the anatomical and functional properties of the brain change from infancy to childhood through adulthood, and how this development is related to improved visual recognition abilities. She received her PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and was a postdoctoral fellow in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT before joining Stanford University. She has received several awards and honors including the Human Sciences Frontier Fellowship, the Sloan Fellowship, and the Klingenstein Fellowship in Neuroscience. She has served as an Editor for the Journal of Vision and Neuropsychologia. Presently, she has an active and diverse laboratory at the Psychology Department at Stanford University, she is a leader on the Wu Tsai Big idea project on Neurodevelopment, a board member of the Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging at Stanford University, she served as director of the graduate studies in the Department of Psychology from 2017-2021, and is presently the Chair of the Department of Psychology at Stanford University.
For humans, recognition is a natural, effortless skill that occurs within a few hundreds of milliseconds, yet it is one of the least understood aspects of visual perception. Our research utilizes functional imaging (fMRI),diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), computational techniques, and behavioral methods to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying visual recognition in humans. We also examine the development of these mechanisms from childhood to adulthood as well as between populations.