Georgia Tech Neuro Seminar Series

"Built to Learn: Insights into Nature and Nurture from Blindness and Cognitive Expertise"

Marina Bedny, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences
Johns Hopkins University 

*Lunch provided for in-person attendees

*To participate virtually, CLICK HERE


Maria Bedny, Ph.D. earned her B.A. in Cognitive Science at John Hopkins University and both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed post doctoral fellowships at MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation Harvard Medical School (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center).

How do nature and nurture contribute to the human mind and brain? Our lab investigates this age-old question using the methods of cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology. A key approach in the lab compares the minds and brains of people with different developmental experiences: sighted, congenitally blind and late-blind individuals. One direction of research examines how people who are born blind think about “visual” concepts, such as blue glow and stare. In what way are the cognitive and neural representations of these categories different and similar across sighted and blind people? Another line of work examines the function of “visual” cortices in blind individuals. What functions do visual cortices acquire in blindness and how similar are these new functions to the typical visual functions of occipital cortices? Is plasticity during childhood different than plasticity in adulthood and if so in what way?