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The Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) program marshals the talents of over 30 faculty in Psychological Sciences at Vanderbilt to examine fundamental problems in perception, attention, memory, thinking, and problem solving. Specialties within these broad areas of research include:
- Visual Perception (binocular vision, motion perception, object recognition, perception of geometric structure, perceptual learning and expertise, scene perception, change detection, perceptual development)
- Attention and Performance (focused attention, dual-task performance, executive control, task switching, and automatization)
- Concepts and Categories (categorization, conceptual structure, knowledge representation)
- Thinking and Reasoning (causal reasoning, analogical problem solving, decision making, numerical reasoning, thinking with diagrams, metacognition)
- Perception and Action (perceptual-motor coordination, development of reaching)
- Spatial Cognition (spatial vision, spatial memory and orientation)
- Learning and Memory (learning in real-world contexts, perceptual learning and expertise, explicit/implicit learning)
- The Cognitive Bases of Emotion and Emotional Experience (emotion elicitation, facial expression of emotion, vocal expression of emotion)
Many of Vanderbilt's cognitive science research endeavors involve extensive collaboration among faculty and students. Indeed, a fundamental belief of the faculty in the CCN program is that the problems facing the field are sufficiently difficult that multidisciplinary, collaborative efforts are often essential. Students therefore benefit from close research interactions with a number of faculty members in a number of departments.
An especially important part of this approach is the many centers and institutes devoted to this kind of interdisciplinary research. These include the Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience (headed by Jeffrey D. Schall, and focused on the relationship between the brain and both normal and abnormal behavior), the Vanderbilt Vision Research Center (also headed by Jeffrey D. Schall, this center is based on a core grant for vision research support services, and a training grant), the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development and Disabilities (led by Elizabeth Dykens, and devoted to understanding disruptions in typical development), the Vanderbilt Institute of Imaging Sciences (headed by John C. Gore, this includes a 3T MR magnet that is devoted to basic neuroimaging research).
The CCN program is also closely affiliated with the Developmental Science program. A number of faculty members study the development of perceptual and cognitive capabilities in the individual, and how these abilities are influenced by social experiences and institutions. The Cognitive and Cognitive Neuroscience program has an excellent concentration in the learning sciences, and several members' work in interdisciplinary teams focuses on learning in schools.