Thomas Palmeri, Ph.D.

thomas.j.palmeri AT

tel: 615-343-7900

fax: 615-343-8449

I received my BS in cognitive science from Carnegie Mellon in 1987, my PhD in cognitive psychology from Indiana University in 1995, and then began my faculty position at Vanderbilt. I am currently Professor in the Department of Psychology, co-Director of the Scientific Computing program at Vanderbilt, and head the CatLab. I also co-lead the Perceptual Expertise Network and am a member of the Executive Committee for the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center, an NSF Science of Learning Center. My ORCID ID is 0000-0001-7617-9797.

vita | courses taught | personal stuff | Erdösacademic family tree


Jianhong Shen

jianhong.shen AT

Jianhong comes from China. For her undergraduate study, she worked with Professor Fang Fang in Peking University. Her work in PKU mainly focused on brain plasticity, including adaptation, perceptual learning, EEG technique etc. For her graduate study, she is now mostly attracted by expertise-related research. Her PhD phase will start in fall 2012.

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Jeff Annis, Ph.D.

jeff.annis AT

Jeff is interested in the mechanisms and representations involved in memory and categorization. He received his PhD from the University of South Florida in 2014 where he studied the relationship between memory and perception via sequential dependencies. Jeff will begin working this summer as a postdoctoral fellow with in the lab using computational models and empirical investigations to understand the dynamics of perceptual expertise.

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Brent Miller, Ph.D.

brent.miller AT

Brent comes from a background in computer engineering, and is interested in how the mechanisms of information storage, retrieval and encoding affect judgment and decision making. Previously, he used computational modeling to show how certain decision behavior necessarily arises from probabilistic information representation in the brain. By using modeling to describe behavioral and neurological data, he hopes to pursue these questions further into the biological substrate. Brent comes from the University of California, Irvine, where he received his PhD in 2014.

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Mathieu Servant, Ph.D.

Mathieu has a background in cognitive neuroscience and is interested in the computational and neural basis of perceptual decision-making. He completed his PhD dissertation at the University of Marseille (France) where he studied the links between decision-making and cognitive control using computational models and electrophysiology. Mathieu is pursuing his research in collaboration with Jeff Schall, Gordon Logan, and Geoff Woodman.

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Gabriel Tillman, Ph.D.

Gabriel is interested in how people make simple perceptual decisions about incoming sensory information. During his PhD, he used mathematical models to learn about the mental processes involved in speech perception, word recognition, and driving motor vehicles under increased cognitive load. At Vanderbilt University, Gabriel works with Palmeri, Schall, and Logan in developing neurocognitive models of perceptual decision-making.

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Magen Speegle (Research Analyst and PEN Coordinator)

magen.a.speegle AT

Magen has received her bachelor’s degree in psychology at University of Alabama in Birmingham. She currently is a Research Analyst and the Coordinator for the Perceptual Expertise Network.

Chenchal Subraveti, Ph.D. (Senior Research Associate)

chenchal.subraveti AT

Chenchal is interested in building research tools for neuroscience that use cluster computing and big data technologies. He obtained his PhD in 1992 at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology in India and was a postdoctoral fellow at both MIT and Vanderbilt before moving to a career in software engineering in healthcare. Before his industry career, his research focused on the organization of orientation maps, the neural basis of object and space perception as well as perception and action. He is currently working as a research scientist in collaboration with Thomas Palmeri, Jeffrey Schall, Geoff Woodman, and David Zald.

 Dylan Groos

Dylan Groos (Undergraduate Researcher)

dylan_groos AT

Dylan is a junior at Brown University concentrating in Artificial Intelligence. He is interested in avant-garde and experimental applications of neural networks. In his free time, he enjoys movies, running, and creating generative visual art.

 Keshav Kundassery

Keshav Kundassery (Undergraduate Researcher)

dylan_groos AT

Keshav is a first year undergraduate at Vanderbilt intending to major in Neuroscience and Philosophy. He is set on attending medical school after college, planning to continue research on the interface between computing and biology. He also competes on the debate team and enjoys books, movies, and classical music.

 Sunny Chennupati

Sunny Chennupati (Undergraduate Researcher)

Sai.Chennupati AT

Sunny is a junior majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Scientific Computing and Japanese. He hopes to attend medical school after graduation, and eventually plans on using his diverse background in scientific computing to not only bridge the technological disconnect between doctors and developers, but also to spearhead campaigns promoting the usage of new and innovative technologies throughout all facets of health care. In addition to working in CATLAB, Sunny also works as a teaching assistant in the Intro to Biological Sciences Lab where he mentors undergraduate students on essential laboratory and research techniques.

 Chong Zhao

Chong Zhao (Undergraduate Researcher)

chong.zhao AT

Chong is a sophomore majoring in cognitive studies. Being intrigued by object perception and categorization project in CATLAB, he plans to explore the field of mathematical psychology in the future. As a Peabody student, Chong loves working with kids, and he volunteers through the “Inter-axon” neuroscience teaching club to give neuroscience lessons for Nashville middle school students. In his free time, he loves listening to music and visiting famous local restaurants for great dishes.


Leanne Boucher, Ph.D. (Former Postdoctoral Fellow)

now Assistant Professor of Psychology at Nova Southeastern University

Leanne received her PhD from Dartmouth College in 1992 under the mentorship of Howard Hughes. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt with Jeff Schall, Tom Palmeri, and Gordon Logan. We recently published a paper in Psychological Review that describes a stochastic model of saccade countermanding that accounts for details of both behavior and neurophysiology. Her other work used behavioral experiments and modeling to examine trial-by-trial adjustments in behavior in the countermanding task, the effects of eye and hand responses in countermanding, and the relationships between working memory, attention, and eye movements. Her postdoctoral fellowship was supported by an individual NRSA from the NIH.

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Stephen Denton, Ph.D. (Former Postdoctoral Fellow)

now Research Analyst and Consultant in Canada

Stephen was a member of the lab 2011-2012. He now lives in Toronto. At Indiana, as a graduate student with John Kruschke and postdoctoral fellow with Rich Shiffrin and Rob Nosofsky, his research interests encompassed a broad range of cognitive science topics with a predominant concentration being on mathematical models of learning and categorization. He studied and modeled shifts of attention in associative learning. He explored and modeled how humans select information to learn about, in associative learning tasks (i.e., how people actively learn). He investigated how multiple types of mental representations (e.g., rules and exemplars) can be flexibly applied in human category learning and in models thereof. And he explored and modeled the inference process by which people form percepts of the visual world using a short-term priming paradigm. At Vanderbilt, he conducted behavioral and modeling research on face recognition and real world perceptual expertise.

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Suzie Dukic (Former PEN Coordinator)

now Research Associate, Counselor, and Instructor

Suzie worked as the PEN coordinator for several great years. She is working on her Master’s degree in Counseling at Lipscomb and is working as a researcher in David aald’s laboratory.

Jonathan Folstein, Ph.D. (Former Postdoctoral Fellow)

now Assistant Professor of Psychology at Florida State Univeristy

jonathan.r.folstein AT

Jonathan received his PhD from the University of Arizona under the mentorship of Cyma Van Petten. He is interested in the neural basis of semantic memory and object categorization. For his dissertation, he employed event related potentials to investigate perceptual classification. At Vanderbilt, he conducted behavioral and fMRI research on category learning and its impact on object representations.

web page | academic family tree

Michael Mack, Ph.D. (Former Graduate Student)

now Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto

mack.michael AT

Mike received his PhD from Vanderbilt in 2011 and then gained postdoctoral experience at UT Austin with Brad Love and Allison Preston. His research at Vanderbilt examined the cognitive mechanisms involved in visual object recognition and categorization, examined how different computational models of categorization can account for the time course of categorization, and collaborated with Jenn Richler on the role of perceptual and decisional influences of holistic processing in face perception. At UT Austin, he combined cognitive modeling and fMRI to understand the representations and processes underlying categorization and memory. He begins as a new faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto in Fall 2016.

vita | web page | academic family tree

Braden Purcell, Ph.D. (Former Graduate Student)

now Postdoctoral Fellow at NYU

braden.a.purcell AT

Braden developed computational cognitive neuroscience models of visual section and perceptual decision making that accounted for behavior and single unit neural activity. He is continuing his training in neurophysiology and computational neuroscience in a postdoctoral fellowship at NYU with Roozbeh Kiani and Xiao-Jing Wang.

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Jennifer Richler, Ph.D. (Former Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow)

now Senior Editor at Nature Publishing

jenn.richler AT

As a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow, Jenn was broadly interested in the cognitive mechanisms involved in visual object recognition, memory, and categorization and how these processes are modulated by experience and expertise. She recently began a new career as Senior Editor at Nature Publishing. In this new position, she be covering psychology and social sciences for interdisciplinary Nature titles including Nature Climate Change, Nature Energy, and Nature Nanotechnology among others; the job covers all aspects of the editorial process, including manuscript selection, commissioning and editing of Reviews and News & Views, and writing for the journals.

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David Ross, Ph.D. (Former Postdoctoral Fellow)

now Postdoctoral Fellow at UMass

davidross AT

David is broadly interested in the mechanisms underlying visual object perception in the brain. Specifically, he is interested in the processes underling human face recognition. Some of his work has used computational modelling and psychophysical investigation to explore high-level adaptation aftereffects and their implications for norm and exemplar accounts of face recognition. David was a visiting graduate student at Vanderbilt in the spring 2010 and he started as a postdoctoral fellow with Gauthier and Palmeri in 2011. He is now a postdoctoral fellow with Rosie Cowell at the University of Massachusetts

web page | research gate | academic family tree


Akash Umakantha (Former Undergraduate Researcher)

now Graduate Student in Neurocomputation at Carnegie Mellon

Akash was a member of the Vanderbilt Class of 2015 with majors in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering. He graduated as the winner of the Founder’s Medal from the School of Engineering, the most prestigious award Vanderbilt gives to its students. He worked in the CatLab since the summer after his first year as a Vanderbilt Research Fellow; one summer he attended the prestigious Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory summer course. He worked on a project linking spiking neural network models and stochastic accumulator models of decision making. He is broadly interested in scientific computing and building computational neuroscience models. Akash is now a graduate student in Neural Computation and Machine Learning at Carnegie Mellon University.

Tim Vickery, Ph.D. (Former Research Assistant)

now Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Delaware

Tim worked in the lab as an undergraduate and as a research assistant. He recently completed his PhD at Harvard University in the lab of Yuhong Jiang doing research on attention and decision making. He is now a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University.

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Alan C.-N. Wong, Ph.D. (Former Graduate Student)

now Associate Professor of Psychology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

alanwong AT

Alan studied visual expertise in letter perception and subordinate-level object perception under the supervision of Isabel Gauthier and Tom Palmeri. His research training combined psychophysics, fMRI, ERP, and computational modeling. His primary interest has been on recovering the general principles in perceptual learning and in the organization of our visual object perception system. Alan is now on the faculty at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

vita | web page | academic family tree

Bram Zandbelt, Ph.D. (Former Postdoctoral Fellow)

now Postdoctoral Fellow at the Donders Centre in The Netherlands

bramzandbelt AT

Bram earned his PhD from Utrecht University where he investigated the neural mechanisms of proactive and reactive inhibition in healthy human subjects and patients with schizophrenia. He is worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Jeff Schall, Gordon Logan, and Thomas Palmeri on computational models of response time and executive control. He is broadly interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying executive control of actions, with an emphasis on mechanisms involved in response inhibition. To address these issues, he uses versions of the stop-signal task and employs diverse techniques, including brain imaging, brain stimulation, and computational modeling. Bram is now a working in Roshan Cools’ lab at the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour  in The Netherlands.

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