Vision and Perception: A Conversation with Kalanit Grill-Spector

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Open Agenda Publishing, Oct 1, 2020 - Medical

This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Kalanit Grill-Spector, Professor in Psychology and the Stanford Neurosciences Institute at Stanford University. Kalanit Grill-Spector’s is a vision specialist with a background in computational neuroscience. Her research examines how the brain processes visual information and perceives it. This extensive conversation explores how functional imaging techniques are used to visualize the brain in action and how it functions to recognize people, objects and places. Kalanit also discusses 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.

Further topics include Kalanit Grill-Spector’s discovery of a particular face-selective region in the brain, her groundbreaking research related to the neural processing of this particular region and the fascinating experiments that she has been involved with that suggest that there is indeed a strong causal link between that region and our facial recognition perception.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Facing Facts, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

I. Neuroimaging - A transformative technology

II. Discovering Her Passion - A glimpse of the joy of vision 

III. Vision Unveiled - Our current understanding

IV. Experimental Evidence - Many discoveries; even more to do

V. A Startling Result - Stumbling upon specialized hardware

VI. Neuroplasticity - Assessing flexibility

VII. The Road Ahead - Better measurements, better models, deeper understanding

About Ideas Roadshow Conversations Series: 

This book is part of an expanding series of 100+ Ideas Roadshow conversations, each one presenting a wealth of candid insights from a leading expert through a focused yet informal setting to give non-specialists a uniquely accessible window into frontline research and scholarship that wouldn't otherwise be encountered through standard lectures and textbooks. For other books in this series visit our website (


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Experimental Evidence
A Startling Result
The Road Ahead

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About the author (2020)

Howard Burton, the founder and creator of Ideas Roadshow and Ideas on Film, holds a PhD in theoretical physics and an MA in philosophy. He was the Founding Executive Director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) from 1999-2007. During his time at PI, he also developed an extensive outreach programme for teachers, students and the general public. His experiences at developing the research and outreach mandates of the institute were described in the book, First Principles: Building Perimeter Institute, featuring a foreword by Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose.

Ideas Roadshow is an award-winning initiative, recipient of the London Book Fair International Excellence Award in 2018. Howard has hosted and filmed in-depth conversations with more than 100 of the world’s brightest thinkers, including 3 Nobel Laureates, across the arts, sciences, sports and games. 

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