Lauren Spano

PhD Student
Cognitive and Visual Functions


Boston, Massachusetts and Enfield, Connecticut.


For 4 years before coming to Berkeley, I was a full-time research assistant at Schepens Eye Research Institute through Harvard Medical School in Boston. I worked with Drs. Eli Peli and Alex Bowers studying visual rehabilitation through the use of psychophysics, head- and eye-tracking, and behavioral methods in virtual environments. Before that, I graduated with a BA in Psychology from University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I published a paper on the visual system of jumping spiders with Dr. Elizabeth Jakob.


Coming to Berkeley was an easy decision for someone aiming to study all aspects of the visual system while being immersed in one of the best academic and cultural environments the US has to offer.


Broadly speaking, my interests include learning and plasticity, visual information processing, visual consciousness, and attention, as well as how these things are affected by intrinsic (i.e., motivation, boredom, expectations) and extrinsic (i.e., distractions) factors. More specifically and in the near future, I am eager to explore how video games and VR environments may be used to facilitate learning and modulate cognitive and visual deficits.


For now, I am looking forward to being part of a group of intelligent, passionate people working to make meaningful contributions to our collective understanding of vision and the brain. Also, I’ve always wanted to write an epic science-fiction comic series. That’s high on my bucket list.


My favorite hobby, by far, is collecting new hobbies. I’m characteristically drawn to things that are novel and challenging, so more than anything else I enjoy the process of learning something new. Beyond that–I’m basically a big, giggling child, so I love games, activities, and toys of all kinds. Board games, video games, yo-yo’s, Rubik’s cube, etc.


Lab Rotations
350 Minor Hall