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Susana Martinez Conde

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Nationality  Spanish, American
Name  Susana Martinez-Conde
Role  Writer

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Fields  Neuroscience, Science Writing
Institutions  Harvard Medical School, University College London, Barrow Neurological Institute, State University of New York
Known for  Illusions, art and visual perception, attention and awareness, Books: Sleights of Mind
Notable awards  Science Educator of the Year - Society for Neuroscience
Books  Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions
Alma mater  Complutense University of Madrid, University of Santiago de Compostela, Harvard University
Institution  Harvard Medical School, University College London

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Susana Martinez-Conde (born October 1, 1969) is a neuroscientist and science writer. She is a professor of ophthalmology, neurology, and physiology & pharmacology at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, where she directs the Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience. She directed laboratories previously at the Barrow Neurological Institute and University College London. Her research bridges perceptual, cognitive, and oculomotor neuroscience. She is best known for her studies on illusions, eye movements and perception, neurological disorders, and attentional misdirection in stage magic.


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Early life and education

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Martinez-Conde was born in 1969 in A Coruña, Spain, to a merchant sailor father and a stay-at-home mother. Her maternal grandfather survived the sinking of the Castillo de Olite in 1939, during the Spanish Civil War.

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She majored in experimental psychology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 1992, and obtained her PhD in medicine and surgery from the neuroscience program at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela in 1996. She received her postdoctoral training from the Nobel Laureate Prof. David Hubel at Harvard Medical School,


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She became an instructor in neurobiology at Harvard Medical School in 2001. She then became lecturer in ophthalmology and laboratory director at University College London. In 2004, she returned to the United States as an assistant professor, and later, associate professor, at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, where she directed the Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience. In 2014, she moved to Brooklyn, New York, as professor of ophthalmology, neurology, and physiology & pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, where she directs the Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience.

Scientific research

Much of Martinez-Conde's research focuses on how our brains create perceptual and cognitive illusions in everyday life. She has studied the Rotating Snakes illusion, Isia Leviant's Enigma illusion, Victor Vasarely's Nested Squares illusion, Troxler fading and other types of perceptual fading illusions, and various perceptual and attentional illusions in stage magic. Martinez-Conde created the Best Illusion of the Year Contest in 2005, and writes the Illusions column for Scientific American: Mind.

Martinez-Conde studies the effects of attention on visual perception, and the neural bases of attention and visual awareness. Her research on visual awareness has concentrated on the neural bases of perceptual fading, visual masking, and attentional misdirection in stage magic. Martinez-Conde has pioneered the study of stage magic techniques from a neuroscience perspective. She has proposed that neuroscientists and magicians share many overlapping interests, and that both disciplines should collaborate with one another to mutual advantage.

Martinez-Conde has researched the connection between art and visual science, as well as the mechanisms underlying the perception of art. She has studied the neural bases of kinetic illusions in Op art, and discovered novel visual illusions based on the artworks of Victor Vasarely.

Martinez-Conde has researched the interactions between eye movements, vision and perception, both in the healthy brain and in neural disease. She investigates how small, involuntary eye movements called microsaccades affect perception and visual processing. She also studies how neurological disease affects eye movements in order to gain a better comprehension of the disorders and aid their differential and early diagnosis.


Susana Martinez-Conde Wikipedia

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