Kara Blacker, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Science of Learning Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences and Department of Neurology. During her graduate work, Kara studied how expertise influences visual perception, attention and memory. Specifically, she investigated how experience with the complex visual environments present in action video games serves to enhance visual working memory ability.
In her postdoctoral work, Kara has been studying the neural basis of working memory for different types of visuospatial information. Working memory is the mental workspace that underlies a variety of cognitive abilities and is highly predictive of educational success and other real world skills. By understanding the neural mechanisms that support working memory, Kara hopes to understand how improving working memory through training can benefit other cognitive skills. A long-term goal of Kara’s research is to understand the mechanisms of cognitive training in order to optimize and tailor training programs for specific populations, such as individuals with ADHD.