Heida Maria Sigurdardottir, PhD

Iceland | Fulbright S&T Alumna 2007 | Brown University | Neuroscience

heidamariasigurdardottirHeida Maria Sigurdardottir is a doctoral candidate in neuroscience at Brown, where she strives to understand how the brain makes sense of what we see, and how it uses visual input to guide our actions effectively.  Her work should therefore help to resolve a current debate concerning the way the brain processes visual information.  It has long been believed that there are two main visual pathways in the brain: one dedicated to the perception of shapes and objects, and a second dedicated to processing spatial information and guiding actions.  However, this classical view has now been challenged by the finding that, in some brain areas, the second pathway seems also to respond selectively to different shapes.  Heida Maria is now investigating the origins and plasticity of this puzzling shape-selective brain activity.

A native of Iceland, Heida Maria received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Iceland, where she carried out research on the human visual system.  She subsequently worked for two years at the Icelandic Web of Science, a non-profit organization devoted to the public understanding of science and technology.  Heida Maria is the president and co-founder of Res Extensa, the Association for Mind, Brain, and Behavior.