Ken Nakayama

Ken Nakayama

Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology
Ken Nakayama

Research interests: Phenomenology of visual perception, visuo-motor coordination and its perception, and individual differences

Ken Nakayama received his BA from Haverford College and PhD from UCLA.  Originally trained in the field of visual electrophysiology in animals, he   subsequently developed research programs using human subjects, applying the broad techniques of visual psychophysics to address many questions relating to perceptual organization, visual attention, visual memory, and face perception.  

He is interested in a wide variety of topics in human vision and has recently been exploring two topics. First is a set of projects concerning individual differences in visual perception and memory, especially related to face memory and recognition. He has identified otherwise normal persons who are severely deficient in recognizing faces (called developmental prosopagnosia). There are a significant number of such individuals, millions perhaps in the US alone, whose deficit leads to significant problems in daily life. Such individuals cluster in families. Comparing these individuals to normal subjects, his goal is to understand the cognitive architecture of face processing, as well as its neurological and genetic substrates. In a second independent effort, he is examining higher order aspects of visuo-motor control, a relatively unexplored topic that has the potential to throw light on otherwise hidden aspects of perception and cognition.

Contact Information

770 William James Hall
Assistant: Sarah Cohan (
p: 617-495-3843