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Two of the most fascinating, but elusive problems in psychology are how the brain codes information and the nature of consciousness. One way to make these topics more tractable is to refocus their scope and approach them from a domain that is well understood. Using vision as a testing ground, my research aims to find basic principles of neural representation and of awareness that may help inform our understanding of the larger, harder problems. By studying the how scenes and objects are represented in the brain, I have learned that, rather than information about their color and shape being statically coded, representations of these dimensions are enhanced when the dimensions are relevant to the task. By using neural decoding techniques, I can use these neural representations to predict, for a given individual, the saliency of color and shape information in other behavioral tasks. I have also investigated whether there are different neural signals corresponding to implicit and explicit visual memories. By studying visual awareness, I’ve found that our current conscious experience can be determined by very subtle, unnoticed information. Also, lapses in awareness – such as when you miss a salient event when your attention was otherwise engaged – is just like being blind to that event, and (disturbingly) can happen multiple times, even when participants are told to expect a new salient event. Lastly, I’ve discovered that our conscious experience can be influenced by language: we can be made aware of something simply by hearing the word for it.