Prof. Indre Viskontas

Indre Viskontas

Assistant Professor

Full-Time Faculty

(415) 422-6151 Kalmanovitz Hall G55

Biography

Combining a passion for music with scientific curiosity, Professor Indre Viskontas works at the intersection of art and science. Her scientific work has been featured in Oliver Sacks’ book Musicophilia, Nautilus, and Discover Magazine. She has also written for MotherJones.com, American Scientist, and other publications. Her first book, How Music Can Make You Better, was published by Chronicle Books in April 2019, and within a week was the best-selling music appreciation book on Amazon. She’s appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and NPR, and hosts the popular science podcast Inquiring Minds.

In addition, Dr. Viskontas is a working opera singer. Her courses center on the relationship between the brain and human behavior, including myths and mysteries of the brain as well as how technology is shaping how we think. Her approach is Socratic, as asking questions helps students cultivate their own thinking.

Education
PhD, Cognitive Neuroscience, University of California - Los Angeles
MM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
BSc, University of Toronto
Research
Learning and Memory
Musical Training
Creativity
Reasoning
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Selected Publications

Viskontas, I.V. (2017). "Training to be Creative: Mindset, Motivation and Deliberate Practice." In Cambridge Handbook of the Neuroscience of Creativity, eds. Vartanian and Jung. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Viskontas, I.V. (2017). "The Challenges of Changing Minds: Why Pseudoscience Persists." In Pseudoscience: The Conspiracy Against Science, eds. Kaufmann & Kaufmann. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Viskontas, I.V., Knowlton, B.J. & Fried, I. (2016). "Responses of Neurons in the Medial Temporal Lobe During Encoding and Recognition of Face-Scene Pairs." Neuropsychologia, 90, 200-209.

Marlow, C.A., Viskontas, I.V., Matlin, A., Boydston, C., Boxer, A. & Taylor, R.P. (2015). "Temporal Structure of Human Gaze Dynamics Is Invariant During Free Viewing." PloS One, 10(9), e0139379.

Viskontas, I.V. & Lee, S. E. (2015). "The Creation of Art in the Setting of Dementia." In Art, Aesthetics and the Brain, eds. Joseph Huston & Marco Nadal, et al. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 357-372.

Viskontas, I.V. & Miller, B.L. (2013). "Art and Dementia: How Degeneration of Some Brain Regions can Lead to New Creative Impulses." In The Neuroscience of Creativity, eds. A. Bristol, O. Vartanian & J. Kaufmann. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 115-132.

Kapur, N., Cole, J., Manly, T., Viskontas, I.V., Ninteman, A., Hasher, L. & Pascual-Leone, A. (2013). "Positive Clinical Neuroscience – Explorations in Positive Neurology." The Neuroscientist, 19(4), 354-369.

Howard, M.W, Viskontas, I.V., Shankar, K.H. & Fried, I. (2012). "Ensembles of Human MTL Neurons ‘Jump Back in Time’ in Response to a Repeated Stimulus." Hippocampus, 22(9), 1833-1847.

Viskontas, I.V. (2012). "Mapping Memories in the Medial Temporal Lobe: Contributions from Single-Neuron Recordings in Patients with Epilepsy." Proceedings of the Epilepsy and Memory: the State of the Art Meeting in Dartington, 2009. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Viskontas, I.V., Boxer, A.L., Fesenko, J., Matlin, A., Heuer, H.W., Mirsky, J. & Miller, B.L. (2011). "Visual Search Patterns in Semantic Dementia Show Paradoxical Facilitation of Binding Processes." Neuropsychologia, 49(3), 468-478.

Miller, B.L. & Viskontas, I.V. (2011). "Introduction: Elucidating the Neural Basis of the Self." Neurocase, 17(3), 189.

Mirsky, J.B., Heuer, H.W., Jafari, A., Kramer, J.H., Schenk, A.K., Viskontas, I.V., Miller, B.L. & Boxer, A.L. (2011). "Anti-Saccade Performance Predicts Executive Function and Brain Structure in Normal Elders." Cognitive Behavior and Neurology, 24(2), 50-58.

Viskontas, I.V. & Miller, B.L. (2011). "Paradoxical Creativity and Adjustment in Neurological Conditions." In The Paradoxical Brain, ed. N. Kapur. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 221-233.

Greenberg, D.L., Ogar, J.M., Viskontas, I.V., Gorno Tempini, M.L., Miller, B. & Knowlton, B.J. (2010). "Multimodal Cuing of Autobiographical Memory in Semantic Dementia." Neuropsychology, 25(1), 98-104.

Viskontas, I.V., Quiroga, R.Q. & Fried, I. (2009). "Human Medial Temporal Lobe Neurons Respond Preferentially to Personally Relevant Images." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(50), 21,329-21,334.

Viskontas, I.V., Carr, V.A., Engel, S.A. & Knowlton, B.J. (2009). "The Neural Correlates of Recollection: Hippocampal Activation Declines as Episodic Memory Fades. Hippocampus,19(3), 265-272.

Viskontas, I.V., Carr, V.A., Engel, S.A. & Knowlton, B.J. (2009). "Neural Activity in the Hippocampus and Perirhinal Cortex during Encoding Is Associated with the Durability of Episodic Memory." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(11), 2,652-2,662.

Viskontas, I.V., Papatriantyfallou, J., Papageorgiou, S., Miller, B.L., Pavlic, D., Bingol, A. & Yener, G. (2009). "Difficulties in Detecting Behavioral Symptoms of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Across Cultures." Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders, 23(1), 77-81.

Miller, B.L. & Viskontas, I.V. (2009). "Memory Loss." In Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, ed. S.L. Hauser. McGraw Hill Press, online.

Viskontas, I.V. & Miller, B.L. (2009). "Frontotemporal Dementia." In Behavioral Neurology of Dementia, eds. B.L. Miller & B. Boeve. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 45-55.

Geschwind, M.A., Haman, A. & Viskontas, I.V. (2009). "Frontotemporal Dementia." In Behavioral Neurology of Dementia, eds. B.L. Miller & B. Boeve. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 345-366.

Viskontas, I.V. (2008). "Advances in Memory Research: Single-Neuron Recordings from the Human Medial Temporal Lobe Aid our Understanding of Declarative Memory." Current Opinion in Neurology, 21(6), 662-668.

Krawczyk, D.C, Morrison, R.G., Viskontas, I.V., Holyoak, K.J., Chow, T.W., Mendez, M.F., Miller, B.L. & Knowlton, B.J. (2008). "Distraction During Relational Reasoning: The Role of Prefrontal Cortex in Interference Control." Neuropsychologia, 46, 2,020-2,032.

Rosen, H., & Viskontas, I.V. (2008). "Cortical Neuroanatomy and Cognition." In Handbook of Clinical Neurology: Neuropsychology and Behavior, eds. B.L. Miller & G. Goldenberg. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier, 88:41-60.

Viskontas, I.V. & Fried, I. (2008). "Imaging Techniques: Human Depth Electrodes." In New Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, ed. L.R. Squire. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier, online.

Viskontas, I.V., Possin, K.L. & Miller, B.L. (2007). "Symptoms of Frontotemporal Dementia Provide Insights into Orbitofrontal Cortex Function and Social Behavior." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1121, 528-549.

Carr, V. & Viskontas, I.V. (2007). "A Unique Role for the Hippocampus in Recollecting the Past and Remembering the Future." Brain and Behavioral Sciences, 30(3), 319-320.

Ekstrom, A.D., Viskontas, I.V., Kahana, M.J., Jacobs, J., Upchurch, K., Bookheimer, S. & Fried, I. (2007). "Contrasting Roles of Neural Firing and Local Field Potentials in Human Memory." Hippocampus, 17(8), 606-617.

Viskontas, I.V., Ekstrom, A.D., Wilson, C.L. & Fried, I. (2007). "Characterizing Interneuron and Pyramidal Cells in the Human Medial Temporal Lobe in Vivo." Hippocampus, 17(1), 49-57.

Viskontas, I.V. & Miller, B.L. (2007). "Frontotemporal Dementia." Continuum: Dementia, American Academy of Neurology, 13(2), 87-108.

Viskontas, I.V., Knowlton, B.J., Steinmetz, P.N. & Fried, I. (2006). "Differences in Mnemonic Processing by Neurons in the Human Hippocampus and Parahippocampal Region." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18(10), 1,654-1,662.

Viskontas, I.V. & Holyoak, K.J. (2006). "Mechanisms of Fluid Cognition: Relational Integration and Inhibition." Brain and Behavioral Sciences, 29(2),141-142.

Sha, S.J., Hou, C., Viskontas, I.V. & Miller, B.L. (2006). "Are Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, and Corticobasal Degeneration Distinct Diseases?" Nature Reviews: Clinical Practice Neurology, 2(12), 658-665.

Bristol, A.S. & Viskontas, I.V. (2006). "Dynamic Processes within Associative Memory Stores: Piecing together the Neural Basis of Creative Cognition." In Creativity, Knowledge and Reason, eds. J.C. Kaufman & J. Baer. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 60-80.

Viskontas, I.V., Holyoak, K.J. & Knowlton, B.J. (2005). "Relational Integration in Older Adults." Thinking & Reasoning, 11(4), 390-410.

Viskontas, I.V., Morrison, R.G., Holyoak, K.J., Hummel, J.E. & Knowlton, B.J. (2004). "Relational Integration, Inhibition and Reasoning in Older Adults." Psychology & Aging, 19(4), 1-11.

Knowlton, B.J. & Viskontas, I.V. (2003). "Retention Systems of the Brain: Evidence from Neuropsychological Patients." Brain and Behavioral Sciences, 26(6), 743-744.

Viskontas, I.V. & Knowlton, B.J. (2003). "Procedural Learning in Humans." In Learning and Memory, Second Edition, ed. J.H. Byrne. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference.

Viskontas, I.V., McAndrews, M.P. & Moscovitch, M. (2002). "Memory for Famous People in Patients with Unilateral Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and Excisions." Neuropsychology, 16(4), 472-480.

Viskontas, I.V., McAndrews, MP. & Moscovitch, M. (2000). "Remote Episodic Memory Deficits in Patients with Unilateral Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and Excisions." The Journal of Neuroscience, 20(15), 5,853-5,857.

Awards & Distinctions

Grantee, Germanacos Foundation, 2014 & 2016

Fellow, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, 2012

Hellman Fellow, UCSF, 2009-2011

Graduate Division Valedictorian, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 2008

McBean Family Foundation Fellow, UCSF, 2007-2009

Psychology Department Doctoral Valedictorian, UCLA, 2006

Gengerelli Dissertation Prize in Psychology, UCLA, 2006

Charles and Sue Young Outstanding Graduate Student Award, UCLA, 2006

UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship, 2005

Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award, UCLA, 2004

Julie-Payette Research Fellowship, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), 2001-2005

Dissertation Research Grant, Sigma Xi, 2004

American Psychological Association CODGOP Award, 2002

UCLA Affiliates Margaret and Charles Pollok Scholarship, 2002

Hanson Distinguished Service Award, Graduate Students’ Association, 2002

Ursula Mandel Fellowship, UCLA 2001

Distinguished Achievement Fellowship, UCLA, 2000