Margaret R. Tarampi, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
University of Hartford


Margaret R. Tarampi, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at University of Hartford. Her research investigates the cognitive mechanisms that underlie spatial perception and cognition in select populations including visually impaired individuals and spatial experts such as dancers and architects. Other research interests include spatial thinking, perception and action, perspective taking, crowd dynamics, joint action, and kinesthetic imagery. She received her Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University and her Ph.D. in Cognition and Neural Science from University of Utah. Following her graduate training, she was a Junior Research Fellow in the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at University of California Santa Barbara and a Research Associate in the Center for Spatial Studies at UCSB. Her interests in the effect of architecture on quality of life brought her to the American Institute of Architects in Washington DC and then to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla CA. She is also an accomplished visual artist whose work has been displayed in exhibitions nationally and internationally.

Margaret has a long history with the neuroscience for architecture movement. From 2001-2004, she worked with John Eberhard, FAIA at the American Institute of Architects in Washington DC on the initial neuroscience and architecture investigations. Subsequently, she was a Research Associate with the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture and a Research Assistant at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She is currently an ANFA Advisory Board Member.

ANFA Themes

The field of architecture has accumulated a wealth of tacit knowledge on how architecture affects human experience, but the sciences can bolster this understanding through codified knowledge. The challenge for ANFA is threefold and evident in my research practice and approach:

1) Interdisciplinarity: The benefit of a true interdisciplinary approach cannot be stressed enough. Although the name “neuroscience for architecture” implies a unidirectional approach, the joint application of methods and knowledge of different disciplines to shared questions will result in each discipline gaining greater knowledge than from working alone.

2) Useful Level of Explanation: To understand the relationship between the brain, behavior and environment, a level of explanation should be used that is appropriate, useful and predictive for the question of interest. There are many approaches and methodologies at our disposal to understand the brain bases of behavior and cognition – neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, etc.

3) Practical Tools: Science-based tools and resources should be developed for architects and other design professionals. Tools could be seamlessly integrated into existing design processes and would allow for consideration of scientific findings without requiring the architect to interpret the science. Design decisions would remain in the hands of the architect.

Selected Publications

Rand, K. M., Tarampi, M. R., Creem-Regehr, S. H., & Thompson, W. B. (2012). The Influence of Object Ground Contact on Perception of Distance and Size under Severely Degraded Vision. Seeing and Perceiving, 25(5), 425-447.

Rand, K. M., Tarampi, M. R., Creem-Regehr, S. H., & Thompson, W. B. (2011). The Importance of a Visual Horizon for Distance Judgments under Severely Degraded Vision. Perception, 40(2), 143-154.

Tarampi, M. R., Creem-Regehr, S. H., & Thompson, W. B. (2010). Intact Spatial Updating with Severely Degraded Vision. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 72(1), 23-27.