Jeffrey Vadala

Director, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence Lab, University of Pennsylvania

Jeffrey Vadala is actively involved in integrating virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies into scientific research, focusing on fields such as neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, and medical sciences. As the leader of the Penn Neurology VR Laboratory, his work facilitates the use of VR and AR by researchers, allowing them to explore human behavior, cognitive functions, and social interactions in both real and simulated environments. This effort not only broadens the scope of scientific inquiry but also encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, enhancing the understanding of human experience and perception through the use of technology.

His work in artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze subjective experiences quantitatively is informed by his background in anthropological archaeology. Vadala earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida, where his research focused on how architectural and environmental configurations at the Cerro Maya site in Belize influenced human perceptions and societal structures. This approach underscores the importance of blending architectural and archaeological insights with technological advancements to better understand the complex interactions between humans and their environments.

Vadala’s interests extend beyond his immediate research to include philosophy, music, video production, and surreal humor. These diverse pursuits contribute to a multidisciplinary approach, highlighting the value of creativity alongside scientific rigor. His work not only provides insights into how our surroundings influence cognitive processes and cultural evolution but also emphasizes the significance of adopting a comprehensive approach to research. Vadala’s efforts illustrate the benefits of merging different disciplines to gain a fuller understanding of the human condition across history.

Exploring the Human Mind through AI, VR, and Neuroscience at Penn’s Virtual Reality Lab