3210 Tolman Hall
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720
I'm a postdoc in David Whitney's Perception & Action lab in UC Berkeley's Psychology Department. My research focuses on predictive localization of objects in the visual system.
Every day we use our sense of vision to see and interact with our environment. Oftentimes, the things we want to interact with are moving (for example when we try to catch a ball) or we ourselves are moving (when walking or driving). It is essential to have accurate information about where things are to interact successfully with them. Despite our nervous system working with relatively slow "hardware", we excel at these tasks like no artificial system. It is not entirely understood how our brains achieve this.
A number of fascinating visual illusions demonstrate that the brain tries to compensate for delays in the input it receives from the eyes (and from other senses). For example in the flash-lag effect, a moving object that is perfectly aligned with a flash appears to be ahead in space. Here, the brain can predict the position of the moving object, but not that of the flash, and therefore we perceive mismatched positions.
In the flash-drag effect a stationary flash appears as "dragged" by nearby motion; physically aligned flashes are perceived as misaligned, when they are surrounded by motion in opposite directions. In this case, the flash is interpreted as part of the background motion, and its perceived location is biased by predictive localization. (See here for another powerful demo based on work by Anna Kosovicheva and Stuart Anstis.)
In my research in the Whitney Lab, I use behavioral experiments (psychophysics), brain imaging (fMRI), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to try to unravel the mystery of visual localization in dynamic scenes. I am also collaborating with Richard Ivry on a project on predictive localization in patients with brain damage in the cerebellum, and with Stephen Heinen at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco on predictive control of eye movements.
As an undergraduate I studied Cognitive Science at the University of Osnabrück. I worked towards my DPhil with Romi Nijhawan at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK. During this time I visited the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt and collaborated with Lars Muckli on fMRI of the visual cortex. Since 2009, I have lived in California to work in David Whitney's lab, first at the Center for Mind and Brain at UC Davis, and now at UC Berkeley.