Knowing where things are is crucially important. You have to know where a coffee cup is before you can grasp it, or where other people are heading so you can avoid bumping into them. The positions of objects are fundamental to our perception of the world.
A second fundamental purpose of perception is the recognition of objects and scenes. Recognition is a significant challenge for the visual system because natural scenes are cluttered and crowded. Our lab studies two sides of this challenge: how clutter impairs object recognition, and how the clutter itself is perceived as an ensemble.
The third fundamental challenge of perception is stability - perceiving objects and scenes as having stable, continuous identities despite changes in lighting, viewpoint, discontinuities, and noise. Our recent work demonstrates the existence of a continuity field, a mechanism that promotes the perception of object stability.