Vision and Cognition

We study high-level visual perception and its neural processing in the human brain. This research boils down to three core areas:

Bi-Stable Perception, Grouping, Scene Segmentation, Colour Constancy

When perception deviates from the physical visual input, it opens a unique way to study visual consciousness, decision making and perceptual grouping. We use illusions, bi-stable stimuli and colour vision to examine these processes.

Visual Motion, Space and Scene Processing

Despite the incessant motion of eyes, head and body we perceive the world as stable. We examine how the brain integrates visual signals with body-related signals (efference copies of muscle-movements, proprioceptive and vestibular signals) to provide perceptual stability. Second, we study how the brain encodes and updates our position in the environment, and how it reconstructs the 3D-space around us based on visual input. - Motion, space, and memory are tightly interlinked.

Emotions and Dynamic Face Perception

Most social information is conveyed through visual perception of faces and human bodies. We study how dynamic changes of facial expressions are processed, and how visual and affective brain regions exchange information.

Methods

Stimuli

In order to achieve the above aims, we use a range of visual stimuli and tasks. The stimuli include highly controlled stimuli (such as 3D-dotfields), virtual reality, and natural movies. We also use special paradigms such as binocular rivalry and visual illusions in an attempt to dissociate pure processing from processing related to conscious perception, attentional control and decision making.

Patients

We are highly interested in understanding the mechanistic reasons that can lead to neglect, autism, ADHD, or schizophrenia. We therefore collaborate with clinicians (Neurologists and Psychiatrists) and examine their patients using our paradigms - purely behaviourally or also using fMRI.

Brain imaging: fMRI and EEG

fMRI data (with 3 Tesla and 9.4 Tesla field strengths for whole-brain and ultra-high resolution imaging) are analyzed using standard statistical approaches as well as using multivariate statistics and support vector machine classification techniques to gain insights into information content that may not lead to net signal changes.

We additionally (and sometimes concurrently with fMRI) record EEG (64 channels, active electrodes) to gain insights on the temporal sequence of processing, as well as into the coding of information in particular frequency-bands or in power-phase-relations. 

Brain stimulation: TMS and tCS

Finally, we use neuronavigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial current stimulation (tCS) to disturb perception, attentional processes and associated decision making, in order to test the causal involvement of brain regions or processes identified using non-invasive techniques.

Throughout most experiments we use eye tracking (EyeLink or Arrington).


Group Leader and Further Information

Andreas Bartels
Vision and Cognition
Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience
Otfried-Mueller-Str. 25
72076 Tübingen
Germany

Phone: +49 (0)7071 29-89168
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