Spring School & Symposium: High-Level Vision: from Mechanisms to Perception
Matariki Network Event

from: 2017, 10 Apr - 09:00 to: 2017, 13 Apr - 13:00

From April 10th to 13th, the CIN and the University of Tübingen are happy to invite you to our Matariki Spring School & Symposium on
"High-Level Vision: from Mechanisms to Perception"

The Spring School will combine symposium-like talk-and-discussion formats with student talk sessions, tutorials, and a social framing programme. Our venue will be the Institute for Medical Virology/Microbiology on Schnarrenberg (Elfriede-Aulhorn-Str. 6, Tübingen), where the talks, poster session and spring school courses will all take place.

The event is organised within the framework of the Matariki Network of Universities, as part of the network's 'Brain and Mind' focus field. Please find the programme below, or download it here.


Vision is the primary and by far the most important sense for human beings. Humans can capture a large amount of crucial information in a single visual glance within a fraction of a second – whether it is the complete scene-layout of the surrounding environment, the emotion of a person, or the recognition of a place, person or object from prior experience. Vision is hence the primary sensory entry point for perception of our environment, for action in it, for social cognition and for the formation and retrieval of memories, including spatial layouts for navigation.

The dominance of the visual sense is reflected in the functional anatomy of the human brain. Of the entire cortex, which is responsible for much of what makes us human, an estimated 40% are involved in visual processing, often in combination with other modalities, and bridging sensory processing with affective, motor, or memory-related processing. Recent advances in neuroimaging, electrophysiology, and patient work have brought to light a number of highly relevant insights into the function of cortical regions beyond the primary visual cortices. Among these are highly selective responses to faces, places, or objects, each with idiosyncratic connectivities with other brain structures. For example, ventral regions (those brain areas directly above the cerebellum) are thought to be involved in object vision, while regions in the parietal cortex (at the “top” of the brain) mediate the interaction with the external world. The latter likely allow us to deduce our head, body, and limb positions from what we see by converting the retinal reference frame to other reference frames. In all high-level visual function, memory plays an important role. This is obvious from the fact that concepts of objects such as “a chair” or “this table”, but also recognition of a specific person, emotion, or place one has seen before, are crucial for the successful interaction with and navigation in our world. Hence, nearly all visual processes engage an array of highly specialised regions that transform raw information into abstract forms. These then allow for memory formation, action, or social cognition.

In various fields that teach aspects of neuroscience, such as classes in biology and medicine, but also in psychology, there is a traditional focus on early sensory neural processes (such as the organisation of neurons in columns within the primary visual cortex), as well as on high-level behavioural evidence (such as human limits of identity recognition). We believe there is a huge benefit in bringing together experts in the behavioural and neural underpinnings of high-level visual function, visually guided action, and memory formation. This will allow young graduate and postgraduate students to get a unique insight into cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art knowledge about how our brains make sense of our complex visual world.


Monday, April 10th

09.00 – 09.30 Registration

09.30 – 09.45 Welcome Address

09.45 – 10.30 Brad Duchaine (Dartmouth College, USA): "A cumulative account of the neural basis of developmental prosopagnosia"

10.30 – 11.15 Anthony Atkinson (Durham University, UK): "Seeking out, fixating, and attending to features of emotionally expressive faces"

11.15 coffee break

11.45 – 12.30 Nikolaus Troje (Queen's University, Canada): "Body shape and body motion for the perception of people and their actions"

12.30 lunch break

14.00 – 14.45 Randy Flanagan (Queen's University, Canada): "Representing Objects When Interacting with the World"

14.45 – 15.30 Peter Tse (Dartmouth College, USA): "Mastering Our World: From Serial to Parallel Visual Search in a Week"

15.30 Poster Session

Tuesday, April 11th

09.30 – 10.15 Michael Herzog (Lausanne University, Switzerland): "A fresh, old look at vision"

10.15 – 11.00 Maria Olkkonen (Durham University, UK): "Learning and memory in colour perception"

11.15 coffee break

11.30 – 12.15 Lore Thaler (Durham University, UK): "Human echolocation for walking and navigation in real and virtual spaces"

12.15 lunch break

14.00 – 14.45 Monica Castelhano (Queen's University, Canada): "Unpacking Top-Down Influences of Real-World Scenes on Eye Movements and Attention"

14.45 – 15.30 Jordan Poppenk (Queen's University, Canada): "A Meaningful Smile: Facial Cognition as a Tool for Understanding Human Gist Memory"

15.30 Poster Session

Wednesday, April 12th

09.00 – 12.00 Anthony Atkinson (Durham University, UK): Tutorial I "What Are the Functions of the Amygdala in the Perception of Facially Expressed Emotions?"

12.00 – 14.00 Lunch Break

14.00 – 17.00 Peter Tse (Dartmouth College, USA): Tutorial II "What Makes the Human Mind Human? Ideas and Data concerning the Neural Basis of the Human Imagination"

Thursday, April 13th

09.30 – 12.30 Nikolaus Troje (Queen's University, Canada): Tutorial III "Modelling Human Motion"

12.30 Closing Address; Farewells


Participants in the spring school are expected to give a short talk or present a poster, and attend the three tutorials by our spring school tutors (A. Atkinson, P. Tse and N. Troje). We have limited capacity (20 student participants), so registration is necessary, but there is no fee, and the spring school is open to Master and PhD students as well as postdocs.

Registration requires your CV, a short letter of motivation, and an abstract of your talk and poster. Please register by April 3rd, 2017, via e-mail to Michael Bannert.

Visitors to the symposium part of the event (Monday & Tuesday) are welcome; talks are open to all and free of registration!


The spring school & symposium is organised by Michael Bannert, Andreas Bartels, Pablo Grassi and Paul Töbelmann, with financial support from the University of Tübingen and the CIN.

Location: Institute for Medical Virology/Microbiology, Elfriede-Aulhorn-Str. 6, Tübingen
  • Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience
  • University of Tübingen
Reseach Group: Vision and Cognition
Contact: Prof. Dr. Andreas Bartels