Professor of Behavioural Sciences
Departments of Psychology, Biology, & School of computing
“How can a stream of noisy nerve cell excitations possibly be turned into the coherent and predictable perception of a "reality"?"
Research: My research is concerned with questions about the Biology and Psychology of perceptual processes, that is, how the brain transforms the incoming flow of sensory data into the reality of objects and events. I worked with intelligent organisms such as invertebrates and birds in the past. Today, most of my projects are concerned with visual perception in humans.
The methods used in my lab involve psychophysics and brain imaging, but also computational modeling which takes us into areas such as image understanding, computer graphics, computer vision and machine learning.
Teaching: “What is real?” asks Morpheus, setting up the central topic of the movie Matrix. Plato asked pretty much the same question some 2000 years ago. Learning about Sensation and Perception, about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, helps you ponder about one of the oldest questions there is. I try to make my students think by asking them to solve riddles which often come in the form of visual illusions and other surprising perceptual phenomena.
Course topics: Sensation and perception, Vision in organisms and machines.