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Current Research

Our eyes serve many purposes, but none is more important than guiding the things that we do. For example, vision informs the movements of our hands, limbs and eyes as we manipulate and interact with the objects around us. William James understood this very well when he proposed that the whole machinery of the brain has a single goal: "To take information from the environment and generate behavior best suited to that information." (Principles of Psychology, 1890)
To generate what James called the best-suited behavior, the human brain performs innumerable complex computations on the information provided by the eyes. That information is crucial for appropriate actions, but it alone is not enough. The eye and brain must also exploit memories of what we saw previously, as well as expectations of what we will most likely encounter in the future.
The laboratory recognizes that human vision is a neural process whose role is central in many important cognitive functions.

Currently, lab members are

  • studying how we remember, forget, or mis-remember what we see
    (click to see demonstrations of our visual memory tests)
  • exploring visual memory and perception in aging
  • examining perception of motion, particularly auditory and cognitive influences on visual motion
    (click to see demonstrations of these effects)
  • working to understand visual and memory-guided wayfinding and social interactions in virtual and real environments
  • EEG/ERP studies of the neural circuits in cognitive control of visual memory
  • studying how we remember what we hear. The experiments use moving ripple sounds, complex, auditory analogues to stimuli in our visual memory experiments. Click for sample stimuli.
The laboratory's research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and by CELEST, a National Science Foundation Science of Learning Center