Stefan Van der Stigchel - Principal Investigator

  • Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the department of Experimental Psychology at Utrecht University
  • Director of the Helmholtz Insitute
  • President of the Dutch Society for Brain & Cognition
  • Recipient of VENI, VIDI and VICI NWO grant, and ERC Consolidator grant
  • Author of popular science books in Dutch about visual attention: 'Zo werkt aandacht', 'Concentration' and 'Beter Leren Kijken'

Surya Gayet

How is the continuous influx of visual information on our retinae transformed into a comprehensible visual world that is useful to behavior, and that ultimately leads to a conscious visual experience? To address this question I combine neuroimaging, computational, physiological, and behavioral methods. Keywords describing my research interests include "visual perception", "visual working memory", "consciousness", and "attentional selection".

Samson Chota

Visual working memory processes have almost exclusively been studied under conditions where the to-be remembered stimuli were absent. In most cases however, visual stimuli stay accessibly to perception. On top of that, recent electro-physiological findings suggest that WM processes are also engaged for stimuli that are still in view. My goal is to use EEG and MVPA to investigate what information is maintained in WM when stimuli are perceptually accessible and test which factors can influence these representations.

Alex Hoogerbrugge

Uncovering, at any given time, how many items are present in someone’s (visual) working memory is a complex task. In my PhD, I will investigate whether computational cognitive models can give insight into working memory usage based on gaze behaviour – and how experimental manipulations affect this usage of working memory. Additionally, I will investigate whether various patient populations use different working memory strategies as compared to healthy controls, by seeing whether machine learning models can dissociate between the two groups based on gaze behaviour and memory usage.

Andre Sahakian

Hi there! I am Andre. My interest goes out to human consciousness. Especially how our brain tricks us into experiencing a rich and vivid visual world, while the input from the eyes is mostly blurry and we are pretty much blind to anything we do not attend. Questions like “How do we represent the visual world around us?” or “What visual information do we store from one moment to the next?” keep me up at night (figuratively). During my PhD I will conduct behavioral experiments in virtual environments to better understand how visual working memory is used in our daily lives.

Sanne Böing

How do patients with acquired brain injury employ their visual working memory to efficiently perceive and use visual information? Do classical neuropsychological tasks tell the whole story? During my PhD I will try to find out whether eye movement behavior can give insights in underlying (working) memory deficits after acquired brain injury, and whether this relates to findings on tasks used in standard neuropsychological assessment.

Damian Koevoet

Traditionally, the pupil has been thought to exclusively play a role in low-level visual processing. However, accumulating evidence has shown that the pupil also reflects cognitive processing such as visual working memory (VWM). In my research I focus on investigating the trade-off between internal VWM storage and external sampling using pupillometry. Pupillometry allows for tracking VWM content, which may help to identify individual strategies during natural VWM tasks.

Luzi Xu

I am interested in visual awareness and relevant visual processes including statistical learning, visual attention, and visual working memory. During my Ph.D., I will conduct a series of experiments to investigate how statistical learning influences human perception at the unconscious level. My toolbox includes Matlab/R, eye tracking, and EEG.

Jeffrey Harris

Hi, I am a researcher passionate about learning how humans experience the virtual world, why it sometimes feels as real as the physical world and how we can use that feeling for practical purposes. In my PhD I focus on the concept of presence, which is defined as "the feeling of being in a virtual environment". My work revolves around finding ways in which we can objectively measure presence as well as understanding which factors influence the experience of presence. I work with virtual and augmented reality and eye tracking while using various statistical analysis approaches.

Rutger Stuut

Little is known about bridge/lock operators’ eye movements during actual operation. As an external PhD candidate I aim to better understand eye gaze behaviour by analysing operators’ eye tracking recordings. From a practical perspective, careful studies of eye gaze can for instance inform what kind of visual information is required during their task execution. This could in turn inform about the (re)design of their professional workspace or work process. From a theoretical perspective, the research can give insights into eye gaze behaviour in professional settings.

Lab alumni

Former PhD students
Paul Zerr
Yun Ding
Jasper Fabius
Rudmer Menger
Martijn Schut

Erik Oudman
Joris Elshout
Nathan van der Stoep