How does the biology of the visual pathways enable and limit visual perception?
One component of my research addresses questions about how visual stimuli are encoded in the visual pathways, and in turn how the encoding process relates to visual perception. I work on computational models of visually driven signals measured with several instruments, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) electroencephalography (EEG), and electrocorticography (ECoG), as well as behavior (psychophysics). We ask this question: given a description of a visual stimulus, can we predict the response measured at different points in the visual pathways? To do so requires a model of computations that are performed by the visual pathways. By building better models, we can begin to answer questions like, how does the visual system integrate inputs that are spread out over space and time? How do these computations determine what we can (and cannot) see? How does damage to the visual pathways limit and affect vision? What are the circuit properties that give rise to the fMRI and EEG signals in the visual cortex?
How does perceptual memory affect cognition and perception?
A second topic I investigate is how perceptual memory affects judgments. How do both recent and long-term perceptual memories change the way things look and the way one makes perceptual decisions? Current projects in collaboration with researchers at NYU and Stanford are examining how perceptual adaptation (recent experience) and exposure to certain kinds of environmental stimuli in childhood (long-term memory) affect judgments of visual stimuli.
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