Perception and Attention
Faculty: Professors Feldman, Hafter, Ivry, Malik, Palmer, and Rosch.
Preattentive Visual Processing:Professors Malik is studying what kinds of information the visual system can process simultaneously in all parts of the visual field. Texture discrimination, effortless visual "pop-out" effects, and memory for unattended visual information are paradigms used to understand these largely preconscious visual processes. Attentional processes then are used to integrate and synthesize this information into perceptual objects in specific locations.
Frames of Reference: Professors Feldman and Palmer are investigating why many visual properties of objects (such as their shape, orientation, and motion) are not perceived in absolute terms, but relative to some larger surrounding frame of reference. One common example of misperceptions due to such reference frame effects is perceiving the moon to move through a cloud, when it is actually the cloud that is moving past the moon. These researchers are studying the way in which different kinds of frames operate at different levels of visual structure, and the properties of each.
Object and Event Perception: Professors Feldman, Malik, Palmer, and Rosch are examining how various kinds of visual information (such as color, texture, shape, orientation, and so on) are integrated into the perception of coherent objects and events through the use of attention, the extraction of image structure, and the construction of descriptions in perceptual memory. These descriptions of objects are then used to the categories of objects, such as chairs, books, people, and so forth.