2013 Symposia

The structure of visual working memory

Organizer: Wei Ji Ma, Baylor College of Medicine
Time/Room: Friday, May 10, 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Royal 1-3

Working memory is an essential component of perception, cognition, and action. The past eight years have seen a surge of activity aimed at understanding the structure of visual working memory. Is working memory performance limited by a maximum number of objects that can be remembered, or by the quality of the memories? Does context affect how we remember objects? This symposium brings together some of the leading thinkers in this field to discuss these central theoretical issues. More…

Contextual and top-down influences in vision

Organizer: Uri Polat, Tel-Aviv University
Time/Room: Friday, May 10, 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Royal 4-5

Vision is an active process. The properties of cortical neurons are subject to learning and to top-down influences of attention, expectation and perceptual task. Even at early cortical stages of visual processing neurons are subject to contextual influences that play a role in our vision, These influences are not fixed but are subject to experience, enabling neurons to encode learned information. In the symposia we will present anatomical, physiological and psychophysical data showing contextual effects in almost every visual task. We will show that visual perception involves both instantaneous pre-attentive and attentive processes that enhance the visual perception. More…

Active Perception: The synergy between perception and action

Organizer: Michele Rucci, Boston University & Eli Brenner, VU University
Time/Room: Friday, May 10, 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Royal 6-8

Visual perception is often studied in a passive manner without consideration of motor activity. Like many other species, however, humans are not passively exposed to the incoming flow of sensory data. They actively seek useful information by coordinating sensory processing with motor activity. In fact, behavior is a key component of sensory perception, as it enables control of sensory signals in ways that simplify perceptual tasks. This workshop will focus on recent findings which have further emphasized the tight link between perception and action. More…

ARVO@VSS: Visual Development

Organizers: Susana Chung, University of California, Berkeley and Anthony Norcia, Stanford University
Time/Room: Friday, May 10, 3:30 – 5:30 pm, Royal 1-3

Many visual functions continue to develop and reach adult levels only in late childhood. The successful development of normal visual functions requires ‘normal’ visual experience. The speakers of this symposium will review the time courses of normal visual development of selected visual functions, and discuss the consequences of abnormal visual experience during development on these visual functions. The prospect of recovering visual functions in adults who experienced abnormal visual experience during development will also be discussed, along with the advances made in the assessment of visual functions in children with abnormal visual development due to damage to the visual cortex and the posterior visual pathways. More…

Decoding and the spatial scale of cortical organization

Organizer: Jeremy Freeman, New York University; Elisha P. Merriam, Departments of Psychology and Neural Science, New York University; and Talia Konkle, Department of Psychology, Harvard University
Time/Room: Friday, May 10, 3:30 – 5:30 pm, Royal 4-5

With functional neuroimaging data we have incredible access to a rich landscape of neural responses, but this access comes with challenging questions: Over what expanse of cortex is information meaningfully clustered — in other words, over what scales should we expect neural information to be organized? How should inferences about cortical organization take into account the complex nature of the imaging signal, which reflects neural and non-neural signals at multiple spatial scales? In this symposium, six investigators discuss representational structure at multiple spatial scales across the cortex, highlighting the inferential strengths and weaknesses of cutting-edge analyses across multiple experimental techniques. More…

Does appearance matter?

Organizer: Sarah R. Allred, Rutgers–The State University of New Jersey
Time/Room: Friday, May 10, 3:30 – 5:30 pm, Royal 6-8

Vision science originated with questions about how and why things look the way do, but phenomenology is sometimes given short shrift in the field as a whole. We discuss objective methods that capture what we mean by appearance and examine the criteria for behaviors that are best thought of as mediated by reasoning about appearances. By utilizing phenomenology, we provide a parsimonious understanding of many empirical phenomena, including instructional effects in lightness perception, contextual effects on color constancy, systematic biases in egocentric distance perception and predicting 3D shape from orientation flows. We also discuss contemporary interactions between appearance, physiology, and neural models. More…