2019 Symposia

Reading as a visual act: Recognition of visual letter symbols in the mind and brain

Organizer(s): Teresa Schubert, Harvard University
Time/Room: Friday, May 17, 2019, 12:00 – 2:00 pm, Talk Room 1

A great deal of our time as adults is spent reading: Deriving meaning from visual symbols. Our brains, which may have evolved to recognize a lion, now recognize the written word “LION”. Without recognizing the letters that comprise a word, we cannot access its meaning or its pronunciation: Letter recognition forms the basis of our ability to read. In this symposium, we will highlight work by a growing number of researchers attempting to bridge the gap in research between vision and language by investigating letter recognition processes, from both a behavioral and brain perspective. More…

Rhythms of the brain, rhythms of perception

Organizer(s): Laura Dugué, Paris Descartes University & Suliann Ben Hamed, Université Claude Bernard Lyon I
Time/Room: Friday, May 17, 2019, 12:00 – 2:00 pm, Talk Room 2

The phenomenological, continuous, unitary stream of our perceptual experience appears to be an illusion. Accumulating evidence suggests that what we perceive of the world and how we perceive it rises and falls rhythmically at precise temporal frequencies. Brain oscillations -rhythmic neural signals- naturally appear as key neural substrates for these perceptual rhythms. How these brain oscillations condition local neuronal processes, long-range network interactions, and perceptual performance is a central question to visual neuroscience. In this symposium, we will present an overarching review of this question, combining evidence from monkey neural and human EEG recordings, TMS interference studies, and behavioral analyses. More…

What can be inferred about neural population codes from psychophysical and neuroimaging data?

Organizer(s): Fabian Soto, Department of Psychology, Florida International University
Time/Room: Friday, May 17, 2019, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Talk Room 1

Vision scientists have long assumed that it is possible to make inferences about neural codes from indirect measures, such as those provided by psychophysics (e.g., thresholds, adaptation effects) and neuroimaging. While this approach has been very useful to understand the nature of visual representation in a variety of areas, it is not always clear under what circumstances and assumptions such inferences are valid. This symposium has the goal of highlighting recent developments in computational modeling that allow us to give clearer answer to such questions. More…

Visual Search: From youth to old age, from the lab to the world

Organizer(s): Beatriz Gil-Gómez de Liaño, Brigham & Women’s Hospital-Harvard Medical School and Cambridge University
Time/Room: Friday, May 17, 2019, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Talk Room 2

This symposium aims to show how visual search works in children, adults and older age, in realistic settings and environments. We will review what we know about visual search in real and virtual scenes, and its applications to solving global human challenges. Insights of brain processes underlying visual search during life will also be shown. The final objective is to better understand visual search as a whole in the lifespan, and in the real world; and to demonstrate how science can be transferred to society improving human lives, involving children, as well as younger and older adults. More…

What Deafness Tells Us about the Nature of Vision

Organizer(s): Rain Bosworth, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego
Time/Room: Friday, May 17, 2019, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Talk Room 1

It is widely believed that loss of one sense leads to enhancement of the remaining senses – for example, deaf see better and blind hear better. The reality, uncovered by 30 years of research, is more complex, and this complexity provides a fuller picture of the brain’s adaptability in the face of atypical sensory experiences. In this symposium, neuroscientists and vision scientists will discuss how sensory, linguistic, and social experiences during early development have lasting effects on perceptual abilities and visuospatial cognition. Presenters offer new findings that provide surprising insights into the neural and behavioral organization of the human visual system. More…

Prefrontal cortex in visual perception and recognition

Organizer(s): Biyu Jade He, NYU Langone Medical Center
Time/Room: Friday, May 17, 2019, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Talk Room 2

The role of prefrontal cortex (PFC) in vision remains mysterious. While it is well established that PFC neuronal activity reflects visual features, it is commonly thought that such feature encoding in PFC is only for the service of behaviorally relevant functions. However, recent emerging evidence challenges this notion, and instead suggests that the PFC may be integral for visual perception and recognition. This symposium will address these issues from complementary angles, deriving insights from the perspectives of neuronal tuning in nonhuman primates, neuroimaging and lesion studies in humans, recent development in artificial intelligence, and to draw implications for psychiatric disorders. More…