2022 VSS Symposia

Beyond objects and features: High-level relations in visual perception

Friday, May 13, 2022, 12:00 – 2:00 pm EDT, Talk Room 1

Organizers: Chaz Firestone1, Alon Hafri1; 1Johns Hopkins University

The world contains not only objects and features (red apples, glass bowls, large dogs, and small cats), but also relations holding between them (apples contained in bowls, dogs chasing cats). What role does visual processing play in extracting such relations, and how do relational representations structure visual experience? This symposium brings together a variety of approaches to explore new perspectives on the visual processing of relations. A unifying theme is that relations deserve equal place at the vision scientist’s table—and indeed that many traditional areas of vision science (including scene perception, attention, and memory) are fundamentally intertwined with relational representation. More…

Beyond representation and attention: Cognitive modulations of activity in visual cortex

Friday, May 13, 2022, 12:00 – 2:00 pm EDT, Talk Room 2

Organizers: Alex White1, Kendrick Kay2; 1Barnard College, Columbia University, 2University of Minnesota

This symposium addresses modulations of activity in visual cortex that go beyond classical notions of stimulus representation and attentional selection. For instance, activity patterns can reflect the contents of visual imagery, working memory, and expectations. In other cases, unstimulated regions of cortex are affected by the level of arousal or task difficulty. Furthermore, what might appear as general attentional amplifications are sometimes quite specific to stimulus type, brain region, and task. Although these effects are diverse, this symposium will seek unifying principles that are required to build general models of how sensory and cognitive signals are blended in visual cortex. More…

How we make saccades: selection, control, integration

Friday, May 13, 2022, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Talk Room 1

Organizers: Emma Stewart1, Bianca R. Baltaretu1; 1Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany

Making a saccade is a non-trivial process: the saccade target must be selected, the visuomotor system must execute a motor command, and the visual system must integrate pre- and postsaccadic information. Recent research has uncovered titillating new roles for established neural regions, giving an evolving and sophisticated perspective into processes underlying saccadic selection and control. Additionally, computational models have advanced our understanding of how saccades shape perception. This symposium will unify established knowledge about the disparate phases of saccade production, giving insight into the full life cycle of a saccade, from selection, to control, to the ultimate ensuing transsaccadic perception. More…

Perceptual Organization – Lessons from Neurophysiology, Human Behavior, and Computational Modeling

Friday, May 13, 2022, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Talk Room 2

Organizers: Dirk B. Walther1, James Elder2; 1University of Toronto, 2York University

A principal challenge for both biological and machine vision systems is to integrate and organize the diversity of cues received from the environment into the coherent global representations we experience and require to make good decisions and take effective actions. Early psychological investigations date back more than 100 years to the seminal work of the Gestalt school. But in the last 50 years, neuroscientific and computational approaches to understanding perceptual organization have become equally important, and a full understanding requires integration of all three approaches. This symposium will highlight the latest results and identify promising directions in perceptual organization research. More…

The probabilistic nature of vision: How should we evaluate the empirical evidence?

Friday, May 13, 2022, 5:00 – 7:00 pm EDT, Talk Room 1

Organizers: Ömer Dağlar Tanrıkulu1, Arni Kristjansson2; 1Williams College, 2University of Iceland

The view that our visual system represents sensory information probabilistically is prevalent in contemporary vision science. However, providing empirical evidence for such a claim has proved to be difficult since both probabilistic and non-probabilistic perceptual representations can, in principle, account for the experimental results in the literature. In this symposium, we discuss how vision research can provide empirical evidence relevant to the question of probabilistic perception. How can we operationalize probabilistic visual representations, and, if possible, how can we provide empirical evidence that settles the issue? Our goal is to encourage researchers to make their assumptions about probabilistic perception explicit. More…

What does the world look like? How do we know?

Friday, May 13, 2022, 5:00 – 7:00 pm EDT, Talk Room 2

Organizers: Mark Lescroart1, Benjamin Balas2, Kamran Binaee1, Michelle Greene3, Paul MacNeilage1; 1University of Nevada, Reno, 2North Dakota State University, 3Bates College

Statistical regularities in visual experience have been broadly shown to shape neural and perceptual visual processing. However, our ability to make inferences about visual processing based on natural image statistics is limited by the representativeness of natural image datasets. Here, we consider the consequences of using non-representative datasets, and we explore challenges in assembling datasets that are more representative in terms of the sampled environments, activities, and individuals. We explicitly address the following questions: what are we not sampling, why are we not sampling it, and how does this limit the inferences we can draw about visual processing? More…