Announcing the VSS 2017 Satellite Events

Computational and Mathematical Models in Vision (MODVIS)
Wednesday, May 17 – Friday, May 19, Horizons
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Wednesday
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Thursday
9:00 am – 12:00 pm Friday

Organizers: Jeff Mulligan, NASA Ames Research Center; Zyg Pizlo, Purdue University; Anne Sereno, U. Texas Health Science Center at Houston; Qasim Zaidi, SUNY College of Optometry

The 6th VSS satellite workshop on Computational and Mathematical Models in Vision (MODVIS) will be held at the VSS conference venue (the TradeWinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach, FL) May 17 – May 19. A keynote address will be given by Aude Oliva (MIT).

The early registration fee is $80 for regular participants, $40 for students. More information can be found on the workshop’s website:

Implicit Guidance of Attention: Developing theoretical models
Thursday, May 18

9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Room TBA

Organizers: Rebecca Todd, University of British Columbia and Chelazzi Leonardo, University of Verona

Speakers: Leo Chelazzi, Jane Raymond, Rebecca Todd, Andreas Keil, Clayton Hickey, Sarah Shomstein, Ayelet Landau, Brian Anderson, Jan Theeuwes

Visual selective attention is the process by which we tune ourselves to the world so that, of the millions of bits per second transmitted by the retina, the information that is most important to us reaches awareness and guides action. Recently, new areas of attention research have emerged, making sharp divisions between top-down volitional attention and bottom-up automatic capture by visual features much less clear than previously believed. Challenges to this intuitively appealing dichotomy have arisen as researchers have identified factors that guide attention non-strategically and often implicitly (a quality of bottom-up processes) but also rely on prior knowledge or experience (a quality of top-down systems). As a result, a number of researchers have been developing new theoretical frameworks that move beyond the classic attentional dichotomy. This roundtable discussion will bring together researchers from often-siloized investigative tracks who have been investigating effects of reward, emotion, semantic associations, and statistical learning on attentional guidance, as well as underlying neurocognitive mechanisms. The goal of this roundtable is to discuss these emerging frameworks and outstanding questions that arise from considering a broader range of research findings.

In the Fondest Memory of Bosco Tjan (Memorial Symposium at VSS)
Friday, May 19
9:00 – 11:30 am, Talk Room 2

Organizers: Zhong-lin Lu, The Ohio State University and Susana Chung, University of California, Berkeley

Speakers: Zhong-lin Lu, The Ohio State University, Gordon Legge, University of Minnesota, Irving Biederman, University of Southern California, Anirvan Nandy, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Rachel Millin, University of Washington, Zili Liu, UCLA, and Susana Chung, University of California, Berkeley

Professor Bosco S. Tjan was murdered at the pinnacle of a flourishing academic career on December 2, 2016. The vision science and cognitive neuroscience community lost a brilliant scientist and incisive commentator. I will briefly introduce Bosco’s life and career, and his contributions to vision science and cognitive neuroscience. More…

Bruce Bridgeman Memorial Symposium
Friday, May 19
9:00 – 11:30 am, Pavilion

Organizers: Susana Martinez-Conde, State University of New York

Stephen L. Macknik,  State University of New York; “A Small Piece of Bruce’s Legacy
Stanley A. Klein, UC Berkeley; “Consciousness and Cognition
Susana Martinez-Conde, State University of New York; “Bruce Bridgeman’s Pioneering Work on Microsaccades
Paul Dassonville, University of Oregon; “The Induced Roelofs Effect in Multisensory Perception and Action
Cathy Reed, Claremont Mckenna College; “Anything I Could Do Bruce Could Do Better
Laura Thomas, North Dakota State University; “A Legacy of Action

FoVea (Females of Vision et al) Workshop and Lunch
Saturday, May 20
12:30 – 2:00 pm, Horizons

Organizers: Diane Beck, University of Illinois; Mary A. Peterson, University of Arizona; Karen Schloss, University of Wisconsin – Madison; Allison Sekuler, McMaster University

FoVea is a group founded to advance the visibility, impact, and success of women in vision science. To that end, we plan to host a series of professional issues workshops during lunchtime at VSS. We encourage vision scientists of all genders to participate in the workshops.

The topic of the 2017 workshop is Negotiation: When To Do It and How To Do It Successfully. Two panelists will each give a presentation, and then will take questions and comments from the audience. The remainder of the workshop time will be spent networking with other attendees. The panelists are:

  • Marisa Carrasco, Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University who served as the Chair of the Psychology Department for 6 years.
  • Allison Sekuler, Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour and Strategic Advisor to the President and VPs on Academic Issues, McMaster University; past Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience (2001-2011), Associate VP & Dean, School of Graduate Studies (2008-2016), and interim VP Research (2015-2016).

A buffet lunch will be available. Registration is required so the appropriate amount of food can be on hand. To register, please go to: Capacity is limited to 95 attendees.

How Immersive Eye Tracking Tools and VR Analytics Will Impact Vision Science Research
Saturday, May 20
12:30 – 2:00 pm, Jasmine/Palm

Organizers: Courtney Gray, SensoMotoric Instruments, Inc. and Annett Schilling, SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH

Speakers: Stephen Macknik, SUNY Downstate Medical Center; Gabriel Diaz, Rochester Institute of Tech; Mary Hayhoe, University of Texas

This event covers the implications of new immersive HMD technologies and dedicated VR analysis solutions for vision science research. Researchers share their experiences and discuss how they believe VR eye tracking headsets and the ability to analyze data from immersive scenarios will positively impact visual cognition and scene perception research.

Social Hour for Faculty at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs)
Sunday, May 21
12:30 – 2:00 pm, Royal Tern

Organizers: Eriko Self, California State University, Fullerton; Cathy Reed, Claremont McKenna College; and Nestor Matthews, Denison University

Do you work at a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI)? Do you have to find precious time for research and mentoring students among heavy teaching load? If so, bring your lunch or just bring yourself to PUI social and get to know other faculty at PUIs! It will be a great opportunity to share your ideas and concerns.

Vanderbilt-Rochester Vision Centers Party
Sunday, May 21
7:30 – 10:00 pm, Beachside Sun Decks

Organizers: Geoffrey Woodman, Vanderbilt University and Duje Tadin, Rochester University

This event brings back the Vanderbilt-Rochester Party that began at the first VSS meetings. This social event will feature free drinks and snacks for all VSS attendees. It will provide attendees with the opportunity to socialize with members of the Rochester Center for Vision Science and the Vanderbilt Vision Research Center in attendance at VSS. This is a good opportunity to talk to potential mentors for graduate or postdoctoral training in vision science.

Applicational needs reinvent scientific views 
Monday, May 22
2:00 – 3:00 pm, Jasmine/Palm

Organizers: Katharina Rifai, Iliya V. Ivanov, and Siegfried Wahl, Institute of Ophthalmic Research, University of Tuebingen

Speakers: Eli Peli, Schepens Eye Research Institute; Peter Bex, Northeastern University; Susana Chung, UC Berkeley; Markus Lappe, University of Münster; Michele Rucci, Boston University; Jeff Mulligan, NASA Ames Research Center; Arijit Chakraborty, School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Waterloo; Ian Erkelens, School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Waterloo; Kevin MacKenzie, York University and Oculus VR, LCC

Applicational needs have often reinvented views on scientific problems and thus triggered break-throughs in models and methods. A recent example is augmented/virtual reality which challenges the visual system with reduced or enriched content and thus triggers scientific questions on visual system’s robustness.

Nonetheless, the driving character of applications within VSS research has not received focal attention until now. Therefore, we intend to bring together bright minds in a satellite event promoting the scientific drive created by applicational needs within VSS 2017.

Tutorial in Bayesian modeling
Monday, May 22
2:00 – 4:30 pm, Sabal/Sawgrass

Organizer: Wei Ji Ma, New York University

Bayesian models are widespread in vision science. However, their inner workings are often obscure or intimidating to those without a background in modeling. This tutorial, which does not assume any background knowledge, will start by motivating Bayesian models through visual illusions. Then, you as participants will collectively choose a concrete experimental design to build a model for. We will develop the math of the Bayesian model of that task, and implement it in Matlab. You will take home complete code for a Bayesian model. Please bring pen, paper, and if possible, a laptop with Matlab.

Tutorial is limited to the first 50 people (first come, first-served).

The Experiential Learning Laboratory
Monday, May 22
2:15 – 3:15 pm, Citrus/Glades

Organizers: Ken Nakayama, Na Li, and Jeremy Wilmer; Harvard University and Wellesley College

Psychology is one of most popular subjects with some the highest enrollments and at the undergraduate level. Psychology is also a science. Yet, the exposure of the undergraduate population to the actual “hands-on” practice doing such science is limited. It is rare in an undergraduate curriculum to see the kind of undergraduate laboratories that have been a longstanding tradition in the natural sciences and engineering. It is our premise that well conceived laboratory experiences by Psychology students have the potential to bring some important STEM practices and values to Psychology. This could increase the number of students who will have the sophistication to understand science at a deeper level, who will have the ability to create new knowledge through empirical investigation and who will develop the critical skills to evaluate scientific studies and claims. Critically important here is to supply conditions to engage students more fully by encouraging student initiated projects and to use this opportunity for them to gain mastery. TELLab with its ease of use and its ability to allow students to create their own experiments is what distinguishes it from other currently available systems. We invite teachers to try our system for their classes.

WorldViz VR Workshop
Tuesday, May 23
1:00 – 2:30 pm, Sabal/Sawgrass

Organizer: Matthias Pusch, WorldViz

Virtual Reality is getting a lot of attention and press lately, but ‘hands on’ experiences with real use cases for this new technology are rare. This session will show what WorldViz has found to work for collaborative VR, and we will set up and try out an interactive VR experience together with the audience.

Honoring Al Ahumada – Al-apalooza! Talks
Wednesday, May 24
3:00 – 5:00 pm, Horizons

Organizers: Jeff Mulligan, NASA Ames Research Center and Beau Watson, Apple

A celebration of the life, work, and play of Albert Jil Ahumada, Jr., a whimsical exploration of network learning for spatial and color vision, noise methods, models of photoreceptor positioning, etc. An afternoon session of informal talks will be open to all free of charge, followed by an evening banquet (payment required).

Full details will be posted as they are available at

Honoring Al Ahumada – Al-apalooza! Dinner
Wednesday, May 24
7:00 – 10:00 pm, Beachside Sun Decks

Organizers: Jeff Mulligan, NASA Ames Research Center and Beau Watson, Apple

Full details will be posted as they are available at 

Vision Sciences Society