Tom speaks at the 1st Dutch Pupillometry Symposium

Thomas Hawkins presenting at the Dutch Pupillometry Symposium

Tom Hawkins gave a talk at the 1st Dutch Pupillometry Symposium. He presented a computational model of pseudo-neglect as an attentional gradient over the horizontal plane that fades out over time. It managed to capture individual differences in spatial bias, and when and how fast participants’ alertness faded during a task.

Continue reading

Testing children with iPad games

Testing children is less easy than testing adults, primarily because they lack the social inhibition to tell psychological researchers to go away with their super boring tests. This presents a problem in developmental research: How do you reach these kids?! We developed a bunch of iPad games to test the cognition of an entire classroom in one go. And it works!

Continue reading

Computer vision: Taylor Swift saliency mapping

In cognitive neuroscience, we’re interested in what guides human attention. We distinguish between influences from high-level cognition (e.g. current goals), and low-level visual features. There are highly sophisticated models of how visual features such as intensity, colour, and movement guide human attention. Computerised implementations of these models allow computers to mimic human eye movements. Turns out Taylor Swift’s amazing videos are an excellent example!

Continue reading

When do you “see” what you see?

That is one confusing title! The point is this: When light reaches your eyes, you’re not immediately aware of that. It takes some time for your visual system to process the light, and to translate it into something the rest of your brain can work with. When that’s done, you consciously ‘see’. In a new paper, we show that the process of becoming aware of what you see, is affected by how large an object is. With an oversimplified example: If light bounces of a puppy, into your eyes, it takes a fraction of a second for you to become aware of the puppy. And it takes a fraction of a second longer if it’s a fat puppy.

Continue reading

NVP Winter Conference 2015

The Dutch Psychonomic Society’s biennial Winter Conference is upon us! Here, Dutch and international members of the Society meet to discuss cutting edge research. I’ll be there to listen to all of the amazing speakers, and to present a poster on our work in speed skating. Read this post for some additional info, and for a digital copy of the poster.

Continue reading

Distracted by danger!

Threatening elements (think spiders) in your surroundings tend to grasp your attention more strongly than non-threatening things (think puppies). Some scientists believe that your brain is wired to notice threatening stimuli quicker, via a special sub-cortical route. In a new experiment, we show that task-irrelevant threatening stimuli are prioritised over non-threatening stimuli, but that they are not processed any quicker.

Continue reading

Is skating really unfair? Yes, even at 100-meter times.

Two weeks ago, we published a Perspective article on how the starting procedure in racing sports could bias competitions. Some speed skating enthusiasts suggested we analyse the 100-meter times from the races we reported on. So we did! The results are very similar to our earlier results: Longer ready-start intervals lead to slower 100-meter times in Olympic speed skating.

Continue reading