The aim of this talk series is to shine light on and support early-career researchers and underrepresented groups by providing a platform for their work and increasing networking opportunities.

These talks are open to all and will be made publicly available where possible. Drop me a line if you are interested in joining.


21.10.2020 – Age-Related Differences in the Relationship Between Eye Movement Behaviour and Facial Recognition Memory | Negar Mazloum-Farzaghi (University of Toronto & Rotman Research Institute)

12.11.2020 – Evidence for atypical semantic visual salience in Super Recognizers | Marcel Linka (University of Giessen)

20.11.2020 – The intersection of perceptual decision-making, reading, consumer psychology and dyslexia – a multi-method approach | Léon Franzen (Concordia University)

26.11.2020 – Faces are made of this… Sensitivity to Orientation when processing faces | Valerie Goffaux (Université catholique de Louvain)

01.12.2020 – Is it Autism or Alexithymia? explaining atypical socioemotional processing | Hélio Clemente Cuve (University of Oxford)

10.12.2020 – Global visual salience of competing stimuli | Alex Hernandez-Garcia (Université de Montréal)

07.01.2021 – Reproducible EEG from raw data to publication figures | Cyril Pernet (University of Edinburgh)

14.01.2021 – What is serially-dependent perception good for? | Mauro Manassi (University of Aberdeen)


21.01.2021 | 16h CET – Intra- and interindividual differences in person perception

SpeakerMaximilian Broda (University of Giessen)

Abstract: Vision creates an individually unique window to our world. Past research has shown that individuals show highly consistent differences in their gaze behavior towards certain semantic features of a scene, but it is unclear whether further such features of individual divergence exist. Here, I will present ongoing work zooming in on person perception. A first line of work expanded the annotations of an existing stimulus set with pixel masks for body and face parts. Preliminary results of eye-tracking experiments using these stimuli suggest consistent individual differences, especially in the tendency to fixate mouth and eye regions. A second line of work focusses on intraindividual differences in face processing across time and across the visual field. Previous work has shown that the recognition of inner face features is best at their expected / usual location in the visual field. To date, it is still unclear if this enhanced recognition performance is a learned adaptation to input statistics or following an innate, face-specific template. The ongoing global pandemic with a surge of people wearing face masks gives us an exceptional chance to investigate the processing of artificial face features. I will present preliminary fMRI results suggesting that over time the ventral processing of face masks becomes increasingly similar to that of faces. This result is currently being followed-up by behavioral experiments testing whether the feature-location contingency observed for natural facial features can be found for artificial features as well. Taken together, these results suggest that individual gaze behavior and perception is the result of an interplay between our unique visual brain and environment.

28.01.2021 | 16h CET – Selective modulation of connectivity in the speech network by electric brain stimulation

SpeakerBasil Preisig (University of Zürich)

Abstract: Regional specialization is a hallmark of neural speech processing. Two of the most important specializations concern hemispheric lateralization and the intra-hemispheric differentiation between motor and sensory speech areas. One important questions concerns how information processed in different hemispheres or between sensory and motor speech areas is integrated. One increasingly dominant hypothesis is that the brain overcomes this “binding problem” by the synchronization of oscillatory activity across the relevant regions. Two temporal scales seem to be of particular relevance for speech processing: the theta frequency band corresponding roughly to the length of syllables (~100–300 ms), and in the gamma frequency band corresponding to the duration of phonemes (~20–50 ms). In my talk, I will introduce different experiments where we probed oscillatory synchronization as a mechanism for inter- and intrahemispheric communication in the speech network by manipulating oscillatory synchrony from the outside through the application of electric brain stimulation.

11.02.2021 | 16h CET – Identifying Avatars of Real People

SpeakerMatt Fysh (University of Kent)

Abstract: Experimental psychology research typically employs paradigms that greatly simplify the real- world conditions within which cognition occurs. This approach has been successful for isolating cognitive processes, but cannot adequately capture how perception operates in complex environments. In turn, real world environments rarely afford the access and control required for rigorous scientific experimentation. In recent years, technology has advanced to provide a solution to these problems, through the development of affordable high-capability virtual reality (VR) equipment. The application of VR is now increasing rapidly in Psychology, but a stimulus that has been used widely in this field – the human face – is captured poorly in current VR experiments. To overcome this issue, we have recently, we have developed a user-friendly method for creating photo-realistic avatars of real people, that can be imported into VR. Across a series of experiments, we demonstrate that avatar faces of familiar people are recognised with high accuracy (Study 1), replicate the familiarity advantage typically observed in real-world face matching (Study 2), and show that these avatars produce a similarity-space that corresponds closely with real photographs of the same faces (Study 3). These studies open up the way to conduct psychological experiments on visual perception and social cognition under increased realism in VR. 

18.02.2021 | 16h CET – Algorithmic advances in face matching: Stability of tests in atypical groups

SpeakerMirta Stantic (University of Oxford)

Abstract: Face matching tests have traditionally been developed to assess human face perception in the neurotypical range, but methods that underlie their development often make it difficult for these measures to be applied in atypical populations (developmental prosopagnosics, super recognizers) due to unadjusted difficulty. We have recently presented the development of the Oxford Face Matching Test, a measure that bases individual item-difficulty on algorithmically derived similarity of presented stimuli. The measure seems useful as it can be given online or in-laboratory, has good discriminability and high test-retest reliability in the neurotypical groups. In addition, it has good validity in separating atypical groups at either of the spectrum ends. In this talk, I examine the stability of the OFMT and other traditionally used measures in atypical groups. On top of the theoretical significance of determining whether reliability of tests is equivalent in atypical population, this is an important question because of the practical concerns of retesting the same participants across different lab groups. Theoretical and practical implications for further test development and data sharing are discussed.

25.02.2021 | 16h CET – Markers of brain connectivity and sleep-dependent restoration: basic research and translation into clinical populations

SpeakerValeria Jaramillo (University Hospital Zurich)

Abstract: The human brain is a heavily interconnected structure giving rise to complex functions. While brain functionality is mostly revealed during wakefulness, the sleeping brain might offer another view into physiological and pathological brain connectivity. Furthermore, there is a large body of evidence supporting that sleep mediates plastic changes in brain connectivity. Although brain plasticity depends on environmental input which is provided in the waking state, disconnection during sleep might be necessary for integrating new into existing information and at the same time restoring brain efficiency. In this talk, I will present structural, molecular, and electrophysiological markers of brain connectivity and sleep-dependent restoration that we have evaluated using Magnetic Resonance Imaging and electroencephalography in a healthy population. In a second step, I will show how we translated the gained findings into two clinical populations in which alterations in brain connectivity have been described, the neuropsychiatric disorder attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the neurologic disorder thalamic ischemic stroke.

22.04.2021 | 16h CET – TBA

SpeakerJérôme Tagu (University of Bordeaux)

Abstract: TBA

20.05.2021 | 16h CET – TBA

SpeakerHans Rocha IJzerman (Université Grenoble Alpes)

Abstract: TBA