Do you see what I see? Understanding individual differences in visual space perception

Mentor: Dr. Anna Kosovicheva

Dr. Anna Kosovicheva

Project Description

We often have to make difficult perceptual judgments about where objects are located in the world. When driving in a snowstorm, where is the car in the lane next to you? When catching a baseball flying through the air, where is it relative to your hand? When making these sorts of visual position judgments, we often assume that different people generally agree about what they saw (or more specifically, where they saw it). Recent research has shown that this isn’t always the case. Instead, people make consistent, idiosyncratic errors when judging the position of a briefly flashed spot on a computer screen. For example, one person might see a flash at 12 o’clock as being closer to 1 o’clock , while another would see it at 11 o’clock. These individual patterns, or “signatures” of error are generally stable over time, and consistent across different measurement methods. This goal of this project is to investigate factors that may change these errors. Can people learn to correct their errors over time through visual feedback, and if so, how long do these changes last? Participants will perform computer-based tasks online over multiple sessions in which they’ll be asked to report the locations of brief targets using a mouse or button press. The student working on this project will work on collecting the data online and analyzing it using R or Matlab. No specific programming experience is required for this project; however, students should have an interest in learning to code.

Mentorship Statement

Studying visual perception is an interdisciplinary endeavor, so one of the most exciting parts of mentorship is getting to work with students who have different backgrounds, interests, and skills. I find that it’s important to take an individualized approach, so that students get the research training that is appropriate to their experience. As a mentor, I try to understand each student’s goals through our individual meetings and work with them to help them develop the skills that they need to achieve them. Students working on this project will also have the opportunity to attend lab meetings to learn about ongoing projects in applied visual perception, and develop skills in programming and statistics. I always find it exciting to see students gain experience and confidence through the research process, and look forward to sharing my enthusiasm for vision research.

Project ID 413