Welcome to Yale's Perception & Cognition Lab!
 
We're a group of cognitive scientists who are interested in all aspects of perception, cognition, and how they relate to each other. For more information on the research going on in our lab (including papers, manuscripts, demos, etc.), check out some of the individual homepages of our members listed below. We work in close collaboration with several other labs here at Yale, including Marvin Chun's Visual Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory.  
 

 
 
 
Quick Links
Recent Lab Abstracts
Reference Guides
Lab Photo Album
Recent Lab News
  • A new research topic for the lab: UFOs? (July 2014)

  • Congratulations to Yi-Chia Chen, whose poster at this month's Vision Sciences Society meeting won one of the Best Poster Awards (from a session with 150+ posters!). Yi-Chia's poster, titled Seeing and liking from the outside in: Consistent inward biases in visual perception and aesthetic preferences explored several ways in which what we like interacts with what we see -- in phenomena including ambiguous figure perception and inattentional blindness. (May 2014)

  • Congratulations to lab alumnus Nick Turk-Browne (Ph.D., 2009) for earning tenure at Princeton! (May 2014)

  • Congratulations to several grad students in the lab for earning travel awards to summer conferences! Yi-Chia Chen has won a Student Travel Award from the Asia-Pacific Conference on Vision, and both Emily Ward and Chaz Firestone have won Student Travel Awards from the Vision Sciences Society. (May 2014)

  • Congratulations to Ben van Buren, who has been selected to receive a 2014 Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation, awarded in part on the basis of his work on the perception of animacy and intentionality! (April 2014)

  • On a new episode of Brain Games on the National Geographic Channel -- What's Going On? -- Brian talks about change blindness, inattentional blindness, spatial awareness, and Double Dutch. (February 2014)

  • In the season premiere of the new season of Brain Games on the National Geographic Channel -- In Living Color -- Brian talks about color, reflectance, and visual adaptation. This episode includes a special performance by Fighting Gravity. (January 2014)

  • Congratulations to Chaz Firestone, whose paper on the "El Greco Fallacy" in perception research (now in press at Psychological Science) has won the William James Prize for the best graduate student paper presented at the recent annual meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology! (June 2013)

  • Huge congratulations to RA and graduating senior thesis student Julian De Freitas, who had a busy Class Day during commencement! Julian's thesis (his 'attentional rhythm' project, now in-press at JEP:General) won the Angier Prize, for the best undergraduate thesis in psychology. But, as it turned out, this was only a prelude. Julian also won the most prominent prize for a graduating senior in Yale College as a whole -- the Alpheus Henry Snow Prize, for "the senior who, through the combination of intellectual achievement, character, and personality, shall be adjudged by the faculty to have done the most for Yale". Hooray! Julian will soon embark on a summer of singing with the Whiffenpoofs, before heading to Oxford later this year to continue his study of perception via a Rhodes Scholarship. (May 2013)

  • Later this week (on Thurs 5/2, at 5 pm), Brian will have a public debate with Rebecca Saxe (moderated by George Alvarez) about The role of fMRI in Cognitive Science. This will take place at Harvard University (in Science Center D), as an MBB program event. (May 2013)


Lab News Archive


 
Faculty
 
Brian Scholl (Email, Personal Homepage)
Lab Director, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science
 
Brian's recent research interests include:
 
• Visual awareness
• How the mind represents objects
• The perception of animacy, causality, and time
• 'Core knowledge' in cognition and perception
• Foundations of cognitive science
• Sea-kayaking as a tool for procrastination
 
Graduate Students
 
Yi-Chia Chen (Email, Personal Homepage)
Graduate Student
 
Yi-Chia is currently exploring varieties of aesthetic perception (e.g. how aesthetic preferences can bias other forms of perception) and also subjective time dilation (e.g. how progress bars can make time seem to speed up or slow down). Before joining us at Yale, she was a research assistant in Su-Ling Yeh's Perception & Attention lab at National Taiwan University. Yi-Chia can count from one to ten in 15 different languages -- including 3 that Brian has never heard of.
 
Chaz Firestone (Email, Personal Homepage)
Graduate Student
 
Chaz is studying how perception and cognition interact. He is currently exploring cognitive (im)penetrability, perceptual roots of philosophical intuitions, and the psychological reality of shape skeletons. He's so excited about these things that you can literally see his brilliant thoughts. Chaz has degrees in both philosophy and cognitive science, rode his bicycle 4,000 miles during the summer before graduate school, and has probably been further south than you have.
 
Aysu Suben (Email)
Graduate Student
 
Aysu's many interests include causal perception, the perception of ambiguous images, and multiple object tracking. She is currently focusing on the nature of mental resources across a wide variety of contexts -- with a special focus on how the resources underlying performance in attentional tasks may (or may not) overlap with the resources responsible for 'ego depletion' effects. Before joining us, she spent some time meditating at a Zen Buddhist temple.
 
Stefan Uddenberg (Email)
Graduate Student
 
Stefan is exploring the mind's 'default settings' by employing the method of serial reproduction, as well as emotion/perception interactions. Hailing from the land of limbo (Trinidad and Tobago), he is interested in just how low such interactions can go. He recently finished a stint as an RA with Won Mok Shim at Dartmouth (his alma mater), where he studied crossmodal interactions using fMRI, MVPA, and possibly other acronyms as well. Stefan also sings.
 
Ben van Buren
Graduate Student
 
Ben is studying the nature of social perception, including the perceived mental lives of moving geometric shapes. He believes that a deep understanding of such things will come only through (1) the use of empirical methods and (2) constant consideration of how and why the brain evolved. There are dark rumors suggesting that Ben is also studying the brain bases of such things using various neuroscientific techniques.
 
Emily Ward (Email, Personal Homepage)
Graduate Student; Also in Visual Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
 
Emily is exploring what visual information we can acquire without conscious awareness and how awareness contributes to representing information in the brain. She has also studied spatial cognition with Russell Epstein at the University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College. When not in the lab, Emily can be found thousands of miles away, sunburned, bug-bitten, and wearing inappropriate footwear for the weather.
 
Affiliates
 
Adam Bear
Graduate Student, Knobe + Bloom Labs
 
Adam is using empirical methods to explore philosophical issues surrounding the nature of conscious perception. In his current studies of iconic memory, he's examining whether people can be consciously aware of more information than they can report or access in working memory. Before Yale, Adam studied both philosophy and cognitive science at Brown University. One of the people in this photo is Adam Bear; the other is just a bear.
 
Matt Jordan
Graduate Student, Comparative Cognition Lab
 
Matt is exploring how basic cognitive processes such as attention and memory influence and underlie more deliberate judgment and decision-making. Matt holds undergraduate degrees in finance (why?) and decision neuroscience (getting closer...). Before coming to Yale, Matt studied behavioral economics at The Brookings Institution (much better). In his free time, he enjoys saying aloud what he thinks animals are thinking.
 
Jonathan Kominsky
Graduate Student, Cognition and Development Lab
 
Jonathan is exploring the role of time in perception, especially in the perception of causality. His current projects are focused on how people perceive very slow or gradual events, and how slow something can be and still be seen as an "event." An embarrassing number of his study ideas originate in his collection of old cartoons and Calvin & Hobbes comics. (We're not sure if this holds for his recent discovery that the temporal window of postdiction is variable.)
 
Hannah Raila
Graduate Student, Clinical Program
 
Hannah is exploring how attentional biases may underlie and maintain both positive emotion and psychopathology, focusing on how happy people may see the world differently. Before joining us, Hannah studied the neural underpinnings of emotion at Dartmouth and also the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch at the NIMH. Hannah was on Dartmouth's track team, and can probably jump higher than you can.
 
Lab Alumni
 
Brandon Liverence (Home Page)
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2013)
After Yale: Postdoctoral Fellow, Northwestern, Psychology Dept., Franconeri Lab
 
While in the lab from 2008 to 2013, Brandon studied the visual representation of time and space, in contexts including subjective time dilation, event segmentation, and the 'refresh rate' of perception. When one of his papers was accepted for publication, the Editor asked him to shorten it by 78%. Brandon vacations inside Icelandic volcanos.
 
Alice Albrecht (Home Page)
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2013); Co-advised with Marvin Chun
After Yale: Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Berkeley, Psychology Dept, Whitney Lab
 
While in the lab from 2008 to 2013, Alice explored the nature of 'statistical summary representations' in perception, including the ability to rapidly and efficiently perceive average visual attributes across space and time, and in multiple modalities. Alice has also made other discoveries that are full of holes (exploring holes vs. objects in visual attention).
 
Tao Gao (Homepage)
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2011)
After Yale: Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT, Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Tenenbaum Lab
 
While in the lab from 2006 to 2011, Tao brought life to vision science, making many discoveries related to 'social vision' (in general) and to the perception of animacy (in particular). His papers have great titles (e.g. The Psychophysics of Chasing, The Wolfpack Effect) and one of them has a paragraph about assassins. Tao, now a postdoc at MIT, has great taste in science fiction.
 
Nick Turk-Browne (Lab Page)
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2009); Co-advised with Marvin Chun
After Yale: Assistant Professor, Princeton University, Department of Psychology
 
While in the lab from 2004 to 2009, Nick studied visual perception, learning, and attention, and made several discoveries related to the nature of implicit visual statistical learning. Nick, now a Professor at Princeton, also lured Brian into being involved with his studies of the neural basis of such things using fMRI; in related news, hell has frozen over.
 
Joshua New (Homepage)
P&C Lab: Postdoctoral Fellow (2005-2009)
After Yale: Assistant Professor, Barnard College, Department of Psychology
 
While in the lab from 2005 to 2009, Josh explored 'adaptive visual cognition' -- merging evolution psychology and vision science. This led to discoveries about the nature of visual awareness, motion-induced blindness, social perception in autism spectrum disorder, and subjective time dilation. Josh, now a Professor at Barnard, was a postdoc, so his picture gets a border.
 
Jonathan Flombaum (Lab Page)
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2008)
After Yale: Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins, Dept. of Psych. & Brain Sciences
 
While in the lab from 2002 to 2008, Jon made several discoveries related to object persistence and visual tracking -- often studying both human adults and nonhuman primates -- and he resuscitated studies of the 'tunnel effect'. Jon, now a professor at Johns Hopkins, still hasn't learned to appreciate folk music, though; in related news, the hip-hop savviness of the lab has plummeted.
 
Erik Cheries (Homepage)
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2007); Primary advisor, Karen Wynn
After Yale: Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, Lab for Developmental Studies
Currently: Assistant Professor, UMass Amherst, Dept. of Psychology
 
While in the lab from 2002 to 2007, Erik ran studies with both babies and adults exploring how the visual system selects, maintains, and identifies objects over time -- and how this provides a foundation for object cognition. Erik, now a professor at UMass Amherst, has more songs on his iPod than you do.
 
Hoon Choi (Homepage)
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2006)
After Yale: Postdoctoral Fellow, Boston University, Watanabe Lab
Currently: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Hallym University  
While in the lab from 2002 to 2006, Hoon made several discoveries related to causal perception, attention, and the mental representation of dynamic events. In case his picture here is too small to make out, here's a slightly bigger picture of Hoon. Hoon is now a professor back in South Korea.
 
Steve Mitroff (Lab Page)
P&C Lab: Postdoctoral Fellow (2002-2005)
After Yale: Assistant Professor, Duke University, Dept. of Psychology
Currently: Associate Professor, Duke University, Dept. of Psychology & Neuroscience
 
While in the lab from 2002 to 2005, Steve made discoveries about visual awareness, motion-induced blindness, and object persistence -- studying both infants and adults. We miss him now that he's at Duke, though Brian is also happy to be free of Steve's strict ban on using obscure latin phrases in papers.
 
Some Recent Collaborators
George Alvarez (Harvard University)
Dick Aslin (University of Rochester)
Marvin Chun (Yale University)
Matt Doran (University of Delaware)
Lisa Feigenson (Johns Hopkins University)
Jacob Feldman (Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science)
Steve Franconeri (Northwestern University)
Jim Hoffman (University of Delaware)
Marcia Johnson (Yale University)
Ami Klin (Emory University, Marcus Autism Center)
Alan Leslie (Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science)
Greg McCarthy (Yale University)
Jacques Mehler (SISSA)
Steve Most (University of New South Wales)
Ken Nakayama (Harvard University)
George Newman (Yale SoM)
Zenon Pylyshyn (Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science)
Laurie Santos (Yale University)
Bob Schultz (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Center for Autism Research)
Dan Simons (University of Illinois)
Teresa Treat (University of Iowa)
Karen Wynn (Yale University)
Do-Joon Yi (Yonsei University)
Steve Zucker (Yale University)
 
Neighbors
Automaticity Lab (John Bargh)
Child Neuroscience Lab (Kevin Pelphrey)
Cognition & Decision-Making Lab (Daeyeol Lee)
Cognition & Development Lab (Frank Keil)
Comparative Cognition Lab (Laurie Santos)
Computational Vision Group (Steve Zucker)
Consumer Decision Making Lab (Ravi Dhar, Nathan Novemsky)
Experimental Philosophy (Joshua Knobe)
Haskins Laboratories (Carol Fowler, Bruno Repp, et al.)
Human Cooperation Lab (David Rand)
Human Neuroscience Lab (Greg McCarthy)
Infant Cognition Lab (Karen Wynn)
Memory & Cognition Lab (Marcia Johnson)
Mind & Development Lab (Paul Bloom)
Motivated Cognition & Aging Brain Lab (Greg Samanez-Larkin)
Philosophical Psychology (Tamar Gendler)
Sensory Info Processing Lab (Larry Marks)
Social Cognitive Development Lab (Yarrow Dunham)
Social Robotics Lab (Brian Scassellati)
Thinking Lab (Woo-Kyoung Ahn)
Visual Cognitive Neuroscience Lab (Marvin Chun)
Visual Neuroscience Lab (Jamie Mazer)
 

 
Affiliate and Undergraduate Alumni
 
 
 

 
Want to join the team?
If you're interested in joining the lab, please send a note to Brian Scholl by email. Undergraduates who are interested in RA positions might want to check out this information page. Note that this is not our lab logo.  
 

 
Some of the material on this web site, and those it links to, is based on work supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of these agencies.