Welcome to Yale's Perception & Cognition Lab!
We're a group of cognitive scientists who are interested in all aspects of seeing, thinking, 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
  • The lab had a blast at VSS this month! (May 2016)

  • Congratulations to Emily Ward, who recently defended her PhD dissertation on Seeing and Not Seeing: Investigating the Foundations of Perception! (May 2016)

  • Congratulations to Chaz Firestone, who has just accepted a tenure-track appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. We can't bear to let him go quite yet, though, so Chaz will stay in the lab for one more year, and will start his new position in the summer of 2017. (April 2016)

  • Congratulations to lab alumnus Nick Turk-Browne, who has just been named as the 2016 winner of the Young Investigator Award from the Vision Sciences Society! (March 2016)

  • Next month, on 4/12, Brian will engage in a dialogue with Nancy Kanwisher on How -- and how much -- do fMRI studies contribute to psychology?. This dialogue will take place at Northwestern University, under the auspices of their Cognitive Science program. (March 2016)

  • Later this month, on 10/25, Brian will give a public talk in New York City for One Day University, titled Do my eyes deceive me? The science of visual awareness. (October 2015)

  • Next week, on 9/22, during Yale's weekly 'Current Work in Cognitive Psychology' meeting, Brian will give a joint presentation with Greg Samanez-Larkin on The Science and Practice of Graphing Data. (September 2015)

  • Congratulations to Yi-Chia Chen for (once again!) winning a Student Travel Award from this summer's Asia-Pacific Conference on Vision. (June 2015)

  • Congratulations to Stefan Uddenberg, who has been selected to receive a 2015 Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation, awarded in part on the basis of his ongoing work on serial reproduction and face perception! (April 2015)

  • Congratulations to undergraduate researcher Adam Lowet, who has been selected to receive a 2015 Yale College Freshman Summer Research Fellowship in the Sciences and Engineering, awarded to support his work in the lab this coming summer on the nature of shape representation and awareness! (April 2015)

  • On a new episode of Brain Games on the National Geographic Channel -- Memory (first airing on 2/16) -- Brian talks about working memory, chunking, and spreading activation. (February 2015)

  • On Thursday 1/8, Brian will give one of the keynote addresses -- titled Core knowledge grows up -- at the BCCCD conference in Budapest. (January 2015)

Lab News Archive

Brian Scholl (Email, Personal Homepage)
Lab Director, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science
Brian's recent research interests include:
• Visual awareness
• How seeing relates to thinking
• How the mind represents objects
• The perception of animacy, causality, and time
• 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 the perception of causal history and subjective time dilation. 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.
Hannah Raila (Email)
Graduate Student
Hannah, a student in the Clinical Psychology program, 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.
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. Before coming to Yale he worked 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 (Email)
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.
Adam Bear
Graduate Student, Rand + 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.
Clara Colombatto
Graduate Student, Human Neuroscience Lab
Clara is interested in the perceptual bases of social cognition, and is currently exploring how early visual processing may influence moral judgement. Before Yale, she studied philosophy at Duke, where she worked with Steve Mitroff and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong on drawings, license plates, and other deep philosophical issues. Clara is from Italy, and can often be found drinking espresso and/or talking with her hands.
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 exploit an amazing form of retinotopically-specific visual adaptation as a tool to explore how causal perception may come in multiple distinct categories (such as launching, triggering, and breaking). An embarrassing number of his study ideas originate in his collection of old cartoons and Calvin & Hobbes comics.
Monica Rosenberg (Personal Homepage)
Graduate Student, Visual Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
Monica studies how we sustain attention (or fail to do so) and tries to find ways to improve attentional performance. Recently, she has used models based on functional brain networks to predict attentional abilities (but, fearing the worst, refuses to make a prediction from her own fMRI data). When she's not working hard to focus on attention, you can find her watching samurai movies and wearing animal sweaters.
Adam Lowet
Research Assistant
Adam previously spent time at the NINDS at NIH, looking at the functional dynamics of voltage-gated potassium channels. This naturally led him to our lab, where he is currently studying the nature of visual awareness and shape representation. Adam is going to bring brain science and mind science together. When he's not in the lab, you may find him juggling or playing basketball. When he is in the lab, you may find him juggling or playing (paper) basketball.
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
Currently: Associate Professor, Princeton University, Department of Psychology
While in the lab from 2004 to 2009, Nick studied perception, learning, and attention, and made several discoveries related to visual statistical learning. Nick, now a Professor at Princeton, also lured Brian into 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
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: Professor, George Washington University, Department of Psychology
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, though Brian is also happy to be free of Steve's strict ban on the use of 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)
Affect Regulation & Cognition Lab (Jutta Joorman)
Automaticity Lab (John Bargh)
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 Neuroscience Lab (Steve Chang)
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, the National Institutes of Health, and the Office of Naval Research. 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.