It’s been an active summer for the lab. We had a visitor from IT Gandhinigar (Samruddhi Damle) who visited on a Shastri Fellowship. We had time to conduct a quick, but interesting project on whether the emotion of a facial expression might alter the perceived contrast of a face the way exogenous cues alter the contrast of a Gabor. I hope to be able to link to a more complete report of this project soon as Sam is preparing it for presentation at a meeting back home in India.

Another big event, bigger really, was Sean Griffin’s completion of the master’s program. His thesis can be found here. Sean completed a series of empirical studies on the influence of probabilistic biases for target locations to see if the biases influenced the perceptual experience of participants so as to bias their “voluntary” attention in a perceptual illusion. Coming up with a reliable task for the latter was a real challenge, as was the later extrapolation to eye tracking. With the latter tool some interesting findings emerged. The history of target locations influences saccadic reaction time primarily through a strong bias towards common locations. This is great when the target appears where it is probable, but has a big cost otherwise. Some of the details can be found in the poster Sean presented (Supplementary Material) at CSBBCS 2019 that was hosted by the University of Waterloo this year. I guess that was another big happening.