AFC Lab Talk Series

We host a virtual talk series on Thursdays at 1600 CET. Our aim: to support early-career researchers and underrepresented groups by providing a platform for their work and increasing networking opportunities.

If you'd like to give a talk, drop us a message and we'll get it organised.

For details on how to access the talks and view the event schedule, see the World Wide Neuro site.

15 April 2021
The recent history of the replication crisis in psychology & how Open Science can be part of the solution
Goethe University Frankfurt
In recent years, more and more evidence has accumulated showing that many studies in psychological research cannot be replicated, effects are often overestimated, and little is publicly known about unsuccessful studies. What are the mechanisms behind this crisis? In this talk, I will explain how we got there and why it is still difficult to break free from the current system. I will further explain which role Open Science plays within the replication crisis and how it can help to improve science. This might sound like a pessimistic, negative talk, but I will end it on a positive note, I promise!
22 April 2021
Beyond visual search: studying visual attention with multitarget visual foraging tasks
University of Bordeaux
Visual attention refers to a set of processes allowing selection of relevant and filtering out of irrelevant information in the visual environment. A large amount of research on visual attention has involved visual search paradigms, where observers are asked to report whether a single target is present or absent. However, recent studies have revealed that these classic single-target visual search tasks only provide a snapshot of how attention is allocated in the visual environment, and that multitarget visual foraging tasks may capture the dynamics visual attention more accurately. In visual foraging, observers are asked to select multiple instances of multiple target types, as fast as they can. A critical question in foraging research concerns the factors driving the next target selection. Most likely, this would require two steps: (1) identifying a set of candidates for the next selection, and (2) selecting the best option among these candidates. After having briefly described the advantage of visual foraging over visual search, I will review recent visual foraging studies testing the influence of several manipulations (e.g., target crypticity, number of items, selection modality) on foraging behaviour. Overall, these studies revealed that the next target selection during visual foraging is determined by the competition between three factors: target value, target proximity, and priming of features. I will explain how the analysis of individual differences in foraging behaviour can provide important information, with the idea that individuals show by-default internal biases toward value, proximity and priming that determine their search strategy and behaviour.
29 April 2021
The contribution of the dorsal visual pathway to perception and action
York University
The human visual system enables us to recognize objects (e.g., this is a cup) and act upon them (e.g., grasp the cup) with astonishing ease and accuracy. For decades, it was widely accepted that these different functions rely on two separated cortical pathways. The ventral occipitotemporal pathway subserves object recognition, while the dorsal occipitoparietal pathway promotes visually guided actions. In my talk, I will discuss recent evidence from a series of neuropsychological, developmental and neuroimaging studies that were aimed to explore the nature of object representations in the dorsal pathway. The results from these studies highlight the plausible role of the dorsal pathway in object perception and reveal an interplay between shape representations derived by the two pathways. Together, these findings challenge the binary distinction between the two pathways and are consistent with the view that object recognition is not the sole product of ventral pathway computations, but instead relies on a distributed network of regions.
06 May 2021
Searching for the Super-Searchers
University of Essex
A striking range of individual differences has been reported in a variety of visual search tasks, which naturally leads to the idea that some people are better at finding things than others. However, this conclusion appears to be premature. We carried out a replication of three recent visual search experiments and found that each task showed a wide range of individual differences as predicted, and observed good test-retest reliability in all three. However, performance on any one task was not correlated with the performance in the others: participants who naturally adopt efficient search strategies in one paradigm may perform at chance in another! Furthermore, we also show that behaviour in different versions of the same paradigm can be radically different: When simple line segments are used for search items, a large range of search strategies are found. If we instead use more complex search items, all our participants effortlessly adopt an optimal strategy. These results suggest search strategies are stable over time, but context-specific. To understand visual search we, therefore, need to account not only for differences between individuals but also how individuals interact with the search task and context.
20 May 2021
Lessons from the credibility revolution – social thermoregulation as a case study
Université Grenoble Alpes
The goal of this talk is to first provide a realization of why the replication crisis is omnipresent and then point to several tools via which the listener can improve their own work. To do so, I will go through our own work on social thermoregulation, point out why I thought changes were necessary, discuss which shortcomings we have in our own work, which measures we have taken to reduce those shortcomings, which tools we have relied on to do so, and which steps I believe we still need to make. Specifically, I will go through the following points: (1) Major replication failures and data fabrication in the field of psychology (2) Replication failures of social thermoregulation studies (3) Realization that many of our studies were underpowered (4) Realization that many of our studies were very narrow in scope (i.e., in undergraduate students and mostly in EU/US) (5) Realization that a lot of our measures were not independently validated I will show these for our own work (but will also show why, via a meta-analysis, we have enough confidence to proceed with social thermoregulation research). Throughout the talk I will point you to the following tools that facilitate our work: (a) Templates for exploratory and confirmatory research and for meta-analyses (developed for our work, but easily adaptable for other programs). I will also show you how to fork our templates. (b) A lab philosophy (c) A research milestones sheet for collaborations and overviews (d) Excel sheet for contributorship (e) A tutorial for exploratory research I would recommend listeners to read through this chapter before the talk (I will repeat a lot of that work, but I will go into greater depth).
27 May 2021
The Jena Voice Learning and Memory Test (JVLMT)
University of Jena
The ability to recognize someone’s voice spans a broad spectrum with phonagnosia on the low end and super recognition at the high end. Yet there is no standardized test to measure the individual ability to learn and recognize newly-learnt voices with samples of speech-like phonetic variability. We have developed the Jena Voice Learning and Memory Test (JVLMT), a 20 min-test based on item response theory and applicable across different languages. The JVLMT consists of three phases in which participants are familiarized with eight speakers in two stages and then perform a three-alternative forced choice recognition task, using pseudo sentences devoid of semantic content. Acoustic (dis)similarity analyses were used to create items with different levels of difficulty. Test scores are based on 22 Rasch-conform items. Items were selected and validated in online studies based on 232 and 454 participants, respectively. Mean accuracy is 0.51 with an SD of .18. The JVLMT showed high and moderate correlations with convergent validation tests (Bangor Voice Matching Test; Glasgow Voice Memory Test) and a weak correlation with a discriminant validation test (Digit Span). Empirical (marginal) reliability is 0.66. Four participants with super recognition (at least 2 SDs above the mean) and 7 participants with phonagnosia (at least 2 SDs below the mean) were identified. The JVLMT is a promising screen too for voice recognition abilities in a scientific and neuropsychological context.
03 June 2021
Why does online collaboration work? Insights into sequential collaboration
University of Mannheim
The last two decades have seen a rise in online projects such as Wikipedia or OpenStreetMap in which people collaborate to create a common product. Contributors in such projects often work together sequentially. Essentially, the first contributor generates an entry (e.g., a Wikipedia article) independently which is then adjusted in the following by other contributors by adding or correcting information. We refer to this way of working together as sequential collaboration. This process has not yet been studied in the context of judgment and decision making even though research has demonstrated that Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap yield very accurate information. In this talk, I give first insights into the structure of sequential collaboration, how adjusting each other’s judgments can yield more accurate final estimates, which boundary conditions need to be met, and which underlying mechanisms may be responsible for successful collaboration. A preprint is available at
17 June 2021
Getting to know you: emerging neural representations during face familiarization
Friedrich-Schiller University Jena
The successful recognition of familiar persons is critical for social interactions. Despite extensive research on the neural representations of familiar faces, we know little about how such representations unfold as someone becomes familiar. In three EEG experiments, we elucidated how representations of face familiarity and identity emerge from different qualities of familiarization: brief perceptual exposure (Experiment 1), extensive media familiarization (Experiment 2) and real-life personal familiarization (Experiment 3). Time-resolved representational similarity analysis revealed that familiarization quality has a profound impact on representations of face familiarity: they were strongly visible after personal familiarization, weaker after media familiarization, and absent after perceptual familiarization. Across all experiments, we found no enhancement of face identity representation, suggesting that familiarity and identity representations emerge independently during face familiarization. Our results emphasize the importance of extensive, real-life familiarization for the emergence of robust face familiarity representations, constraining models of face perception and recognition memory.
12 July 2021
Redressing imbalances in the kind of research that gets done and who gets credit for it
University of Sydney
If we want good work to get done, we should credit those who do it. In science, researchers are credited predominantly via authorship on publications. But many contributions to modern research are not recognized with authorship, due in part to the high bar imposed by the authorship criteria of many journals. “Contributorship” is a more inclusive framework for indicating who did what in the work described by a paper, and many scientific journals have recently implemented versions of it. I will consider the motivation for and specifics of this change, describe the tenzing tool we created to facilitate it, and how we might want to support and shape the shift toward contributorship.
29 July 2021
Age-related dedifferentiation across representational levels and their relation to memory performance
Malte Kobelt
Ruhr-University Bochum
Episodic memory performance decreases with advancing age. According to theoretical models, such memory decline might be a consequence of age-related reductions in the ability to form distinct neural representations of our past. In this talk, I want to present our new age-comparative fMRI study investigating age-related neural dedifferentiation across different representational levels. By combining univariate analyses and searchlight pattern similarity analyses, we found that older adults show reduced category selective processing in higher visual areas, less specific item representations in occipital regions and less stable item representations. Dedifferentiation on all these representational levels was related to memory performance, with item specificity being the strongest contributor. Overall, our results emphasize that age-related dedifferentiation can be observed across the entire cortical hierarchy which may selectively impair memory performance depending on the memory task.