AFC Lab Talk Series

We host a virtual talk series on Wednesdays. 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.

Mon, 13 Jun 2022
Perception during visual disruptions
Grace Edwards & Lina Teichmann
Visual perception is perceived as continuous despite frequent disruptions in our visual environment. For example, internal events, such as saccadic eye-movements, and external events, such as object occlusion temporarily prevent visual information from reaching the brain. Combining evidence from these two models of visual disruption (occlusion and saccades), we will describe what information is maintained and how it is updated across the sensory interruption. Lina Teichmann will focus on dynamic occlusion and demonstrate how object motion is processed through perceptual gaps. Grace Edwards will then describe what pre-saccadic information is maintained across a saccade and how it interacts with post-saccadic processing in retinotopically relevant areas of the early visual cortex. Both occlusion and saccades provide a window into how the brain bridges perceptual disruptions. Our evidence thus far suggests a role for extrapolation, integration, and potentially suppression in both models. Combining evidence from these typically separate fields enables us to determine if there is a set of mechanisms which support visual processing during visual disruptions in general.
Mon, 27 Jun 2022
The role of top-down mechanisms in gaze perception
Université de Genève
Humans, as a social species, have an increased ability to detect and perceive visual elements involved in social exchanges, such as faces and eyes. The gaze, in particular, conveys information crucial for social interactions and social cognition. Researchers have hypothesized that in order to engage in dynamic face-to-face communication in real time, our brains must quickly and automatically process the direction of another person's gaze. There is evidence that direct gaze improves face encoding and attention capture and that direct gaze is perceived and processed more quickly than averted gaze. These results are summarized as the "direct gaze effect". However, in the recent literature, there is evidence to suggest that the mode of visual information processing modulates the direct gaze effect. In this presentation, I argue that top-down processing, and specifically the relevance of eye features to the task, promotes the early preferential processing of direct versus indirect gaze. On the basis of several recent evidences, I propose that low task relevance of eye features will prevent differences in eye direction processing between gaze directions because its encoding will be superficial. Differential processing of direct and indirect gaze will only occur when the eyes are relevant to the task. To assess the implication of task relevance on the temporality of cognitive processing, we will measure event-related potentials (ERPs) in response to facial stimuli. In this project, instead of typical ERP markers such as P1, N170 or P300, we will measure lateralized ERPs (lERPS) such as lateralized N170 and N2pc, which are markers of early face encoding and attentional deployment respectively. I hypothesize that the relevance of the eye feature task is crucial in the direct gaze effect and propose to revisit previous studies, which had questioned the existence of the direct gaze effect. This claim will be illustrate with different past studies and recent preliminary data of my lab. Overall, I propose a systematic evaluation of the role of top-down processing in early direct gaze perception in order to understand the impact of context on gaze perception and, at a larger scope, on social cognition.