Imagery and Spatial Cognition: Methods models and cognitive assessment

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Knowledge about the size and shape of our body is essential for perception and action. We examine the cognitive representation of the spatial human body structure to examine the plasticity of this representation using virtual reality.

Neural Mechanisms of Spatial Cognition and Imagination

In collaboration with we examine the cognitive structure of bodily self perception and the body representation using full body illusions. Facial expressions provide rich information about the cognitive and emotional states of another person. Although facial expressions are inherently dynamic relatively little is known about the perceptual-cognitive processes underlying facial expression recognition. We are interested in the underlying representations of dynamic facial expression.

Among other things we are using adaptation paradigms and 3D facial models to examine the processes involved in emotional facial expression recognition. I have taught several courses e. Our role is to mediate in all kinds of work related sensitive matters. Please feel free to approach us personally or by e-mail. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

I have developed an experiment database web interface for the recruitment of participants at the University of Toronto using html, php, mysql and the participant database for the Max Planck Institute Department Human Perception, Cognition, and Action. This version is now up and running. We are developed a processing pipline to display motion capture information as recorded by moven suits XSENS within the psychophysics toolbox.

My research projects examine how people process, represent, and understand visual information pertaining to social actions, body, and faces. I am working on several projects:.

Body image, visual working memory and visual mental imagery

Previous research efforts have explained action recognition in a bottom-up fashion, e. However, the process of associating visual action information with semantic action knowledge action recognition is flexible and under top-down control. In our work try to describe and better understand this flexible mapping of visual information onto semantic knowledge. We examine the influences of social context, the nature of semantic representations, and the role of low level visual information in the fovea and periphery to better understand how humans are able to easily understand actions.

Action do not occur out of the blue but are embedded within a social context. Importantly the meaning of an action changes depending on the context in which is embedded. The differentiation between 'laughing about someone' and 'laughing with someone' is indicative for the social context being important for the interpretation of an action. Here we demonstrate that social context modulates action recognition mechanisms in a top-down fashion and provide the first evidence for action recognition being under top-down control.

Specifically, action recognition mechanisms are sensitive to the action goal or action intention that is implied by social context rather than the visual action information. In particular we are interested in the cognitive processes that support the human ability to tell action apart action categorization. We examine to what degree action representations underlying the categorization of actions are sensitive to motion or semantic information see. An important method for this investigation is action morphing, which allows the creation of action stimuli that cross semantic action category boundaries.

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We examine how visual to what degree action representation of individual actions overlap with those of social interactions and whether social interactions are encoded in a view-dependent manner. Our results indicate that social interactions are encoded in a view dependent manner. Action recognition is often understood of associating visual action information with one action interpretation. A largely unanswered question whether visual information can be associated with different action interpretations.


  1. Introduction.
  2. Spatial Cognition in the Virtual Environment?
  3. Stephan de la Rosa.

In this project we examine the different levels of cognitive representations in social interaction recognition. We are using an free categorization tasks to examine, whether and which social interaction humans perceive as more similar.

Social & Spatial Cognition | Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics Tübingen

Furthermore we try to determine the factors underlying this categorization. Our results show that the physical pattern of a social action is associated with several action interpretations. Moreover, the recognition of a social action is faster at its more general i. Series: Advances in consciousness research, v.


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    Social Perception, Cognition, and Action

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