Senior Honors Projects 2015_16

(St Andrews, School of Psychology and Neuroscience students only)

How we perceive the visual world is vital to understanding how we interact with it. I am interested in ecologically valid stimuli, that is the theory that how we perceive the world is driven by what we see. As a project this would involve looking at low level vison; that is the simple shapes we see every day.

Suggested areas:

  1. Do ecologically valid stimuli account for human vision, and if so how much? This project would involve comparing human responses to fake verses real stimuli.
  2. Binocular perception, does the brain use ‘lie-detectors’ to detect false disparities. The visual system uses image from the left and right eyes to build a 3D picture of the world (stereopsis). This involves matching the image in the left eye to the image in the right eye. Many of these matches will be false matches. This project would investigate how the brain deals with these false matches.
  3. Using reverse correlation to probe how the human visual system combines binocular stimuli.
  4. I am also interested in human visual processing of faces, it is believed that the brain breaks faces up into individual components (this can be observed by googling the ‘thatcher effect’). A project in this area could use reverse correlation to probe how the human visual system processes faces.

If any of these projects interest you email me to make an appointment my university email address is



Suggested reading. Numbers indicate the project area (above)

Project 4:
Dotsch, R., & Todorov, A. (2012). Reverse correlating social face perception. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3(5), 562-571.

Bruce C. Hansen, Benjamin Thompson, Robert F. Hess, Dave Ellemberg, Extracting the internal representation of faces from human brain activity: An analogue to reverse correlation, NeuroImage, Volume 51, Issue 1, 15 May 2010, Pages 373-390, ISSN 1053-8119,

Project 1:
H. E. Gerhard, F. A. Wichmann, and M. Bethge
How Sensitive Is the Human Visual System to the Local Statistics of Natural Images?
PLoS Computational Biology, 9(1), 2013

Project 2:
Read JCA, Cumming BG. Sensors for impossible stimuli may solve the stereo correspondence problem. Nature neuroscience. 2007;10(10):1322-1328. doi:10.1038/nn1951.

Project 3:
Probing the human stereoscopic system with reverse correlation
Neri P, Parker AJ, Blakemore C Nature 401 695-8 (1999)

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