Computational Psychology

at the Technische Universität Berlin

We study visual perception in humans, both experimentally and through computational modeling. We focus on the question how meaningful perceptual categories arise from a given sensory stimulation. In vision the sensory stimulation is the information available in the light signal incident at the eye. We tackle this problem with psychophysical experiments and measure for example how surface appearance is related to physical surface properties under varying viewing conditions. We formulate computational models to account for the perceptual judgments observers make. In addition, we revise and develop experimental techniques that we can use to reliably assess observers' perceptions.
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News

In our research group "Computational Psychology" we are looking for a

Student Assistant (m/f/d)

Working hours: 40 hours per month Duration: from 01. October 2021 - 31. August 2022

Responsibilities:

The excellence cluster Science of Intelligence would like to recruit motivated students for the project “Object-level scene descriptions and attention in visual search”, targeting a better understanding of visual processes in humans and synthetic systems. Successful applicants will be integrated into small teams of scientists and undergraduate students. The main tasks of the applicants will focus on implementing software for synthetic models of visual processes relevant for object segmentation.

Knowledge and skills required:

Very good programming skills with Python, strong interest in the human visual system, very good oral and written English proficiency.

Notes on the application:

Please send your application with the usual documents exclusively by e-mail to Lynn Schmittwilken at l.schmittwilken@tu-berlin.de . Reference number: 3434T68/21. Application deadline is 25. August 2021.

By submitting an online application, you as an applicant give your consent to your data being processed and stored electronically. We would like to point out that if your application is sent electronically without protection, no guarantee can be given for the security of the personal data transmitted.

In order to maintain equal opportunities between women and men, applications from women with the relevant qualifications are expressly welcome. Severely disabled persons will be given preferential consideration if they are equally qualified. The TU Berlin values the diversity of its members and pursues the goals of equal opportunities.


New group member: Nico Kestel

On June 2021, Nico Kestel joined us in our group. In his Bachelor thesis, Nico wants to explore how CNNs might benefit from using dynamic images derived from fixational eye movements instead of static images to recognize objects in naturalistic scenes.


PsyCo goes Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften!

Interested in a fun evening with Science of Intelligence as part of the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften 2021? Then sign up here for the Science Pub Quiz this Saturday, June 5th from 7.30-10 pm!

What is intelligence? Do beets float in water? Why should you pet your basil? Aravind Battaje and our lab member Lynn Schmittwilken will tell us about their latest research and answer your most burning questions about how humans and computers can perceive the world. The event will be held in English and German and is aimed at scientists and non-scientists alike. We are looking forward to seeing you!


Annual meeting of the Vision Science Society 2021

Joris Lynn Marianne and Max are happy to present their posters at virtual VSS!! We are looking forward to the annual meeting of the Vision Science Society! Here you can find Joris poster and here is Lynn’s poster and Marianne’s and Max poster


New group member: Wenwen Zhang

On April 2021, Wenwen Zhang joined us in our group. Wenwen studies the relationship between apparent contrast (supra-threshold discriminability) and contrast sensitivity (contrast discrimination thresholds) in human observers in her Bachelor thesis.


Carolin Brunn sucessfully defended her Bachelor thesis

We congratulate Carolin Brunn!! She successfully defended her Bachelor thesis on The Crispening Effect: An Artefact of a Method or a Feature of the visual System and moves on to her Master studies in Computer Science and to teaching computing to students. For more information about the program please click here


New group members: Amanda Maiwald, Christian Wohlhaupt and Matti Zinke

On April 2021, Amanda Maiwald Christian Wohlhaupt and Matti Zinke joined us in our group. Amanda explores gamification in the context of programming education in her Master thesis. Christian researches in his Bachelor thesis potential differences in the aesthetic perception of sunset-pictures by people of different geographic origin for marketing purposes. Matti Zinke is a Bachelor student at the TU Berlin.


PsyCo goes Girls' Day!

Have you ever wondered what the everyday worklife of a vision scientist might look like? One of our lab members, Lynn Schmittwilken, will talk about exactly this topic with a group of young girls during this year's Girls' Day on 22 April 2021 to encourage more girls to become vision scientists. For more information about the event, have a look here !


New group member: Marcus Bindermann

On April 2021, Marcus Bindermann joined us in our group to work on his Bachelor thesis project. Marcus is a Bachelor student in Computer Sciences at the TU Berlin.


Lynn Schmittwilken has been awarded a 2021 FoVea Travel and Networking Award!

We are happy to congratulate our lab member, Lynn Schmittwilken, for being awarded a 2021 FoVea Travel and Networking Award !


On 18 March 2021, Scholar Minds will talk about "Becoming aware through mindfulness" during the Brain Awareness Week 2021.

On Thursday, 18th of March, at 5pm Scholar Minds invites you to an online event about mindfulness and mental helath during the doctorate. Scholar Minds is a PhD initiative based in Berlin with the mission to help other PhD students to achieve a better mental health and work-life balance. Pursuing a doctorate is an exceptional time with great opportunities like investigating a phenomenon no one ever did before or discussing your research with new people from all over the world. But are you aware that this exceptional time also harbors exceptional dangers to your mental health? Are you aware that you as a PhD student are six times more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression? During the event, we will talk about mental health struggles related to the doctorate and introduce you to a tool to become more resilient: mindfulness. Mindfulness is a simple meditation tool that can help you to increase your mental well-being.

During the event, the mindfulness expert Dr. Simon Guendelman will present the concept of mindfulness and latest findings from (neuroscientific) research. On top, he will take us onto a little journey to become more aware about ourselves through mindfulness.

Register here: https://forms.gle/YpwcfRBkGGxy6Yhu5


New group member: Matko Matic

On March 2021, Matko Matic joined us in our group. Matko is a Master student in Information Systems and Signal Processing at KU Leuven. Currently, he is doing an Erasmus at the TU Berlin. He will support us as a research assistant (HiWi).


On 26 November 2020, Professor Michele Rucci (University of Rochester) gave a talk at the SCIoI Distinguished Lecture Series.

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Establishing a representation of space is a major goal of sensory systems. Spatial information, however, is not always explicit in the incoming sensory signals. In most modalities it needs to be actively extracted from cues embedded in the temporal flow of receptor activation. Vision, on the other hand, starts with a sophisticated optical imaging system that explicitly preserves spatial information on the retina. This may lead to the assumption that vision is predominantly a passive spatial process: all that is needed is to transmit the retinal image to the cortex, like uploading a digital photograph, to establish a spatial map of the world. However, this deceptively simple analogy is inconsistent with theoretical models and experiments that study visual processing in the context of normal motor behavior. In his talk, Michele argued that, as with other senses, vision relies heavily on sensorimotor strategies to extract and represent spatial information in the temporal domain.

You can find an overview on his scientific work here


Yiqun Xiao sucessfully defended Master thesis

Perceived contrast in Chubb et al. (1989) compared to variegated checkerboards.

We congratulate Yiqun Xiao!! She successfully defended her Master thesis titled "Perceived Contrast in Variegated Checkerboards". In her thesis she studied the contrast-contrast effect (Chubb, Sperling & Solomon, 1990) in variegated checkerboards (left image) and compared it to the original effect (right image). Click here if you want to find out more details about her work.


Codary Project

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We congratulate Amanda, Antonia & Nikolaj that their project Codary is supported by one of the coveted Berlin Startup Scholarships since October 2020. Codary is based at the Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Technische Universität Berlin.


New publication in Journal of Vision

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Marianne's and Guillermo's paper entitled "Towards reliable measurements of perceptual scales in multiple contexts" has published in the April's 2020 issue of Journal of Vision. You can find it following this link.


New group member: Maximilian Pohlmann

On March 2020 Maximilian Pohlmann. joined us in our group. Maximilian is a Bachelor student and will support us as a research assistant (HiWi).


On 12 December 2019, Professor William H. Warren (Brown University) kicked off the SCIoI Distinguished Lecture Series.

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William Warren earned his undergraduate degree at Hampshire College (1976), his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Connecticut (1982), did post-doctoral work at the University of Edinburgh, and has been a professor at Brown ever since.

His research focuses on the visual control of action – in particular, human locomotion and navigation. On the one hand, he wants to understand how motor behavior such as gait and other rhythmic movements are dynamically organized. On the other, he seeks to explain how such behavior is adaptively regulated by visual information in complex environments. Using virtual reality techniques, William H. Warren's research team investigates problems such as the visual control of steering, obstacle avoidance, pedestrian interactions, and collective crowd behavior.


New group members: Joris Vincent, Lynn Schmittwilken, Bernhard Lang and Bianca del Mestre

On November Joris joined us in our group. Joris joined us as a Post-doc. He is from the University of Pennsylvania, Dept. of Neurology. His contact details can be found in People.

On October three new members joined us in our group. Lynn joined us as a Ph.D. student, and she is part of the Science of Intelligence's Doctoral Programm. Bernhard is co-supervised as a Ph.D. student in our lab. And Bianca is our new secretary. Their contact details can be found in People.


ECVP19: we organized a Symposium and contributed with a talk

ECVP 2019 animated logo

Marianne Maertens co-organized the Symposium Maximum Likelihood Difference Scaling (MLDS): Applications and challenges for the European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) held last August in Leuven, Belgium. One of the five talks was given by Guillermo Aguilar with the title "Lightness scales measured with MLDS and MLCM in multiple contexts". The abstracts can be found here.