Welcome to the Perception and Cognition Lab at the University of California, San Diego, led by Dr. John Serences. We are based in the Department of Psychology, but also participate in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience and the Institute for Neural Computation.
Our research focuses on understanding how behavioral goals influence perception, decision making, and memory. Perception is thought to be based on the activity of sensory neurons that receive input from the world around us (in the form of light, sound, etc.). However, sensory neurons are very noisy and unreliable, so small groups of these neurons must work together to support stable perceptual representations. In addition, a combination of factors such as prior experiences, current expectations, and behavioral goals influence the activity of sensory neurons to bias perception in favor of the most important objects in the environment. What we experience is therefore not merely a product of the raw sensory input, but instead reflects the combined influence of sensory factors and the internal state of the observer. To investigate the influence of behavioral goals and previous experiences on perception and cognition, we employ a combination of psychophysics, computational modeling, and neuroimaging techniques.
Kia and I reflect on Kastner's landmark 1999 'baseline shift' paper Trends in Neuroscience.
Tommy, Sirawaj, and Vy examine the influence of stimulus salience and voluntary attention on priority maps Journal of Neurophysiology. Dissociable signatures of visual salience and behavioral relevance across attentional priority maps in human cortex
Stephanie's new paper examining the link between alpha amplitude and instantaneous frequency Nature Communications. Fluctuations in instantaneous frequency predict alpha amplitude during visual perception
University of California San Diego