Contact

Dr. Ksander de Winkel

Address: Spemannstr. 41
72076 Tübingen
Room number: 2.A.02
Phone: +49 7071 601 641
Fax: +49 7071 601 616
E-Mail: ksander.dewinkel

 

Picture of de Winkel, Ksander, Dr.

Ksander de Winkel

Position: Project Leader  Unit: Bülthoff

Research Scientist in the Motion Perception and Simulation research group

When we move through our surroundings, the information that our visual system and other sensory systems provide on self-motion is generally in agreement. When multiple sources provide the same information, this information can be combined to form the most reliable estimate of our motion. However, in motion simulators the information that is presented to the different sensory systems does not have to be in agreement. Hence, in this case the brain can be faced with a problem of Causal Inference: do different sensory signals share a common cause or not? Should the information be combined or not? In my research I investigate how large discrepancies between stimuli presented to different sensory modalities may become before they are noticed, and how our perceptions are affected by detection of a discrepancy.

 

The knowledge that we gain from this research finds applications in the work of my group, the Motion Perception and Simulation group. Knowledge of discrepancy-detection thresholds is incorporated in algorithms that translate vehicle motion into simulator motion, in order to make optimal use of a motion simulator’s capabilities.

 

Background

In 2008, I graduated cum laude from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, with a Master’s degree in Applied Cognitive Psychology. For my Master’s thesis, I studied whether perception of a touch-induced illusory flash is reflected in modulation of activity in the brain’s visual cortex by tactile stimulation. This work kindled my interest in how our perceptions result from the flood of information about our environment provided by our sensory systems. I subsequently started a research project on multisensory integration in the perception of self-motion and spatial orientation as a PhD-student at Utrecht University and the Netherlands Institute for Applied Scientic Research (TNO). I completed this project with a doctorate in 2013.

 

After a brief foray into industry as a data scientist, during which I worked on statistical models to guide decision making, I returned to research on self-motion perception here at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in 2014.

Post-doc project: Causal Inference in the Perception of Self-Motion

Introduction

In motion simulator environments, visual and physical cues to self-motion can be varied independently. This allows for the development and implementation of perceptual tricks to overcome a simulator’s limitations with respect to motion space, but consequently raises the question to what extent multisensory cues may differ without affecting perceptual congruence. The set of physically incongruent combinations of visual and physical motions that are nonetheless judged congruent by human observers is referred to as the ‘Coherence Zone’ (CZ) [1].

 

Goals

Studies on CZ that are available in the literature employ various methodologies. This prevents a comprehensive interpretation of their results. Moreover, the CZ is defined as a deterministic quantity, and in itself does not provide predictions on what will actually be perceived given particular cues. We aim to develop a probabilistic model of self-motion perception that performs Causal Inference [2]. Causal Inference can be interpreted as an explicit evaluation of the probability that visual and inertial cues have a common cause, analogue to the CZ.

 

Methods

Development of a probabilistic framework requires both modeling and model-validation. We will assess the tenability of the proposed model [2]. Validation is done by comparing model predictions on perceptual accuracy and precision to measurements thereof. To this end, human subjects will be presented with both congruent and incongruent combinations of visual and physical motion stimuli in the MPI CyberMotion Simulator. Measurements of perceptual accuracy and precision will be obtained by applying common psychophysical methods: using direct measurements where possible, and indirect methods, such as forced-choice paradigms, when necessary.

 

Initial results

Preliminary results from a study designed to assess the tenability of the Causal Inference model indicate that people's perceptions are affected differently by incongruences. While some people seemed to be oblivious to the incongruences, others responded in a way that can be modelled with Causal Inference. The latter results provide support for the application of a Causal Inference model to improve upon the current interpretation of the CZ.

An example of the result of the modeling effort for an individual participant is given in Figure 1, which represents the probability that a particular combination of a visual motion stimulus with heading θV and an inertial motion stimulus with heading θI will be interpreted as coherent. Causal Inference model predictions on perceived heading
Figure 1. Probability of perceptual congruence as a function of visual (θV) and inertial heading angle (θI). Yellow corresponds to high probability.

Initial conclusion

The proposed model predicts the probability of detection of incongruence for any given pair of visual and inertial cues. Next to furthering our understanding of human self-motion perception, the Causal Inference model can be applied in the development of motion cueing algorithms for motion simulations, where it can provide predictions as to how much the multisensory cues may differ without affecting perceptual congruence.

 

References

[1] Van der Steen FAM (1998) self-motion perception Phd Thesis, Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering

[2] Körding KP, Beierholm U, Ma WJ, Quartz S, Tenenbaum JB, Shams L (2007) causal inference in multisensory perception PLoS ONE 2 e943

Ksander N. de Winkel

I am a researcher in the field of psychophysics and self-motion perception. My main research topics are cue combination in multisensory perception, perception of self-motion, and perception of spatial orientation.

 

Current position

Since March '14 Research scientist at Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany at the Motion Perception and Simulation research group

Education

2008 - 2013

Ph.D. Candidate at Utrecht University, department of Information and Computing Sciences, and TNO Defence, Safety & Security
Thesis title: Multisensory Perception of Spatial Orientation and Self-Motion

2011 Applied Bayesian Statistics (course) Interuniversitaire Onderzoekschool voor Psychometrie en Sociometrie, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
2009 Mathematical Statistics (course) Graduate School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
2007 - 2008 Master of Science (M.Sc.) Applied Cognitive Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Thesis title: Touch-induced illusory flash alters activity in the human visual cortex.
2004 - 2007 Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Psychology , Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

 

Experience

2013 - 2014 Data scientist at Assensia Business Intelligence. Amersfoort, The Netherlands.
data-modelling and development of statistical models to aid human decision making.
2008 - 2013 PhD-student at Utrecht University , Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht, The Netherlands and TNO Defence, Safety & Security Soesterberg, The Netherlands
Project: study multisensory interactions in the perception of self-motion and body-orientation.
2007 - 2008 Research Internship at TNO Defence, Safety & Security Soesterberg, The Netherlands
Project: Research on the neurological underpinnings of visual illusions

 

Honors and awards

2012 Young Researcher Grant awarded by ESA Scientific Committee at the “Life in Space for Life on Earth Symposium”, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.
2008 Received M.Sc. degree cum laude (highest distinction)

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Show abstracts

Articles (8):

Nesti A, de Winkel K and Bülthoff HH (January-2017) Accumulation of Inertial Sensory Information in the Perception of Whole Body Yaw Rotation PLoS ONE 12(1) 1-14.
de Winkel KN, Katliar M and Bülthoff HH (January-2017) Causal Inference in Multisensory Heading Estimation PLoS ONE 12(1) 1-20.
de Winkel KN, Katliar M and Bülthoff HH (May-2015) Forced Fusion in Multisensory Heading Estimation PLoS ONE 10(5) 1-20.
van Erp JBF, Philippi TG, de Winkel KN and Werkhoven P (March-2014) Pre- and post-stimulus EEG patterns associated with the touch-induced illusory flash Neuroscience Letters 562 79–84.
de Winkel KN, Soyka F, Barnett-Cowan M, Bülthoff HH, Groen EL and Werkhoven PJ (November-2013) Integration of visual and inertial cues in the perception of angular self-motion Experimental Brain Research 231(2) 209-218.
Correia Gracio BJ, de Winkel KN, Groen EL, Wentink M and Bos JE (February-2013) The time constant of the somatogravic illusion Experimental Brain Research 224(3) 313-321.
de Winkel KN, Clément G, Groen EL and Werkhoven PJ (October-2012) The perception of verticality in lunar and Martian gravity conditions Neuroscience Letters 529(1) 7–11.
de Winkel KN, Weesie J, Werkhoven PJ and Groen EL (October-2010) Integration of visual and inertial cues in perceived heading of self-motion Journal of Vision 10(12:1) 1-10.

Conference papers (4):

de Winkel KN, Katliar M and Bülthoff HH (September-2015) Heading Coherence Zone from Causal Inference Modelling, DSC 2015 Europe: Driving Simulation Conference & Exhibition, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, 67-70.
Katliar M, de Winkel KN, Venrooij J, Pretto P and Bülthoff HH (September-2015) Impact of MPC Prediction Horizon on Motion Cueing Fidelity, DSC 2015 Europe: Driving Simulation Conference & Exhibition, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, 219-222.
Venrooij J, Pretto P, Katliar M, Nooij SAE, Nesti A, Lächele M, de Winkel KN, Cleij D and Bülthoff HH (September-2015) Perception-based motion cueing: validation in driving simulation, DSC 2015 Europe: Driving Simulation Conference & Exhibition, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, 153-161.
pdf
de Winkel KN, Correia Grácio BJ, Groen EL and Werkhoven P (August-2010) Visual Inertial Coherence Zone in the Perception of Heading, AIAA Modeling and Simulation Technologies Conference 2010, Curran, Red Hook, NY, USA, 609-615.

Posters (4):

Nesti A, de Winkel K and Bülthoff HH (February-5-2016): Accumulation of sensory evidence in self-motion perception: long stimulus exposure facilitates discrimination of sinusoidal yaw rotations, 26th Oculomotor Meeting, Ulm, Germany.
de Winkel K and Bülthoff HH (June-15-2015): Effects of Motion Duration on Causal Inference in Multisensory Heading Estimation, 16th International Multisensory Research Forum (IMRF 2015), Pisa, Italy.
Soyka F, de Winkel K, Barnett-Cowan M, Groen E and Bülthoff HH (October-2011): Integration of visual and vestibular information used to discriminate rotational self-motion, 12th International Multisensory Research Forum (IMRF 2011), Fukuoka, Japan, i-Perception, 2(8) 855.
de Winkel K, Soyka F, Barnett-Cowan M, Groen E and Bülthoff HH (September-2011): Multisensory integration in the perception of self-motion about an Earth-vertical yaw axis, 34th European Conference on Visual Perception, Toulouse, France, Perception, 40(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 183.

Theses (1):

de Winkel KN: Multisensory perception of spatial orientation and self-motion, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands, (March-2013). PhD thesis

Talks (4):

de Winkel K (February-3-2017) Invited Lecture: Neural correlates of decision making on whole body yaw rotation: an fNIRS study, 27th Oculomotor Meeting, Tübingen, Germany.
de Winkel KN and Bülthoff HH (June-18-2016) Abstract Talk: Causal inference in multisensory heading estimation, 17th International Multisensory Research Forum (IMRF 2016), Suzhou, China 32-33.
de Winkel K (February-6-2015) Invited Lecture: Causal inference in multisensory heading estimation, 25th Ocular Motor Meeting, München, Germany.
de Winkel K (January-31-2015) Invited Lecture: Psychofysica: het verband tussen de wereld en onze waarneming, Nationale Wiskunde Dagen 2015 (NWD21): Freudenthal Instituut, Utrecht, The Netherlands 24-25.

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Last updated: Tuesday, 18.11.2014