Human Perception, Cognition & Action

Prof. Dr. Heinrich Bülthoff

The department is concerned with the fundamental processes of human perception. The primary focus is how the information from different sense organs is integrated to create a consistent representation of the “world in our heads”.

Traditional psychophysics methods are combined with the most up-to-date computer graphics and Virtual Reality systems to understand the “algorithms of perception”. Psychophysics addresses the mathematical description of associations between physical stimuli and the perceptions they trigger in humans. The use of computer simulations and realistic virtual environments to carry out psychophysical experiments maximizes the possibility of dynamic feedback and interactivity. At the same time, this approach allows complete control over all the aspects of the simulation to reach accurate conclusions about human perception.

The research focuses on the integration of information from the visual, haptic and balance senses and on the development of efficient algorithms for building assistant systems to help the aging society to cope with the challenges of the decline with age in perceptual and cognitive capabilities.

Groups within the Department

We can easily recognize and categorize objects at different levels depending on task requirements. An animal can be recognized as belonging to a category such as “a dog” (categorization) or as “my dog Bashi” (identification). Among all categories of objects, faces constitute a very special class because of their social importance and their high intra-group similarity. Therefore, the RECCAT group mainly focuses on the perception of faces, with an added interest for the perception of human bodies and other objects. [more]
In the CAPA group, we investigate human manual control behavior in order to increase our understanding of how humans use information perceived from their environment to generate control actions. This knowledge can be used to better support humans when performing control tasks, such as steering a vehicle. [more]
The subjective experience of locomotion, i.e. the displacement of a human observer through the environment, is what we call self-motion. To fully comprehend this pervasive experience, we take a two-fold approach. 1. We carry out fundamental research to investigate human perception of self-motion; 2. We develop state-of-the-art motion simulation technologies and algorithms. Ultimately, these two research directions build upon each other. [more]

Former Research groups

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