Office: BH 471
Associate Director, Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Approaches to Plasticity (CNAP)
Office of Naval Research (ONR)
National Science Foundation (NSF): Grant website
Major Research Themes
- Scene perception and event comprehension
- Scene perception from central to peripheral vision (see special issue I have Guest-Edited for the Journal of Vision on this topic)
My work is concerned with scene perception, from both a perceptual and a cognitive viewpoint, and its real world applications. As we look around us, our eyes move about three times per second, presenting us with an ever-changing collage of real world scenes. As you look around at these scenes, you see innumerable objects. However, much research shows that you will likely only pay attention to and remember a few such objects in any given scene. My research investigates how we perceive, attend to, and remember scenes and the people, animals, and objects in them. The scope of this research can best be understood in terms of the time course of perception and mental representation. First, how can you view a scene and grasp its category within the first tenth of a second, easily distinguishing an office versus a parking lot versus a street? Next, as you proceed to observe such a scene, what causes you to look at certain people and objects and ignore others? Then, what effect does attending to a particular person or object in a scene have on later memory for that person or object versus others in the scene? Finally, how do we understand people’s actions, and related events, in both static scenes and film clips?
My research philosophy is that good basic research should always be capable of suggesting applications, and good applied research should always inform theories of perception and cognition. From an applied perspective, answering these questions is important for a wide range of application areas, including designing better human-computer interfaces and artificial vision systems. My applied work in human-computer interaction has investigated issues related to gaze-contingent displays. These are computer displays, like virtual reality or simulators, that use an eye tracker to identify where the viewer is looking, and then change the image relative to that location. For example, in research funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), we are developing a new dynamic measure of how much information a person can process from their visual field (the useful field of view, or UFOV) on a moment-by-moment basis. This research uses gaze-contingent displays to put perceptual targets at varying distances from a viewer’s center of vision as they look around a dynamic scene (e.g., in simulated driving). Important applications of this work include evaluation of the breadth of a person’s UFOV under varying levels of stress or cognitive load (e.g., driving under relaxed circumstances vs. during a battle) and training (e.g., to increase the breadth of people’s UFOV under stress). However, this applied work to develop a dynamic measure of the UFOV will allow us to ask and answer important theoretical questions about the nature of visual attention and its relationship to cognitive, emotional, and physical demands. Other applied research in our lab is investigating the use of visual cueing in learning Physics and Mathematics, which can inform theories of the role of visual attention in problem solving and learning. Likewise, my basic research on scene perception frequently involves collaborations with researchers in electrical and computer engineering with the applied goals of informing artificial vision systems and improving automated image searching on the internet.
I am currently working with a number of graduate and undergraduate students on several of the above research topics in visual cognition. My philosophy for working with students is to provide them with guidance in carrying out research while challenging them to contribute their own ideas and viewpoints. Undergraduate students who are interested in carrying out research on such topics can apply to be a PSYCH 599 research assistant in my lab. As a research assistant, students will have a chance to experience the entire cycle of research, from reading articles on a topic we are investigating, to generating research questions and hypotheses, to designing, preparing, and carrying out experiments, to analyzing the data, writing up the results, and presenting it at a conference, or even submitting it for publication in a scientific journal. The activities that an individual research assistant participates in depend on their level of motivation and commitment. Such experience is very valuable for understanding how research in graduate school is conducted, and can greatly strengthen a graduate school application.
Graduate students who are interested in working with me can either work on one of my on-going research projects or propose their own topic of research, depending on their level of experience and motivation. Graduate students will also gain valuable experience in supervising undergraduate research assistants in the lab. Support for graduate students comes from grant money when available, or departmental graduate teaching assistantships. Students who contribute significantly to our research will have ample opportunity to co-author publications resulting from it.
Students interested in working with me can contact me by phone (785-532-6882) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Recent Graduate Students
Adam M. Larson, <Google Scholar page>, B.S. Iowa State University. M.S., Ph.D. Kansas State University. Currently Assistant Professor in Psychology at University of Findlay. Adam has coauthored 11 papers (10 journal articles & 1 book chapter) with me (a sample of which is listed below) and has several others in progress or under submission. He did his MS thesis on memory for picture stories in relation to event perception, and his Ph.D. dissertation on the relationship between scene gist recognition and event perception. Some representative publications with Adam include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Larson, A.M., Freeman, T. E. Ringer, R. & Loschky, L.C. (2014). The spatio-temporal dynamics of scene gist recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 40(2), 471–487. doi: 10.1037/a0034986.
- Loschky, L.C., & Larson, A.M. (2010). The natural/man-made distinction is made prior to basic-level distinctions in scene gist processing. Visual Cognition, 18(4), 513-536.
- Larson, A. M., & Loschky, L. C. (2009). The contributions of central versus peripheral vision to scene gist recognition. Journal of Vision, 9(10):6, 1-16, http://journalofvision.org/9/10/6/, doi:10.1167/9.10.6.
- Tyler E. Freeman, B.S. University of North Carolina at Wilmington. M.S., Ph.D. Kansas State University. Tyler has coauthored 3 papers with me (two listed below). Tyler did his MS thesis on the spatial frequencies most useful for accurate drawing of faces (see below), and his Ph.D. dissertation on the perception of threat in rapid natural scene perception. Two representative publications with Tyler include the following:
- Freeman, T.E. & Loschky, L.C. (2011). High and low spatial frequencies are most useful for drawing. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 5(3), 269-278.
- Larson, A.M., Freeman, T. E. Ringer, R. & Loschky, L.C. (2014). The spatio-temporal dynamics of scene gist recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance
Ryan V. Ringer, <Google Scholar page>, B.S., M.S. Kansas State University. Currently working on his Ph.D. dissertation. Ryan has coauthored 8 papers with me (6 journal articles, 1 book chapter, 1 peer-reviewed conference proceedings) a sample of which is listed below. Ryan did his M.S. thesis testing the effects of different types of cognitive loads on the dynamic useful field of view (i.e., attentional breadth), after controlling for the loss of visual sensitivity with retinal eccentricity. He is extending that research to investigate the spatio-temporal dynamics of visual attentional breadth as a function of event structure in dynamic real-world scenes. Some representative publications include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Ringer, R.V., Throneburg, Z., Johnson, A.P., Kramer, A.F., & Loschky, L.C. (2016). Impairing the Useful Field of View in natural scenes: Tunnel vision versus general interference. Journal of Vision, 16(2):7, 1-25. doi: 10.1167/16.2.7.
- Gaspar, J.G., Ward, N., Neider, M.B., Crowell, J., Carbonari, R., Kaczmarski, H., Ringer, R.V., Johnson, A.P., Kramer, A.F., & Loschky, L.C. (2016). Measuring the useful field of view during simulated driving with gaze-contingent displays. Human Factors, 58(4), 630-641. doi: 10.1177/0018720816642092.
- Ringer, R. V., Johnson, A. P., Gaspar, J., Neider, M., Crowell, J., Kramer, A. F., & Loschky, L. C.(2014). Creating a new dynamic measure of the Useful Field of View. In J. Mulligan (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2014 Symposium on Eye Tracking Research and Applications (pp. 59-66). New York, NY: ACM.
2014 Eye Tracking Research & Applications SymposiumBest Full Paper Award and Best Student Paper Award to Ryan Ringer
John P. Hutson, B.S. Knox College, M.S. Kansas State University. Currently working on his Ph.D. dissertation. John has coauthored 2 papers with me (1 journal article, 1 book chapter), and has several others under review or in preparation. John did his M.S. thesis on the role of the viewer's comprehension versus task in determining their attentional selection (eye movements) while watching a film. He is following this up in his dissertation by studying the role of the viewer's beliefs and trait belief superiority in determining their attentional selection and subsequent memory while watching political ads and debates on video. John's two publications with me are given below:
- Hutson, J. P., Magliano, J. P., Smith, T. J., & Loschky, L. C. (2017). What is the role of the film viewer? The effects of narrative comprehension and viewing task on gaze control in film. Cognitive Research Principles & Implications, 2(1), 46, 1-30. 10.1186/s41235-017-0080-5
- Loschky, L. C., Hutson, J. P., Smith, M. E., Smith, T. J., & Magliano, J. P. (in press). Viewing Static Visual Narratives Through the Lens of the Scene Perception and Event Comprehension Theory (SPECT). in J. Laubrock, J. Wildfeuer, & A. Dunst (Eds.), The Empirical Study of Comics, Routledge.
Representative Publications (*indicates student co-author; click on underlined citations to go to those articles)
*Hutson, J. P., Magliano, J. P., Smith, T. J., & Loschky, L. C. (2017). What is the role of the film viewer? The effects of narrative comprehension and viewing task on gaze control in film. Cognitive Research Principles & Implications, 2(1), 46, 1-30. 10.1186/s41235-017-0080-5
Loschky, L. C., *Hutson, J. P., *Smith, M. E., Smith, T. J., & Magliano, J. P. (in press). Viewing Static Visual Narratives Through the Lens of the Scene Perception and Event Comprehension Theory (SPECT). in J. Laubrock, J. Wildfeuer, & A. Dunst (Eds.), The Empirical Study of Comics, Routledge.
*Ringer, R.V., *Throneburg, Z., Johnson, A.P., Kramer, A.F., & Loschky, L.C. (2016). Impairing the Useful Field of View in natural scenes: Tunnel vision versus general interference. Journal of Vision, 16(2):7, 1-25. doi: 10.1167/16.2.7.
Loschky, L.C., Larson, A.M., Magliano, J.P., & Smith, T.J. (2015). What would Jaws do? The tyranny of film and the relationship between gaze and higher-level narrative film comprehension. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0142474. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0142474
*Rouinfar, A., *Agra, E., Larson, A. M., Rebello, N. S., & Loschky, L. C. (2014). Linking attentional processes and conceptual problem solving: Visual cues facilitate the automaticity of extracting relevant information from diagrams. [Original Research]. Frontiers in Psychology, 5. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01094
*Larson, A.M. & Loschky, L.C. (2009). The contributions of central versus peripheral vision to scene gist recognition. Journal of Vision, 9(10):6, 1-16, http://journalofvision.org/9/10/6/, doi:10.1167/9.10.6.