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Visual Cognition Laboratory

Visual Cognition Laboratory

Welcome to the Home of the Visual Cognition Laboratory.  

Two major themes in the lab across both basic and applied research domains are:

  • Scene perception and event comprehension
  • Scene perception from central to peripheral vision (see special issue Les Loschky has Guest-Edited for the Journal of Vision on this topic)

The Visual Cognition Lab conducts research on scene perception and its real world applications, spanning the traditional areas of perception and cognition. Our lab's research philosophy is that good basic research should always be capable of suggesting applications for real-world scenarios, and good applied research should always add information to a theory.

Our basic research studies how people perceive, attend to, understand, and remember scenes and the objects in them. Our research investigates the time course for perceiving and creating a mental representation of a scene. First, how can we view a scene and grasp its category very quickly (within the first tenth of a second), easily distinguishing between an office versus a parking lot versus a park? Next, as we observe such a scene, what causes us to look at certain objects and ignore others? Then, does the temporal order of looking at particular objects in a scene have an effect on our later memory for certain objects versus other objects in the scene?

Our applied work focuses on the human factors of gaze-contingent multi-resolutional displays and content-based image retrieval. We are interested in how introducing a cognitive load, such as performing two difficult tasks at the same time, affects the perception, identification, and recognition for scenes and objects. Our research also investigates how adding a cognitive load can affect our visual field – that is, does focusing on a different task make people less likely to notice something right in front of them?

Current and previous funding sources for our lab include the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Lab News


Dr. Loschky and collaborators have been awarded a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct research on using visual cues to facilitate problem solving for math and physics problems.


 larson graduation

Adam Larson (center) graduated with his Ph.D. in May 2012. He worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Visual Cognition Lab from 2012 – 2013, and is now an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Findlay.


 shanteau fellowship

Undergraduate research assistant Allison Coy (far right) was a recipient of the Doreen Shanteau Undergraduate Research Award in October 2012. She has been conducting her research over the last year on the phenomenon of visual crowding in peripheral vision.


Tyler Freeman graduated with his Ph.D. in May 2012. He worked at the Army Research Institute in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and is now a Research Associate at ICF International.