Visual perception is fraught with uncertainty. Some uncertainties come from ambiguities of the visual information itself (e.g. the Necker cube) and others are inherent to the coding of this information within the visual system. The Bayesian probabilistic framework has recently become popular because it helps characterize these uncertainties and offers principled ways to resolve some ambiguities. In recent years, we have been interested in this framework, in particular in prior assumptions used to disambiguate our interpretation of the world. For instance, the assumption that light is coming from above our head helps us decipher the 3D structure of objects. We have also been interested in the extent to which past percepts are good predictors of future ones. For instance, in binocular rivalry and tilt adaptation studies, we found that percepts were positively correlated with events occurring several minutes in the past. Finally, we are interested in our ability to predict the accuracy of our perceptual decisions. This meta-cognitive competence --the perception of our perception-- rests on our ability to properly estimate the uncertainty within our senses.
Professor Mamassian is the Director of the Laboratorie Psychologie de la Perception at the CNRS Université Paris Descartes. He was the president of the Vision Sciences Society from 2008 - 2012. Professor Mamassians' work addresses links between processing of elementary image features and awareness of natural scenes. He has an extensive track record of ground breaking research, with a string of seminal papers in the world's leading scientific outlets, including Nature, Nature Neuroscience, Current Biology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA and Psychological Science.
Professor Mamassian completed his PhD at the University of Minnesota under the supervision of Dan Kersten, before completing a postdoc at New York University and taking up a faculty position at the University of Glasgow. He is now the Director of the Laboratorie Psychologie de la Perception at the CNRS Université Paris Descartes, and is currently visiting Australia and trying to understand our funny accents.
On Friday evening some of us will be taking Pascal out for dinner. If you would like to join us, please contact me ASAP.
I hope you can all make it to this special event!
Pascal Mamassian (CNRS Paris, France)