Visual perception

The visual perception group studies various areas of visual perception and decision making, including

  • low-level motion perception
  • form and face perception
  • camouflage
  • visual exploration of natural scenes
  • the tracking of eye movements
  • neural mechanisms underpinning visual perception (EEG, MEG, fMRI)
  • motor control and attention (3D-motion capture)
  • human interactions with real and virtual environments (virtual reality lab; BVI movement lab; wearable technology)
  • neuropsychological aspects (e.g., visual neglect)
  • impact of sensory environments on people's health and wellbeing

Recent research highlights of the group

Painting and curating with AI

What makes paintings aesthetically pleasing - their style or their semantic content? Mobile eyetracking of images painted and curated with Artificial Intelligence provides an answer to this century old question. For further details go to Urban Vision Science

  • During active visual sampling, central information is processed while a peripheral target for the next fixation is selected in parallel.

  • There are systematic biases in the way people perceive data visualisations.
  • We have shown using state-of-the-art imaging combined with causal modelling that damage in white matter appears to cause subsequent damage in grey matter. This should be important in trying to treat such problems as Alzheimer's.
  • The bright colours of poison dart frogs are highly salient at close-range but blend together to match the background when viewed from further away. This dual function coloration signals their unpalatability at close range whilst also allowing them to be camouflaged from a distance.
  • We're more sensitive to own-race faces
  • Visual floor patterns nudge people's walking trajectories
  • Movements of the lower limbs are affected by distracting visual floor patterns 

A selection of camouflage highlights

A selection of recent funding grants

  • EPSRC (2019-2021) Optimising iridescent materials for specific visual properties including camouflage or distraction, £150,000, Rox Middleton, Heather Whitney, Innes Cuthill, Steve Eichhorn, Nick Scott-Samuel
  • BCAI (2019) Gloss as defence, £18,224, Heather Whitney, Innes Cuthill, Karin Kjernsmo, Nick Scott-Samuel
  • BBSRC (2019-2022) Concealing 3D objects, £760,000, Innes Cuthill, Nick Scott-Samuel, Roland Baddeley
  • EPSRC-NPIF PhD studentship (2018-2022) The impact of the visual environment on proxemics, £100,000, Ute Leonards, Jeremy Burn
  • MRC (2018-2023) Glucocorticoid dynamics in health and disease, £1,848,000, Lightman, Harmer, Robinson, Conway-Campbell, Gilchrist and Rivers
  • EPSRC PhD studentship (2018-2021) The impact of visual environments on embodied cognition and mental wellbeing during locomotion, £70,000, Ute Leonards
  • EPSRC PhD studentship (2017-2020) The effect of the geometry of colour space on categorisation, £90,000, Nick Scott-Samuel, Roland Baddeley
  • University of Bristol Strategic Research Fund (2017-2019) URBAN VISION – Understanding the impact of visual environments on physical and mental well-being,£26,629, Ute Leonards, Dima Damen, Colin Taylor, Angie Page, William Browne, David Bull
  • QinetiQ PhD studentship (2016-2019) The "Camouflage Machine": optimising patterns for camouflage and visibility, £90,000, Nick Scott-Samuel, Innes Cuthill  
  • EPSRC (2016-2020) GLANCE: GLAnceable Nuances for Contextual Events, £807,000, W Mayol-Cuevas, D Damen, I Gilchrist, C Ludwig 
  • EPSRC (2015-2020) Vision for the future, £1.4m, D Bull, J Burn, N Canagarajah, I Cuthill, I Gilchrist, C Ludwig, N Roberts
  • BBSRC (2015-2019) Visual impacts of Iridescence: Detectability and Disruption, £769,000, Heather Whitney, Innes Cuthill, Nick Scott-Samuel
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