Student-Faculty Programs Office
Summer 2017 Announcements of Opportunity

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Project:  Multisensory Integration: Perceptual Illusions
Disciplines:  Computation and Neural Systems, Neuroscience
Mentor:  Shinsuke Shimojo, Professor, (BBE),
AO Contact:  Armand R. Tanguay, Jr,
Background:  Many neuroscience concepts are based on the prediction of future perception or on decisions based on prior brain states or stimulus presentations. However, the brain can also process information retroactively, such that later stimuli impact conscious percepts of the stimuli that have already occurred (called “postdiction”). Well-known effects such as apparent motion, the flash lag effect, and the cutaneous rabbit effect are examples of visual or tactile stimuli that influence perception retroactively. Postdictive effects have thus far been mostly unimodal (that is, based on only one sense such as vision or audition), and the models for postdiction have accordingly been limited to early sensory regions of one modality. We are studying multimodal illusions in which audition instigates postdictive changes in visual perception, thereby broadening the potential for postdictive phenomenon and generating new neural models for its occurrence.

In this project we will study behavioral illusions that are both multisensory and postdictive in nature. This investigation will help elucidate how the senses work together to generate a temporal flow of sensory processing in the brain.
Description:  The SURF student will help design psychophysical experiments on multisensory perception, code experiments in Matlab, and test them on human subjects.
References:  Alais D., Burr D. 2003. The "flash-lag" effect occurs in audition and cross-modally. Current Biology 13(1):59-63.

Shams L., Kamitani Y., Shimojo S. 2000. What you see is what you hear. Nature 408:788.

Shimojo S. 2014. Postdiction: Its implications on visual awareness, hindsight, and sense of agency. Frontiers in Psychology 5:196.

Geldard F. A., Sherrick C.E. 1972. The cutaneous “rabbit”: A perceptual illusion. Science 178(4057):178-179.

Kamitani Y., Shimojo S. 1999. Manifestation of scotomas created by transcranial magnetic stimulation of human visual cortex. Nature Neuroscience 2(8):767-771.
Student Requirements:  An enthusiastic student with several courses completed in biology, neuroscience, or computer science and coding experience in at least one programming language is strongly recommended; an emphasis in neuroscience with relevant laboratory and Matlab experience is preferred.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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Problems with or questions about submitting an AO?  Call Jen Manglos of the Student-Faculty Programs Office at (626) 395-2885.
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