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Amgen Scholars: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty for the Amgen Scholars program.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor. For additional tips on identifying a mentor click here.

Please remember:

  • Students pursuing Amgen must be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or students with DACA status.
  • Students pursuing Amgen must complete the 10-week program from June 21 - August 25, 2023. Students must commit to these dates. No exceptions will be made.
  • Accepted students must live in provided Caltech housing.

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Project:  How Subliminal Sensory Information Processing Influences Conscious Perception Across Human Senses
Disciplines:  Neuroscience, Psychology
Mentor:  Shin Shimojo, Professor Experimental Psychology, (BBE), sshimojo@caltech.edu, Phone: 626-395-3324
Mentor URL:  www.bbe.caltech.edu/people/shinsuke-shin-shimojo  (opens in new window)
AO Contact:  Lara Krisst PhD, lkrisst@caltech.edu
Background:  Several proposed studies for this project examine the intricate interplay of information between distinct sensory channels – multisensory integration. Specifically, we focus on cases where the information in one channel is inaccessible to awareness.
Previous research in non-human animals has shown evidence for sensory receptors sensitive to earth’s magnetic field - signals used for species navigation. A recent 2019 study in humans found evidence of a neural signature in response to geomagnetic stimulation (Wang, et al., 2019). To further investigate this putative sense, we examine whether magnetoreception interacts with and modulates visual and vestibular information in order for humans to orient and navigate in space. To probe the mechanics of multisensory integration in this context, we will manipulate the signal to noise ratio in several paradigms, our prediction being that impoverishing (introducing noise) one sensory modality will force recruitment of another sensory channel.In another set of experiments, we will examine whether stimuli below the threshold of conscious detection can modulate visual perception. For example, while previous research has shown that audio motion can modify the perception of visual motion (Hidaka et al., 2011; Shams et al., 2004), we examine whether implicit audio motion and undetectable magnetic field sweeps can modulate visual motion.

Description:  The student researcher will assist in all aspects of behavioral and EEG data collection. This includes learning how to cap subjects with a 64-channel electrode cap, becoming familiar with EEG data collection software, basic EEG preprocessing and analysis, and basic statistical analysis of psychophysical and EEG data. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the application of machine learning algorithms to decode EEG data.
References:  Wang, et al., 2019
Yoder & Taube, 2014
Hidaka et al., 2011; Shams et al., 2004

Student Requirements:  Applicants should have basic programming skills in Matlab and/or Python, and a background in neuroscience, psychology, biology, engineering, applied math, or computer science. A computational background is preferred.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       Amgen Scholars    Non-Caltech students only  
       SURF    Caltech students only 

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

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