[visionlist] Groningen, The Netherlands ,
PhD and post-doc positions in neuro-imaging
f.w.cornelissen at rug.nl
Mon Sep 25 19:53:43 GMT 2006
PhD and post-doc positions in neuro-imaging – Groningen, The Netherlands
Can we make visible what a person experiences when observing the
Can we predictably influence what people feel and expect when they
see or touch objects?
Can we augment vision by influencing were people look and what they
These challenging questions are posed by three European research
projects (summaries below). Besides being interesting questions from
a neuro-scientific point of view, each has its potential relevance in
communication, design, medicine and education. The Laboratory of
Experimental Ophthalmology (LEO) and the BCN Neuro-imaging Center
(BCN-NIC) of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands will
provide the neuro-scientific background as well as perform the neuro-
scientific experiments for these different projects.
Interested to work on these questions as a Ph.D. or as a post-doc?
We are looking for people with a passion for neuroscience and a
specific interest in (and knowledge of) visual and emotional
processing, visual attention and search, and eye-movements, and who
are eager to apply state-of-the-art imaging and eye-tracking
technologies to answer the above questions. Experience in neuro-
imaging and psychophysics, programming skills (in particular Matlab),
good oral and writing skills, are all considered important. The
projects encourage and offer numerous possibilities for scientific
interactions with other groups and companies throughout Europe.
Salaries and benefits are according to Dutch standards and
commensurate on experience. PhD positions are for four years, with an
evaluation after the first year. Post-doctoral positions are for
three years. Groningen offers affordable living in a pleasant and
relaxed university town in the north of the Netherlands.
To apply, please send, in electronic format, a curriculum vitae,
sample papers of previous work, and the names and contact information
of two or three references to: Frans W. Cornelissen (email:
f.w.cornelissen at rug.nl). Positions are open until suitable candidates
have been found. Preference is for candidates that can start early
(preferably this year).
Project 1: SYNTEX: measuring cortical processing of texture, and
feelings and expectation associated with texture
Despite the wide use of visual and haptic texture in industrial
design, architecture and art to convey information (e.g. about the
atmosphere or safety of buildings, or the strength, quality, or
intended users or use of objects), there is virtually no systematic
research on the emotional qualities and expectations associated with
specific textures. SynTex aims at providing methods and a theory to
objectively measure, model and predict such psychological effects and
will use neuro-imaging, psychophysical and computational methods to
achieve its goals. SynTex is expected to have substantial impact on
product design in its most general sense. Designers of buildings
(architects), consumer products, interfaces of computer programs,
internet pages, and games, will profit from the ability to use
texture in a predictable way to communicate additional information
and achieve intended psychological effects.
The Groningen projects will study cortical processing of visual and
haptic texture, as well as emotional responses to texture and
textured objects, using psychophysics and fMRI (and other neuro-
Project 2: PERCEPT: neuro-imaging of visual exploration, search, and
interpretation: mapping the content of our “mind’s eye”
PERCEPT pioneers an approach for explicating a person’s subjective
interpretation of visual material. This will be achieved through the
measurement and rendering of “Interpretation Maps” (IM);
visualizations of a person’s emotional and attentional states coupled
with gaze direction and on-line scene analysis. As a result, thus far
hidden personal views will be available for sharing with others,
allowing enhanced and even entirely novel ways of communication and
collaboration. Depending on the task, IM can become Beauty Maps
(evaluating the aesthetics of art) or Relevance Maps (assessing
technical or medical images).
Attention and emotions will be measured using neurophysiological
(fMRI, EEG) and behavioural methods (eye-tracking, recognition of
emotion in speech and facial expression). We will introduce new
techniques of high temporal resolution (such as eye-fixation-based
methods) to allow free visual exploration, working with individual
subjects, and combining measures in a novel way. We will demonstrate
PERCEPT’s principles with masterpieces of European art and scientific
The Groningen project will combine fMRI (potentially combined with
other imaging techniques such as EEG) and eye-tracking to elucidate
mechanisms involved in visual exploration, search, and interpretation
of natural and artificial scenes and textures.
Project 3: GAZECOM: guiding gaze to augment vision: neuro-imaging of
natural and augmented visual task performance
Vision is the dominant perceptual channel through which we interact
with information and communication systems, but one major limitation
of our visual communication capabilities is that we can attend to
only a very limited number of features and events at any one time.
This fact has severe consequences for visual communication, because
what is effectively communicated depends to a large degree on those
mechanisms in the brain that deploy our attentional resources and
determine where we direct our gaze.
We therefore propose that future ICT systems should use gaze guidance
to help the users deploy their limited attentional resources more
effectively. The same technology can be used to create augmented
vision aids that improve human visual capabilities by complementing
natural vision with computer-vision technology in an unobtrusive way.
The Groningen project will use fMRI and eye-tracking to study
cortical responses during natural and augmented visual task performance.
Laboratory of Experimental Ophthalmology & BCN NeuroImaging Centre,
School of Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences, University Medical
PO Box 30.001, Groningen 9700 RB, The Netherlands,
Email: f.w.cornelissen at rug.nl, Tel: +31 (0) 50-3614173
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