[visionlist] Research Associate Position in visual search at The University of Manchester (3-years: 1 September 2022-31 August 2025)

Johan Hulleman johan.hulleman at manchester.ac.uk
Mon Jun 13 18:01:29 -04 2022

Job reference: BMH-019196

Location: Oxford Road, Manchester

Closing date (DD/MM/YYYY): 27/06/2022

Salary: £33,309 to £36,382 per annum depending on relevant experience

Employment type: Fixed Term

Faculty/Organisation: Biology, Medicine & Health

Division: Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology

Hours per week: Full time

Contract Duration: From 1 September 2022 until 31 August 2025

School / Directorate: School of Biological Sciences

We are inviting applications for a post-doctoral position on the SBE-UKRI funded project “Looked but failed to see” errors in human vision. This project is an international collaboration between Johan Hulleman (University of Manchester, Manchester, UK) and Jeremy Wolfe (Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, US).

The post holder will have the primary responsibility for the day-to-day data collection and data analysis in the UK. They will help with the programming of experiments, the preparation of presentations and manuscripts and share authorship. They will also have responsibility for the preparation of data for sharing.

Because this is an international collaboration some travel to the US will be involved. Given the nature of the experiments planned, experience with eye tracking (Eyelink) and/or online experimentation (JavaScript) is preferred.

This is an opportunity to work on a world-leading project that aims to understand the fundamental processes of visual search and the role they play in the visual search tasks of daily life.

More info about the project and this position: johan.hulleman at manchester.ac.uk
Website with job-listing: https://www.jobs.manchester.ac.uk/displayjob.aspx?jobid=22634
Direct link to application page: https://www.jobs.manchester.ac.uk/Decide.aspx?jobid=22634
Person-specification: https://www.jobs.manchester.ac.uk//PreviewDocument.aspx?docid=66416&GUID=8d22b0cf-63ad-4462-81b3-f3eafbc55ebb&jobid=22634

Description of project
We have all had the experience of failing to notice something that is in plain view. Sometimes this can even be something that we are actively looking for, like typos in our writing or signs of cancer in a lung x-ray. The aim of our project is to understand the basic science of these "looked but failed to see" (LBFTS) errors and to investigate possible ways to reduce these potentially dangerous errors.

LBFTS errors are not like a disease caused by a single virus. There are a variety of different paths that lead someone to fail to report something that is clearly visible when pointed out. We will study three such paths. Some LBFTS errors can be thought of as a version of bad luck. You can't process everything, so some visual stimuli get processed adequately and some don't. But it is nothing about the stimulus per se. The first set of experiments investigates whether LBFTS errors are mainly due to these random errors or whether there is something about certain stimuli that makes them less likely to be found. The idea of "looking" but failing to see, requires that we define "looking". When you look at one point, there is a region around that point within which you could find your target, even if you don't. This is known as the functional visual field (FVF) or useful field of view (UFOV). In the second series of experiments, we study biases within the FVF. For example, if you are reading, while you are looking at one word, you are biased to the next words to the right (or to the left, e.g., for Arabic or Hebrew), rather than the words directly above or below where you are fixating. We are asking similar questions but about vision more generally. The two principal investigators on this project have different ideas about where the biases in the FVF come from and in this "adversarial collaboration" which we will seek to resolve our differences. Finally, the third series of experiments is devoted to LBFTS errors that occur when you are doing one task but when you might want to be keeping an eye out for other stimuli (e.g. when a doctor is examining a lung x-ray, it may show more than just the fractured rib about which the patient is complaining, such as a suspicious sign of cancer). Here we will try to develop ways to help observers to do their primary task whilst staying attuned to important but non-related events.

Johan Hulleman
Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Manchester
United Kingdom
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