Open ph.d. position

We currently have an opening for a ph.d.-student in our lab in a project investigating synaesthesia and expertise. The position is a three year position at Aalborg University, with strong collaborations in Iceland, China, and the US.

For more information and to apply please see (advertisement here).

The application deadline has been extended to February 1st 2017.

Brain Awareness Week in Denmark

BAW 2016.jpgWeek 11 is the international Brain Awareness Week, so during the last week I have been organizing a number of talks over three different cities in Denmark; Århus, Aalborg and Copenhagen. We received a grant from the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and the Dana foundation to support the events. The aim is to raise awareness of brain research and brain diseases for the general public, by having researchers make the different topic available for a broad audience. Over the duration of the week a number of good colleagues from Center for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience in Århus gave talks on topics from all areas of the brain (the full programme in Danish can be found on facebook.com/hjerneuge), also in the middle of the week we opened the doors for tours in the MEG/MR and PET labs. Additionally, two afternoon sessions one in Aalborg (tuesday) and one Copenhagen (thursday) allowed to make four different presentations including researchers from Universities in both cities.

During the planning we discovered a newly found network coordinating information on brain related events during week 11; hjernen i fokus (= the brain in focus) and added our events to their programme. Below is a map modified from hjernen i fokus of the events during week 11 in Denmark (our events highlighted in orange).

Hjernen i fokus del 2

Hjernen i fokus did an excellent job at gathering information of the different events and providing news updates throughout the week.

Thanks to all who attended our events, FENS and Dana, hjernen i fokus and the numerous people who helped advertise our events (University Extension and Universities in the three cities as well as the academy of young talents and the high schools in the regions) – and a huge thanks to all the different speakers who gave memorable presentations on the functions of the brain, how to investigate the brain, what happens when the brain fails, and how the brain relates to concepts like religion and consciousness. With the successful conclusion of the event I hope we can make a similar contribution to week 11 next year.

Hearts & Minds

Thanks to everyone who attended my lecture on The Brain, Vision, and Synesthesia at the Hearts & Minds festival this friday at Aarhus University. It was great talking about the brain and some of our research on synesthesia to all of you and I hope you had a great evening at Folkeuinversitetet.

I mentioned some links to some of you, and thought I would post the links here for your convenience. The first is the link to one of my colleagues from Russia who is gathering data on the dress phenomenon. You can participate in his questionnaire here: http://chetvericov.ru/tests/thedress/quiz.html

Secondly, you can find our synesthesia project on the following webpage: https://synesthesiaproject.wordpress.com/

Components of Attention in Grapheme-Color Synesthesia: A Modeling Approach

The first of our studies on synaesthesia is now available online for free.

ITVA

A recent study published online in PLoS ONE by Ásgeirsson et al. (2015) use TVA to analyse what attentional components are modulated by stimulus congruency in colour-grapheme synaesthesia. The authors report that processing speed is affected by stimulus congruency. Surprisingly, several TVA parameters such as the threshold for visual perception as well as attentional selectivity remain un affected by a manipulation of congruency. The authors argue that as well as yielding a more detailed understanding of how synaesthesia interact with cognitive components like attention.

The study is freely available online at http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0134456

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Components of Attention Modulated by Temporal Expectation

ITVA

In a new study published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Sørensen et al. (2014) investigate the effects of temporal expectation and how it modulate attentional TVA parameters. They demonstrate that the temporal expectancy paradigm modulate visual short-term memory, possibly through a phasic modulation of observer arousal akin to a hypothesis proposed by Easterbrook (1959). Sørensen et al. also present a novel analysis using the standard deviation of the attentional weights as a measure of how evenly an observer distribute their attentional resources. Hereby, it is possible to measure the scope of attentional focus in addition to the traditional TVA parameters.

Article available for download via APA on PsycNET

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Student help wanted

Form the 1st of January I am starting to work on my ph.d. project on the nature of the capacity limitations of visual short-term memory. Basically, I will continue the work started in my master thesis and expand on the basic ideas briefly described in that project.

I would like to have student assistants (this is usually on volunteer basis) on the project, so if you are interested please contact me – my own interests where originally sparked by being a student helper on ph.d. projects by Morten Overgaard and Søren Kyllingsbæk.

The main areas I will be working on – at least from my current perspective – will be the following:

  • Visual Short-Term Memory
  • Visual Long-Term Memory
  • Memory Capacity
  • Visual Representations and Categories
  • Consciousness
  • Early processes in TVA

If you find any of these areas interesting and would like to assist in a research project, feel free to contact me – I am interested in students on all levels – whether you are working on your master thesis or you are a first year student.

During this month I will prepare for the project startup so that I can be ready for the real startup in January – this project will be running over the next three years and you can choose to join in on different parts of it if you like.