Alex Burmester, New York University When you need to remember a phone number, a shopping list or a set of instructions, you rely on what psychologists and neuroscientists refer to as working memory. It’s the ability to hold and manipulate information in mind, over brief intervals. It’s for things that are important to you in… Continue reading Working memory: How you keep things ‘in mind’ over the short term
Alex Burmester, New York University Given that we see the world through two small, flat retinae at the backs of our eyes, it seems remarkable that what each of us perceives is a seamless, three-dimensional visual world. The retinae respond to various wavelengths of light from the world around us. But that’s just the first… Continue reading How do our brains reconstruct the visual world?
Alex Burmester, New York University Imagine walking along in the African savanna. Suddenly you notice a moving bush partially obscuring a large yellow object. From this limited information, you need to figure out if you’re in danger and decide how to react. Is it a pile of dry grass? Or a hungry lion? In situations… Continue reading Gambling on limited information: our visual system and probabilistic inference
Everyone has some concept of what attention is. Modern psychology defines it as the ability to select a portion of the information in our environment for further processing while ignoring other information. We use this ability constantly in our daily lives, for example, to read, use things and search for things. Utilizing this ability optimally… Continue reading What is Attention?
How do we quantify the relationship between the physical and the mental? An Introduction to Psychophysical Laws Psychology and cognitive science have at their foundation the notion that we can somehow measure the mental world. But can we? It is unclear, at least to the naïve observer, how such a goal could be achieved given… Continue reading Psychophysics