Research Interests

The world is a “blooming, buzzing confusion”. However, our visual system has an extraordinary ability to make sense of the “confusion”. Disheveled visual information composed from array of dots, line segments and simple shapes can be interpreted into an orderly collection of discrete objects. Yet the visual processes are often rapid, seemingly effortless, far beyond any artificial intelligence at present can accomplish. My research goal is to understand how the brain organizes the visual world into meaningful entities.

Specifically, selective mechanism, constructive mechanism and categorization are three important components of visual perception. Imagine you are bargain hunting on Black Friday. To efficiently find the toy your daughter would like, selectively focus on the shelf full of Barbie dolls whereas suppressing visual input from objects that look like car models can be very helpful. On the shelf that was messed up by previous shoppers, some lovely dolls may be partially hidden behind the others. Therefore amodal completion is necessary for you to locate them. Finally, categorical perception disambiguates your daughter’s favorite from other similar dolls, which leads to your decision to buying it. Note selective mechanism, constructive mechanism and categorical perception are not necessarily independent from each other, instead they often work together to make sense of the complex visual world. My research interests focus on the neural basis of these perceptual mechanisms and their interactions.