Welcome to Yale's Perception & Cognition Lab!
We're a group of cognitive scientists who explore how we see and how we think, with a special focus on how perception interacts with other aspects of our minds. For more information on the research going on in our lab (including papers, manuscripts, demos, etc.), check out some of the individual homepages of our members listed below. We work in close collaboration with several other labs here at Yale, including Marvin Chun's Visual Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory.  

Quick Links
Recent Lab Abstracts
Reference Guides
Lab Photo Album
Recent Lab News
  • The keynote dialogue at this summer's ECVP meeting in Berlin looks fun! (January 2017)

  • Everyone in the lab is excited that Princeton professor (and former lab graduate student) Nick Turk-Browne will be moving his lab back to Yale this year! (January 2017)

  • Congratulations to lab alumnus Jon Flombaum for earning tenure at Johns Hopkins! (November 2016)

  • Congratulations to Emily Ward, who -- after defending her PhD dissertation earlier this year -- has now accepted a tenure-track appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison! Emily will start up her own lab there in 2018. (September 2016)

  • Later this month, on 9/25, Brian will give a public talk in Washington, DC for One Day University, titled Do my eyes deceive me? The science of visual awareness. (September 2016)

  • Next month, Brian will give one of the keynote addresses -- titled Let's see what happens: Dynamic events as foundational units of perception and cognition -- at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society in Philadelphia. (July 2016)

  • Welcome to new graduate student Sami Yousif! Sami joins us after working as an RA in Stella Lourenco's lab at Emory University. Graduate school doesn't start until September, but somehow he's already here, with several studies in the works to explore how space is represented in the mind. (Sami hails originally from Alabama -- and we invited him to start early this summer, in the hopes that he'll become inextricably hooked on perception at Yale before he learns that 'winter' means something different here than it does back home!) (June 2016)

  • The lab had a blast at VSS this month! (May 2016)

  • Congratulations to Chaz Firestone, who has just accepted a tenure-track appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. We can't bear to let him go quite yet, though, so Chaz will stay in the lab for one more year, and will start his new position in the summer of 2017. (April 2016)

  • Next month, on 4/12, Brian will engage in a dialogue with Nancy Kanwisher on How -- and how much -- do fMRI studies contribute to psychology?. This dialogue will take place at Northwestern University, under the auspices of their Cognitive Science program. (March 2016)

Lab News Archive

Brian Scholl (Email, Personal Homepage, CV)
Lab Director, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science
Brian's recent research interests include:
• Visual awareness
• How seeing relates to thinking
• How the mind represents objects
• The perception of animacy, causality, and time
• Foundations of cognitive science
• Sea-kayaking as a tool for procrastination
Graduate Students
Yi-Chia Chen (Email, Personal Homepage)
Graduate Student
Yi-Chia is currently exploring the nature of aesthetic perception, and also how visual representations of objects incorporate the inferred causal history that led them to look the way they do. Before joining us at Yale, she was a research assistant in Su-Ling Yeh's Perception & Attention lab at National Taiwan University. Yi-Chia can count from one to ten in 15 different languages -- including 3 that Brian has never heard of.
Clara Colombatto (Email)
Graduate Student
Clara is interested in the visual roots of social cognition, and is currently exploring how early visual processing may influence moral judgement. Before Yale, she studied philosophy at Duke, where she worked with Steve Mitroff and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong on drawings, license plates, and other deep philosophical issues. Clara is from Italy, and can often be found drinking espresso and/or talking with her hands.
Chaz Firestone (Email, Personal Homepage)
Graduate Student
Chaz is studying how seeing and thinking interact. He is currently exploring cognitive (im)penetrability (as summarized in his forthcoming BBS target article), and the perception of physics. He's so excited about these things that you can literally see his brilliant thoughts. Chaz has degrees in both philosophy and cognitive science, rode his bicycle 4,000 miles during the summer before graduate school, and has probably been further south than you have.
Hannah Raila (Email)
Graduate Student
Hannah, a student in the Clinical Psychology program, is exploring how attentional biases may underlie and maintain both positive emotion and psychopathology, focusing on how happy people may see the world differently. Before joining us, Hannah studied the neural underpinnings of emotion at Dartmouth and also the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch at the NIMH. Hannah was on Dartmouth's track team, and can probably jump higher than you can.
Stefan Uddenberg (Email, Personal Homepage)
Graduate Student
Stefan is exploring the mind's 'default settings' by employing the method of serial reproduction, in contexts ranging from face perception to causal history. Hailing from the land of limbo (Trinidad and Tobago), he is interested in just how low such interactions can go. Before coming to Yale he worked as an RA with Won Mok Shim at Dartmouth, where he studied crossmodal interactions using fMRI, MVPA, and possibly other acronyms as well. Stefan also sings.
Ben van Buren (Email, Personal Homepage)
Graduate Student
Ben is studying social perception, including the perceived mental lives of moving geometric shapes. He believes that a deep understanding of such things will come only through (1) the use of empirical methods and (2) constant consideration of how and why the brain evolved. There are dark rumors suggesting that Ben is also studying the brain bases of such things using various neuroscientific techniques.
Sami Yousif (Email)
Graduate Student
Sami is exploring how space is encoded in the mind, including the possibility that much of what is treated as spatial perception actually reflects more general mental operations. Before joining us at Yale, he studied spatial and numerical cognition in Stella Lourenco's lab at Emory. Born and raised in Alabama, Sami comes to Yale without a meaningful understanding of the word "winter", and rumor has it he is still without any form of winter coat.
Adam Bear (Personal Homepage)
Graduate Student, Rand + Knobe + Bloom Labs
Adam is using empirical methods to explore philosophical issues surrounding the nature of conscious perception. With us, he recently published a paper demonstrating that we can be aware of statistical properties without being aware of individual feature values. Before Yale, Adam studied both philosophy and cognitive science at Brown University. One of the people in this photo is Adam Bear; the other is just a bear.
Matt Jordan
Graduate Student, Comparative Cognition Lab
Matt is exploring how basic cognitive processes such as attention and memory influence and underlie more deliberate judgment and decision-making. Matt holds undergraduate degrees in finance (why?) and decision neuroscience (getting closer...). Before coming to Yale, Matt studied behavioral economics at The Brookings Institution (much better). In his free time, he enjoys saying aloud what he thinks animals are thinking.
Monica Rosenberg (Personal Homepage)
Graduate Student, Visual Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
Monica studies how we sustain attention (or fail to do so) and tries to find ways to improve attentional performance -- especially based on resting-state functional connectivity. Recently, with us, she has been using eyetracking to explore how event segmentation may influence sustained attention. When she's not working hard to focus on attention, you can find her watching samurai movies and wearing animal sweaters.
Adam Lowet
Research Assistant
Adam previously spent time at the NINDS at NIH, looking at the functional dynamics of voltage-gated potassium channels. This naturally led him to our lab, where he is currently studying the nature of visual awareness and shape representation. Adam is going to bring brain science and mind science together. When he's not in the lab, you may find him juggling or playing basketball. When he is in the lab, you may find him juggling or playing (paper) basketball.
Evaline Xie
Research Assistant
Evaline is studying how we may perceive the summary statistics of displays even when we aren't conscious of those displays. Before Yale, she did research in mesenchymal progenitor cell differentiation. Outside of the lab, she sings with the Yale Glee Club and works as a Gallery Guide at the Yale University Art Gallery, where she loves getting to ask visitors what they see and notice about visual displays without using a computer monitor.
Lab Alumni
Emily Ward (Home Page)
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2016); Co-advised with Marvin Chun
After Yale: Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin, Dept. of Psychology
While in the lab from 2010 to 2016, Emily studied the nature of visual awareness, especially in the context of amazing phenomena such as inattentional blindness, iconic memory, statistical perception, and ambiguous figures. And she did all this while leading a double life, studying the neural bases of visual perception in Marvin Chun's lab.
Brandon Liverence
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2013)
After Yale: Postdoctoral Fellow, Northwestern, Psychology Dept., Franconeri Lab
While in the lab from 2008 to 2013, Brandon studied the visual representation of time and space, in contexts including subjective time dilation, event segmentation, and the 'refresh rate' of perception. When one of his papers was accepted for publication, the Editor asked him to shorten it by 78%. Brandon vacations inside Icelandic volcanos.
Alice Albrecht
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2013); Co-advised with Marvin Chun
After Yale: Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Berkeley, Psychology Dept, Whitney Lab
While in the lab from 2008 to 2013, Alice explored the nature of 'statistical summary representations' in perception, including the ability to rapidly and efficiently perceive average visual attributes across space and time, and in multiple modalities. Alice has also made other discoveries that are full of holes (exploring holes vs. objects in visual attention).
Tao Gao (Homepage)
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2011)
After Yale: Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT, Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Tenenbaum Lab
While in the lab from 2006 to 2011, Tao brought life to vision science, making many discoveries related to 'social vision' (in general) and to the perception of animacy (in particular). His papers have great titles (e.g. The Psychophysics of Chasing, The Wolfpack Effect) and one of them has a paragraph about assassins. Tao, who left us to do a postdoc at MIT, has great taste in science fiction.
Nick Turk-Browne (Lab Page)
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2009); Co-advised with Marvin Chun
After Yale: Assistant (then Full) Professor, Princeton University, Dept. of Psychology
Currently: Professor, Yale University, Department of Psychology
While in the lab from 2004 to 2009, Nick studied perception, learning, and attention, and made several discoveries related to visual statistical learning. Nick managed to escape and become a Professor at Princeton, but we eventually recaptured him and brought him back home.
Joshua New (Homepage)
P&C Lab: Postdoctoral Fellow (2005-2009)
After Yale: Assistant Professor, Barnard College, Department of Psychology
While in the lab from 2005 to 2009, Josh explored 'adaptive visual cognition' -- merging evolution psychology and vision science. This led to discoveries about the nature of visual awareness, motion-induced blindness, social perception in autism spectrum disorder, and subjective time dilation. Josh, now a Professor at Barnard, was a postdoc, so his picture gets a border.
Jonathan Flombaum (Lab Page)
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2008)
After Yale: Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins, Dept. of Psych. & Brain Sciences
Currently: Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins, Dept. of Psych. & Brain Sciences
While in the lab from 2002 to 2008, Jon made several discoveries related to object persistence and visual tracking -- often studying both human adults and nonhuman primates -- and he resuscitated studies of the 'tunnel effect'. Jon, now a professor at Johns Hopkins, still hasn't learned to appreciate folk music.
Erik Cheries (Homepage)
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2007); Primary advisor, Karen Wynn
After Yale: Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, Lab for Developmental Studies
Currently: Assistant Professor, UMass Amherst, Psychological and Brain Sciences
While in the lab from 2002 to 2007, Erik ran studies with both babies and adults exploring how the visual system selects, maintains, and identifies objects over time -- and how this provides a foundation for object cognition. Erik, now a professor at UMass Amherst, has more songs on his iPod than you do.
Hoon Choi
P&C Lab: Graduate Student (Ph.D., 2006)
After Yale: Postdoctoral Fellow, Boston University, Watanabe Lab
Currently: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Hallym University  
While in the lab from 2002 to 2006, Hoon made several discoveries related to causal perception, attention, and the mental representation of dynamic events. In case his picture here is too small to make out, here's a slightly bigger picture of Hoon. Hoon is now a professor back in South Korea.
Steve Mitroff (Lab Page)
P&C Lab: Postdoctoral Fellow (2002-2005)
After Yale: Assistant Professor, Duke University, Dept. of Psychology
Currently: Professor, George Washington University, Department of Psychology
While in the lab from 2002 to 2005, Steve made discoveries about visual awareness, motion-induced blindness, and object persistence -- studying both infants and adults. We miss him, though Brian is also happy to be free of Steve's strict ban on the use of obscure latin phrases in papers.
Some Recent Collaborators
George Alvarez (Harvard University)
Dick Aslin (University of Rochester)
Marvin Chun (Yale University)
Lisa Feigenson (Johns Hopkins University)
Jacob Feldman (Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science)
Steve Franconeri (Northwestern University)
Jim Hoffman (University of Delaware)
Marcia Johnson (Yale University)
Ami Klin (Emory University, Marcus Autism Center)
Alan Leslie (Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science)
Greg McCarthy (Yale University)
Jacques Mehler (SISSA)
Steve Most (University of New South Wales)
Ken Nakayama (Harvard University)
George Newman (Yale SoM)
Zenon Pylyshyn (Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science)
Laurie Santos (Yale University)
Bob Schultz (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Center for Autism Research)
Dan Simons (University of Illinois)
Teresa Treat (University of Iowa)
Karen Wynn (Yale University)
Do-Joon Yi (Yonsei University)
Steve Zucker (Yale University)
Affect Regulation & Cognition Lab (Jutta Joorman)
Automaticity Lab (John Bargh)
Cognition & Decision-Making Lab (Daeyeol Lee)
Cognition & Development Lab (Frank Keil)
Comparative Cognition Lab (Laurie Santos)
Computational Vision Group (Steve Zucker)
Consumer Decision Making Lab (Ravi Dhar, Nathan Novemsky)
Experimental Philosophy (Joshua Knobe)
Human Cooperation Lab (David Rand)
Human Neuroscience Lab (Greg McCarthy)
Infant Cognition Lab (Karen Wynn)
Memory & Cognition Lab (Marcia Johnson)
Mind & Development Lab (Paul Bloom)
Philosophical Psychology (Tamar Gendler)
Sensory Info Processing Lab (Larry Marks)
Social Cognitive Development Lab (Yarrow Dunham)
Social Neuroscience Lab (Steve Chang)
Social Robotics Lab (Brian Scassellati)
Thinking Lab (Woo-Kyoung Ahn)
Turk-Browne Lab (Nick Turk-Browne)
Visual Cognitive Neuroscience Lab (Marvin Chun)

Affiliate and Undergraduate Alumni

Want to join the team?
If you're interested in joining the lab, please send a note to Brian Scholl by email. Undergraduates who are interested in RA positions might want to check out this information page. Note that this is not our lab logo.  

Some of the material on this webpage, and those it links to, is based on work supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Office of Naval Research. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of these agencies.