Visual Perception and Attention Laboratory @ University of Guelph

Fallah Lab

If you are interested in participating in experiments in the lab, the link to the scheduler is here

Breaking News: Maz Fallah, Hamid Ramezanpur and two long-time friends of the lab Devin Heinze Kehoe and Jeffrey Schall have submitted a paper for review showing evidence of a push-pull dynamic between the frontal areas of the ipsi- and contralateral hemispheres which determine saccade planning to a selected target / ignored distractor. A preprint of the paper is available here.

Dr. Mazyar Fallah, Dr. Heather Jordan and student members of the lab use Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience approaches to understand:

  • how features are integrated across multiple brain areas to form object representations
  • how attention and object representations drive eye movements
  • multisensory processing including auditory/visual and visual/proprioceptive 
  • how the visual system prioritizes peripersonal space (the area within reach of our arms)
  • the networks in the brain perform those processes, using neuroimaging (EEG)
  • how these networks (EEG) are impaired due to damage, such as concussion and subconcussive impacts
  • how athletics/exercise improve cognitive processing

The first step to understanding the neural circuitry that mediates attention and binding is to observe and understand participants’ behaviour. We measure the accuracy and reaction time of participants’ judgments of sensory information. Recording their eye movements via infrared cameras also allows us to investigate how the brain extracts sensory information in real time.

Gaze Planning and TrackingThey say the eyes are a window to our souls. We continue to show how the eyes intrinsically reflect other brain functions. To this end, we study how eye movements reflect underlying cognitive and perceptual processing, in health and disease. The candidate will investigate how gaze reflects feature- and object-based visual processing, decision-making, target selection, and cognitive strategies. The research involves designing experiments using infrared eye trackers, analyzing gaze metrics, and using the results to advance our understanding of how we process the world around us to be able to act upon it. There is the potential to advancing our computational models and develop neural network models. Students working in this area will have a relevant background (e.g. neuroscience, human kinetics, psychology, cognitive science, biomedical science, informatics, etc) and some programming skills (e.g. Matlab).

Visual Attention, Perception, and CognitionThe brain takes the 2D image projected onto the eyes and converts it, with apparent ease, into 3-dimensional, object-rich representations of the visual world. However easy it may appear, the underlying visual processing is quite complicated. As the brain has limited capacity to process everything at once, we have developed mechanisms such as attention and other cognitive functions to focus on and quickly process important objects and locations. We are seeking a graduate student to study these underlying cognitive and perceptual processes. The research involves designing experiments and running them on human participants, analyzing the data, and interpreting the results in light of the underlying neural circuitry. Students working in this area will have a relevant background in neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science or similar.

EEG measures synchronized activity across populations of neurons, with high temporal resolution, while participants are performing behavioural tasks. This technique lends itself well to a wide range of participants including children and special populations. fMRI compliments EEG data by providing high spatial resolution. Together they produce a clear picture of the brain activity underlying cognition. We do not have capacity to train students in this area at the moment.

University of Guelph students who are interested in learning more about research opportunities in the lab are welcome to contact Dean Mazyar Fallah.


Cortical Interactions in Eye Movements
We gaze around a full visual world. How does the rest of the visual input affect saccades to a target of interest?
Role: Principal Investigator Funded by: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

Feature Integration and Object Processing
How are features which are processed in different places and stages in the visual system, integrated into a coherent object representation?
Role: Principal Investigator Funded by: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

Assistive Gaze Tracking with the iPad TrueDepth Camera
How can the iPad gaze tracking solution be used in individuals with limited mobility and speech impairments. In-lab and clinical testing.
Role: Principal Investigator Funded by: VISTA & NSERC Engage

Feature Modulation of Executive Functions
How do the features of the visual stimuli affect the strength of executive functions such as attention, working memory, response inhibition. Can this be used to aid impairments in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Role: Principal Investigator Funded by: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council


Currently available to supervise graduate students: No

Currently taking on work-study students, Graduate Assistants or Volunteers: Yes

Available to supervise undergraduate thesis projects: Yes