Welcome to the UBC Vision Lab, where we study how the human mind selects information. This selectivity is what is meant by attention, which involves a dynamic interplay among biological (neural), experiential (learning), and intentional (goals) factors.

Our studies explore how the external world is represented inside and outside of conscious awareness, how perception changes as an individual matures, how specific experiences change what we see, how actions influence perception, and how to design visual displays for aesthetic interest and optimal performance. The Research page highlights recent projects as presented at conferences.

Our current aim is to change the way cognitive scientists measure human response and experience. To do this we are moving away from the staple of modern cognitive psychology — simple key presses and brief responses — toward the measurement of whole body responses. In some studies we are video-taping participants while they perform visual-cognitive tasks in order to study the influence of environmental and cognitive factors on behavior that is visible to a third person. This allows us to study many interesting aspects of person perception in its own right. A long-term goal is to develop and combine measures of human experience using a wide variety of approaches, from first-person reports, eye tracking, limb movement, body posture, facial expressions, respiration and heart rate. We are supported by a generous award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (2009) to Alan Kingstone (BAR Lab) and James Enns (UBC Vision Lab).

Reading for prospective graduate students:

  • 2013 Hebb Talk “Human perception: A science of synergy” [pdf]