Clearing the decks

In the last few weeks running up to Christmas there’s lots to get done. At the moment I’m trying to tie up lots of projects, and get data collected on a few experiments. One of those is a collaboration with John Cass, who came to visit the lab in September. We’re looking at consciousness during binocular rivalry, and it looks like it’s going to be an interesting study. I’ve got a few more subjects to run, and then we can start analysing and writing it up.  Here’s John savouring some beer:

John drinking beer

Our lab moved from Aston’s monolithic main building into the Vision Sciences building a few weeks ago. The new space is really great, with a big open area to have meetings and conversations in. We’ve had a few teething problems with the heating and lighting, but we’re getting things sorted now.  Here’s the open area on move-in day – it’s a bit tidier now!

A wide angle shot of the new lab space on move-in day.

We’ve also finally sorted out a place to live in York. It’s big, near the station, and they’re happy with our cats living there, so it fits all our criteria. The move should happen in about five weeks time, which means we’ll be moved in ready for Christmas. I’m really looking forward to starting the new job in January, I even have a temporary new website up in my new department.

In tying up lots of projects, we’ve had a few new papers published, some of which have been in the pipeline for quite a while. There are a couple in the final stages of review, and here are some that are already out:

This is the first thing we’ve published from Alex Baldwin‘s PhD. Alex measured sensitivity to small grating patches across the visual field, in much greater detail than people had attempted before. It turns out that sensitivity falls off as a bilinear function of eccentricity, which has important ramifications for models of spatial vision.

Another study by Wallis et al looked at the slope of the psychometric function for a range of different stimuli. We wanted to see if slopes varied with spatial frequency or pattern size (they don’t), and also to work out the most accurate method for estimating slopes over many sessions.

Finally, in a collaborative paper with Pi-Chun Huang and Robert Hess, we looked at the temporal properties of interocular suppression, in both normal and amblyopic subjects. We explain all of our findings with a simple model that assumes that signals are blurred and delayed slightly in time before they have a masking effect on the opposite eye. Surprisingly, the amblyopes don’t show greater suppression than the normal observers, once you take into account the difference in sensitivity between their eyes.

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