BMI Prize 2021 SEMINAR // Aline Cretenoud "Individual differences in visual (mis)perception: a multivariate statistical approach"


Event details

Date 08.12.2021 12:1513:15  
Speaker Aline Cretenoud, Laboratory of Psychophysics, BMI, SV, EPFL
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
IMPORTANT NOTICE // In-person attendance of this seminar is subjected to some constraints:
  • Maximum number of participants is limited to 80
  • Valid COVID certificate and ID (e.g. Camipro card), required to enter the conference room, will be checked at the entrance
  • Face masks are mandatory for everyone in the seminar room (excepted the speaker while presenting).
Common factors are omnipresent in everyday life, e.g., it is widely held that there is a common factor g for intelligence. In vision, however, there seems to be a multitude of specific factors rather than a strong and unique common factor. In my thesis, I first examined the multidimensionality of the structure underlying visual illusions. To this aim, the susceptibility to various visual illusions was measured. In addition, subjects were tested with variants of the same illusion, which differed in spatial features, luminance, orientation, or contextual conditions. Only weak correlations were observed between the susceptibility to different visual illusions. An individual showing a strong susceptibility to one visual illusion does not necessarily show a strong susceptibility to other visual illusions, suggesting that the structure underlying visual illusions is multifactorial. In contrast, there were strong correlations between the susceptibility to variants of the same illusion. Hence, factors seem to be illusion-specific but not feature-specific. Second, I investigated whether a strong visual factor emerges in healthy elderly and patients with schizophrenia, which may be expected from the general decline in perceptual abilities usually reported in these two populations compared to healthy young adults. Similarly, a strong visual factor may emerge in action video gamers, who often show enhanced perceptual performance compared to non-video gamers. Hence, healthy elderly, patients with schizophrenia, and action video gamers were tested with a battery of visual tasks, such as a contrast detection and orientation discrimination task. As in control groups, between-task correlations were weak in general, which argues against the emergence of a strong common factor for vision in these populations. While similar tasks are usually assumed to rely on similar neural mechanisms, the performances in different visual tasks were only weakly related to each other, i.e., performance does not generalize across visual tasks. These results highlight the relevance of an individual differences approach to unravel the multidimensionality of the visual structure.

Practical information

  • Informed public
  • Free


  • SV BMI Host : R. Schneggenberger

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