University of

Department of

In the Visual Cognition Lab (VizCogLab) at the University of Victoria, we examine the cognitive and neurophysiological processes underlying object and face recognition. A central question in our research concerns the role that experience and biology plays in the way we recognize objects. We are currently approaching this question from two perspectives. First, we are studying the recognition processes of object experts, such as expert biologists, dog experts, and bird experts, to see whether experts recognize objects in their domain of expertise differently than novices. Second, we are examining the visual processes that mediate face recognition. It has been claimed that face recognition is a type of recognition in which all people are experts. As a form of expertise, we might expect face recognition to share similar processes as those found for other types of expert object recognition (e.g.,birdwatching, car identification). These questions are examined using converging experimental approaches that include behavioural measures, event-related potentials and the study of brain-damaged patients. In more recent work, we are applying the principles of perceptual expertise to teach children with autism how to recognize faces. By drawing parallels and contrasts between face recognition and expert object recognition, we hope to better understand how experience shapes the way we perceive and recognize objects in the world.

The VizCogLab is an affiliated member of the James P. McDonnell Foundation's Perceptual Expertise Network



Autism Project

Cognition & Brain Science Program

UVic Psychology