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Marianne Maertens


Room MAR 5010
Tel.: 030 - 314 24478

Sekretariat MAR 5-3
Marchstrasse 23
10587 Berlin

Research Topic

I study visual perception in humans. In particular, I try to understand how the visual system resolves the problem of scene segmentation. Objects in our environment reflect light and this light stimulates photoreceptors in the retina. This so-called retinal image is known in perceptual psychology as the proximal stimulus and it is how the visual system makes contact with the external world. So the overall question I am studying, is how the visual machinery is capable of extracting familiar perceptual categories such as 'solid object', 'shade', 'transparent figure' and so on from this twodimensional spatio-geometrical energy pattern. A number of 'problems' make that task a non-trivial one. One is that, due to occlusion, pieces that belong to a single object might be disconnected in space. The visual system has the remarkable ability to perceptually complete shapes, even across large distances in space. In collaboration with Robert Shapley, we study the cues that trigger perceptual completion, the temporal efficiency of perceptual completion and the neural responses to perceptually completed shapes.

Another 'problem' arises, because the intensity values at different image regions do not necessarily map in a simple way to the perceived intensity of a surface or an object located at that position. Two surfaces might reflect the same amount of light and yet their inferred surface color might be perceived to be fairly different. Within the research of the Emmy-Noether group, we study the question whether, and if, to what extent or under which circumstances, the perceived intensity or apparent brightness of a surface influences so-called low-level perceptual parameters like the difference threshold.

Curriculum Vitae

April 2011-
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin and Technical University of Berlin
head of Emmy-Noether research group
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin and Technical University of Berlin
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Magdeburg
Center for Neural Science, New York University
Visiting Scholar in Robert Shapley's group
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive  and Brain Sciences, Leipzig
PhD under the supervision of Stefan Pollmann, thesis title "The Neural Representation of Illusory Contours"
Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg
Studies of Psychology


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