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Marianne Maertens


Room: MAR 5.010

Phone: +49 (0)30/314-24478

Email: marianne.maertens@tu-berlin.de

Office Hours: Monday 10 - 11 a.m., please make an appointment



Research Interests

I study visual perception in humans. The goal of my research is to understand how our brain generates meaningful perceptual categories from a given sensory stimulation at the retina.

Curriculum Vitae

Professional and Academic Experience
since 2011
Junior Research Group Leader, TU Berlin (DFG Emmy Noether & Heisenberg Programs)
Postdoctoral Researcher with Prof. Felix Wichmann, TU Berlin
Postdoctoral Researcher with Prof. Stefan Pollmann, Otto-von-Guericke Universität Magdeburg
Visiting Scholar at the Center for Neural Science, NYU, lab of Prof. Robert Shapley
Ph.D., Psychology, University of Leipzig and MPI of Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Diploma, Psycholgy, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg




Research Projects

  • An early vision model of lightness perception
Our goal is to develop a mechanistic account of the computational principles and mechanisms that transform retinal sensations into meaningful percepts. We address this goal in the domain of lightness perception and want to understand how surface lightness is determined from the luminance signal in the retina. A computational model of lightness should receive a 2d matrix of gray values as input and compute the perceived lightness at all image positions as output.   
  • Increments and decrements in naturalistic stimuli
In this project we study the question under which conditions increments and decrements are matched with targets of opposite polarity.  
  • Depth perception in 3d scenes
The perception of surface lightness is influenced by the depth arrangement of a scene. To study depth perception under naturalistic conditions we collaborate with the Computer Graphics lab. We use objects that are created by means of 3d printing on the basis of mesh models. The availability of these models
means that for each 3d object a corresponding image of the object can be rendered on the computer. We test perceptual responses to 3d objects and their 2d counterparts.
  •  Manual dexterity in humans and robots
Human grasping skills are far superior to those of robots. In collaboration with the Robotics lab we investigate the principles that lead to this superior performance in human grasping and work towards transferring these principles to robotic systems. Our key hypothesis is that human  grasping performance crucially depens on the purposeful exploitation of contact with the environment.    

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Wiebel, C., Aguilar, G. and Maertens, M. (2017). Maximum-likelihood difference scales represent perceptual magnitudes and predict appearance matches. Journal of Vision, 17, doi:10.1167/17.4.1.

Aguilar, G., Wichmann, F. and Maertens, M. (2017). Comparing sensitivity estimates
from MLDS and forced-choice methods in a slant-from-texture experiment. Journal of
Vision, 17, doi:10.1167/17.1.37.

Wichmann, F., Janssen, D., Geirhos, R., Aguilar, G., Schütt, H., Maertens, M. and Bethge, M. (2017). Careful methods and measurements for comparisons between men and machines. Human Vision and Electronic Imaging Conference, at IS&T Electronic Imaging.

Puhlmann, S., Heinemann, F., Brock, O. and Maertens, M. (2016). A Compact Representation of Human Single-Object Grasping. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).

Wiebel, C., Singh, M. and Maertens, M. (2016). Testing the role of Michelson contrast for the perception of surface lightness. Journal of Vision, 16(11), 1-19, doi:10.1167/16.11.17.

Wang, X., Lindlbauer, D., Lessig, C., Maertens, M. and Alexa, M. (2016). Measuring Visual Salience of 3D Printed Objects. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications Special Issue on Quality Assessment and Perception in Computer Graphics.

Betz, T., Wichmann, F.A., Shapley, R. and Maertens, M. (2015). Noise masking of White's illusion exposes  the weakness of current spatial filtering models of lightness perception. Journal of Vision, 15(14), 1-17, doi: 10.1167/15.14.1.

Betz, T., Wichmann, F.A., Shapley, R. and Maertens, M. (2015). Testing the role of luminance edges in White's illusion with contour adaptation. Journal of Vision, 15(11), 1-16, doi:10.1167/15.11.14.

Maertens, M., Wichmann, F.A. and Shapley, R. (2015). Context affects lightness at the level of surfaces, Journal of Vision, 15(1), doi:10.1167/15.1.15.

Eppner, C., Deimel, R., Alvarez-Ruiz, J., Maertens, M., and Brock, O. (2015). Exploitation of environmental constraints in human and robotic grasping. The International Journal of Robotics Research, 34(7), 1021–1038.

Heinemann, F., Puhlmann, S., Eppner, C. Alvarez-Ruiz, J., Maertens, M. and Brock, O. (2015). A taxonomy of human grasping behavior suitable for transfer to robotic hands. Robotics and Automation (ICRA), IEEE International Conference, 4286-4291.

Zeiner, K. and Maertens, M. (2014). Linking luminance and lightness by global contrast normalization, Journal of Vision, 14(7), doi:10.1167/14.7.3.

Maertens, M. and Wichmann, F.A. (2013). When luminance increment thresholds depend on apparent lightness, Journal of Vision, 13(6):doi:10.1167/13.6.21.

Maertens, M. and Shapley, R. (2013). Relating appearance to neural activity: linking assumptions for studying the perception of lightness in naturalistic contexts, Visual Neuroscience, 24, 1-10.

Deimel, R., Eppner, C., Alvarez-Ruiz, J., Maertens, M. and Brock, O. (2013). Exploitation of environmental constraints in human and robotic grasping. International Symposium of Robotic Research, 1-16.

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    Modelling of Cognitive Processes
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