RTG 2175 Perception in Context and its neural Basis

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New TP Geyer/Müller

A funded PhD position available in the MEMVIS group at the Department of Psychology of LMU Munich

We are looking for a new PhD candidate to join our MEMVIS lab (MEMory in VIsual Search, contact person: Prof. Dr. Thomas Geyer.

Our background

Imagine your task is to detect a certain element in a cluttered environment, e.g., finding an edible berry among inedible leaves or toxic berries. Such situations are are-created in our laboratory by presenting, on a screen, an array of stimuli with one stimulus being the ‘target’ and the others are ‘non-target’ – distractor – elements. We know that items that differ from the surrounding elements in a certain feature or are expected attract your attention. Importantly, search performance is not ‘a-historic’: We have evidence that memory is acquired for both search-relevant and search-irrelevant stimulus attributes, in the latter, e.g., the spatial relationship between the target and the (context) distractors. In MEMVIS we spend much work on this ‘context-based guidance’ of visual search. More recently, our group made successful attempts towards the investigation of context effects in non-visual, i.e., tactile, modalities. In terms of methodology, we employ multiple methods for the study of human cognition. Examples: reaction time and psychophysical methods (including eye tracking), EEG, TMS, and – in the not too distant future – fMRI. The composition of the group is highly international.

Our work program


The PhD project addresses the behavioral and neuroscientific mechanisms of spatial configural learning within and across the modalities of vision and touch, mainly focusing on the guidance of tactile search from tactile memory (see Figure right). In the project we want to better understand the neural (i.e., electrophysiological) mechanisms underlying tactile context learning as well as the factors interacting with visual-tactile, cross-modal contextual learning and transfer. We also plan to use virtual reality to examine context effects in more ecologically valid situations.

Our interdisciplinary research and teaching environment.

The position starts in October 2018. It is limited to 3 years. The PhD project is part of a dedicated doctoral research training group (RTG 2175) at Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences of LMU Munich (GSNLMU). The work will be carried out at the chair of General and Experimental Psychology (chair holder: Prof. Dr. Hermann Müller), which is one of the largest psychological chairs in Germany (currently there are some 30-35 collaborators with various research backgrounds in cognitive neuroscience).

Our requirements (i.e., your skills)

(1) A excellent M.Sc. degree in a cognitive-neuroscience discipline (e.g., M.Sc. in Neuro-Cognitive/Psychology, M.Sc. in  Neurosciences, M.Sc. in bio-/medicine/engineering);

(2) Experience with behavioral and neurophysiological techniques (e.g., EEG, TMS, fMRI), documented in the form of, e.g., a M.Sc. Thesis project, a research practical (internship), and/or a publication.

(3) Proficiency in programming and data analysis with MATLAB and R.

(4) Excellent communication skills (including writing);

(5) Successful completion of GSN-LMU’s selection procedure (for further information about the application, please click here)

For more information please contact Thomas Geyer via e-mail geyer@lmu.de or phone: +49/(0)89/2180/5216