Living in a Multisensory World: Integration of Information across Space and Time
Event date:  July 15, 2016 2:00 PM  to 3:00 PM

Talk Abstract:

The brain receives information about the environment from all the sensory modalities, including vision, touch and audition. To efficiently interact with the environment, this information must eventually converge in the brain in order to form a reliable and accurate multimodal percept. This process is often complicated by the existence of noise at every level of signal processing, which makes the sensory information derived from the world imprecise and potentially inaccurate. There are several ways in which the nervous system may minimize the negative consequences of noise in terms of precision and accuracy. Two key strategies are to combine redundant sensory estimates and to utilize acquired knowledge about the statistical regularities of different sensory signals. In this talk, I elaborate on how these strategies may be used by the nervous system in order to obtain the best possible estimates from noisy sensory signals, such that we are able of efficiently interact with the environment. Particularly, I will focus on the learning aspects and how our perceptions are tuned to the statistical regularities of an ever-changing environment.


Speaker’s Bio

Marc Ernst studied physics in Heidelberg and Frankfurt/Main. In 2000 he received his Ph.D. degree from the Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen for investigations into the human visuomotor behaviour, which he conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. Starting in 2000, he spent almost 2 years as research associate at the University of California at Berkeley working with Prof. Martin Banks on psychophysical experiments and computational models investigating the integration of visual-haptic information. End of 2001, he returned to the MPI in Tübingen and became principle investigator of the Sensorimotor Lab in the Department of Prof. Heinrich Bülthoff. In 2007 he then became leader of the Max Planck Research Group on Human Multisensory Perception and Action. Beginning of 2011 he joined the University of Bielefeld and became full professor chairing the Cognitive Neuroscience Group. In Bielefeld he was also director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) and scientific co-coordinator of the Cognitive Interaction Technology–Centre of Excellence (CITEC). In early 2016 Marc Ernst moved to Ulm University where he took over the chair for Applied Cognitive Psychology. Marc Ernst's scientific interest is in human multisensory perception, perceptual learning, sensorimotor integration, and men-machine interaction.



Event location:  Universität Stuttgart
Room 00.012
Allmandring 19
70569  Stuttgart