Talk by Alexander Schütz (Philipp University of Marburg)

Alexander Schütz from the Philipp University of Marburg will be visiting our group on June 14. He will give a public talk on “Weighting of Information across Eye Movements” (2pm, MPI-INF, room 024).


Due to the inhomogeneous visual representation across the visual field, humans use peripheral vision to select objects of interest and foveate them by saccadic eye movements for further scrutiny. Thus, we typically gather information about an object from peripheral vision before and foveal vision after a saccade. In three projects we investigated how peripheral and foveal information is weighted across saccades.
First, we studied how peripheral information before a saccade is integrated with foveal information after a saccade. By manipulating the relative reliability and the consistency of peripheral and foveal information, we could show that peripheral and foveal information is weighted according to their reliability and integrated in a near-optimal manner. Second, we tested if the potential gain in information by executing a saccade modulates the latency of the saccade. We hypothesized that saccades which lead to a gain in information (i.e. when peripheral information is inferior to foveal information) should be executed at shorter latencies than saccades which lead to a loss of information (i.e when peripheral information is superior to foveal information). However, saccade latencies were not modulated by the gain or loss of information and only showed a robust facilitation when the eye movement target was relevant to a perceptual task.
These results suggest that the visual system weights and integrates peripheral and foveal information in a statistically optimal way, but these optimal weights seem not to be available for the control of eye movements.


Alexander Schütz studied Psychology at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg and finished his studies with a thesis at AUDI AG, supervised by Cristina Meinecke. In 2006 he moved to Karl Gegenfurtner’s lab at the Justus-Liebig-University Gießen, where he was working first as PhD student, from 2008 as post-doc and from 2010 as assistant professor. In between he was a visiting researcher at Dirk Kerzel’s lab in Geneva and at Concetta Morrone’s and David Burr’s lab in Pisa. Since 2015 Alexander Schütz is professor at the Philipps-University Marburg. Alexander Schütz is studying the interaction of visual perception and different types of eye movements, using eye tracking, visual psychophysics and computational modeling. His research is funded by the German Research Foundation and an ERC Starting Grant.