Kyoto University Graduate School of Engineering Department of Electrical EngineeringDepartmrnt of Electronic Science and Engineering Kobayashi Laboratory



Empirical research on brain mechanisms of visual perception and consciousness

The processes within the brain associated with visual awareness, i.e., the noticing or understanding of significant information from a varied mass of raw visual data, has become an important research topic in the field of cognitive science in recent years. The elucidation of visual awareness mechanisms is expected not only to contribute to the advancement of neuroscience, but also to provide valuable knowledge for various practical applications in a variety of fields, such as biomedical engineering and information science. One psychological phenomenon that is of interest in research on visual awareness is that of "multistable perceptions." In multistable perceptions an observer who is presented with an unchanging visual stimulus experiences two or three different percepts alternately and repetitively. This provides a very easy-to-understand objective phenomenon for an empirical investigation to try to determine the kind of mechanism in the brain accounts for what is seen or noticed (i.e., for visual awareness and consciousness). In this lab, we are investigating brain mechanisms of multistable perceptions, such as binocular rivalry and mobile ambiguous figures, by applying non-invasive neuroimaging techniques, eye movement measurements, and neural network modeling methods.