Computation & Neural Systems California Institute of Technology

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image Shinsuke Shimojo
Professor of Biology

B.A., University of Tokyo, 1978; M.A., 1980; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1985.

phone: 626-395-3324
location: 444 Beckman Institute
mail code: 139-74

research group |

Psychophysics Our research aims to examine the dynamic/adaptive nature of human visual perception-including its cross-modal, sensory-motor, developmental, and neurological aspects-using methods having a broad scope. Methodologically, several techniques have been particularly successful. (1) Microscopic psychophysics of visual perception in a very brief time period (1-200 ms) has revealed how the visual system identifies transient visual input in the context of a sustained, or continuously changing, frame of reference. Our initial finding of the "flash lag effect" in motion perception has now been generalized to other visual attributes such as luminance, color and spatial frequency. (2) Utilizing our new technique combining transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and psychophysics, we have isolated the exact spatio-temporal details of the visual cortical processes which are directly responsible for pattern and feature filling-in in the domains of both space and time. (3) Comparison between infants and adults in cross-modal integration has revealed both qualitative similarities and quantitative differences between them. In the last several years, we have launched a new project (JST.ERATO Shimojo Implicit Brain Function Project) in which we explore behavioral and neural bases of cognitive preference judgment on faces and other stimuli, and issues related to implicit emotional processes in general. In particular, we have found that orienting eye movement (gaze) and some subcortical neural activity identified by fMRI predict one's preference several seconds prior to the  conscious decision making. We continue to explore the complex interactions between implicit and explicit processes, cognitive and emotional systems, etc.

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