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Summer school: “Perceptual organization: Interdisciplinary approaches and research skills”

Monday, March 17, 2014  
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Prof. Johan Wagemans

Summer school: “Perceptual organization: Interdisciplinary approaches and research skills”

July 29 - August 13, 2014
University of Leuven, Belgium.

Full program:

Target audience:
PhD students and postdocs working in vision or related areas, interested in deepening their knowledge of perceptual organization and broadening their research skills. The number of participants will be limited to 40 to facilitate interactions and in-depth discussions.

A well-balanced composition (a “good Gestalt”) of the following components:
Lectures on core topics within the domain of perceptual organization (e.g., perceptual grouping, figure-ground organization, contour, shape, modal and amodal completion, simplicity versus likelihood, perceptual ambiguities), all approached from many different angles (e.g., phenomenology, experimental psychology, psychophysics, computational modeling, neuropsychology, neurophysiology, neuroimaging).
Confirmed lecturers: Lee de-Wit, Vebjörn Ekroll, James Elder, Walter Gerbino, Alan Gilchrist, Céline Gillebert, Ruth Kimchi, Jan Koenderink, Naoki Kogo, Pieter Roelfsema, Peter Tse, Peter van der Helm, Cees van Leeuwen, Johan Wagemans.
Small tutor groups focused on discussions and on-going research on related issues (e.g., binocular rivalry, consciousness, modeling mid-level vision, natural image statistics, visual art, visual processing in autism).
Hands-on skills-oriented sessions on psychophysics, eye movement recording, neural recording techniques (e.g., EEG, TMS, fMRI, incl. newer methods like MVPA decoding, connectivity analysis, cortical dynamics, integrated measures), research software (e.g., Python, PsychoPy, toolboxes, Bayesian statistics in R).
Reflection and discussion evenings on fundamental issues like “What is vision for?”, “What is missing in current vision science?”, “What have we learned from neuroimaging that we could not have learned from behavioral methods alone?” and on concerns about science in general (e.g., difficulties in grant applications, publish or perish, publication bias, the dangers of publication metrics, peer review, translational science).

Note that several of the skills-oriented modules are scheduled for the first day and the last 2 days, so that people who can stay only for a more limited time have some flexibility in their planning.

Registration fee is 400 Euro, and includes course material, drinks, and lunches. Accommodation in university dorms can be provided upon request but is not included in the fee. We will also provide a number of fellowships for PhD students and postdocs without funding (tuition waiver).
Pre-registration: Candidates for the summer school should register on the website before March 21, 2014 and send supporting materials (motivation letter, curriculum vitae and letters of recommendation by current or past supervisors) by email to This deadline will not be extended! We need to process all applications in a short time window.
Final registration: Selected candidates will be informed before April 1, 2014 and should then register before May 1, 2014, including payment.

Department of Psychology, Tiensestraat 102, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. Leuven is a typical, medieval university town, small but lively, with lots of cafes and restaurants, all in walking distance from the department. Leuven is only 20 minutes away from Brussels (15 min from the national airport of Zaventem, 25 min from the high-speed train station of Brussel-Zuid/Bruxelles-Midi).

On behalf of the organizing committee,
Johan Wagemans, Vebjörn Ekroll, Mark Vergeer

2424 American Lane • Madison, WI 53704-3102 USA
Phone: +1 608-441-1070 • Fax: +1 608-443-2474 • Email:

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