Sebastian Schneegans

In 2015 I have completed my PhD at the Institut für Neuroinformatik, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, working on dynamic field models of spatial cognition, visual working memory, and visual attention. These models address  how activation distributions in populations of neurons can represent information on spatial locations and visual features, and how these representations can ultimately be used to generate goal oriented behavior

Many of the problems I worked on are directly or indirectly linked to saccadic eye movements. Humans often make several such movements per second to focus their gaze on different parts of their environment. And necessarily, each eye movement shifts the whole visual image. This renders any purely retinal location information that was acquired before the saccade obsolete.

I have developed a model of saccade generation that addresses the selection of visual stimuli as saccade targets and captures the biasing influence that active working memory content can have on this selection. I have also proposed a dynamic field model for transsaccadic spatial working memory, using spatial representations in two dynamically coupled spatial representation to achieve a memory for locations that is stable over gaze changes. The neural mechanism for reference frame transformation used in this context has also formed the basis for work on relational spatial language use in humans and the learning of context-depending reaching movements in macaque monkeys. Finally, I have combined my models of attentional selection and reference frame transformation to adress the problem of feature binding in visual working memory.

Based on my experience in implementing dynamic field models, I have developed the [cosivina]( toolbox for Matlab to make it faster and easier to build and test new dynamic field architectures, both for myself and for others.

I am now about to begin a position as postdoctoral research associate in the group of Paul Bays at the University of Cambridge, where I will further explore the mechanisms of human visual working memory.