Attention & Perception

Section 1

Visual Cognition and Human Performance Division

Program Description

Members of the Attention & Perception program area have interests in attention, perception, spatial cognition, and awareness, with emphases on both basic and applied research in perception and cognition. Research in the division adopts a variety of approaches and methodologies to explore both basic mechanisms of visual cognition as well as real-world applications of cognitive and perceptual principles. Faculty in the Attention & Perception program area interact closely with faculty and students in the other program areas in Psychology (particularly Cognitive and Cognitive Neuroscience), and faculty across these and other program areas collaborate and jointly advise students.


The program is designed to train students to become contributing scientists in academic or applied settings and/or to become teachers at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Over the course of the program, students work together with their advisor(s) to design a program of study fitted to the student's particular needs and interests. The program places a heavy emphasis on original research from the beginning of graduate studies, and all students complete a first-year research project which they then present in the division seminar.

Facilities and Resources

Students, postdocs, and faculty in the division have access to state-of-the-art research facilities and tools including multi-modality brain imaging (fMRI, optical imaging, high-density EEG/ERP), exceptional eye tracking equipment, and virtual reality systems. They also have access to diverse subject populations (e.g., children, elderly).

Affiliated Departments, Programs, and Institutes

Faculty in the Attention & Perception program area maintain close ties with researchers in many other departments, including Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, and Computer Science, among others, as well as other departments in the university (e.g., Industrial Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Kinesiology, Education). All of the members are also affiliated with the interdisciplinary Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.


Attention & Perception Faculty

Diane M. Beck, Professor


Cognitive and neural mechanisms of visual attention, awareness, and perception.

Office: Room 531 | (217) 244-1118 |

John E. Hummel, Professor

John E. Hummel

Relational processing in perception and cognition. Neurocomputational origins of relational (i.e., symbolic) thought.

Office: Room 825 | (217) 265-6090 |

David E. Irwin, Professor

David E. Irwin

Visual perception, visual cognition, visual attention, eye movements, awareness.

Office: Room 809 | (217) 333-7746 |

Alejandro Lleras, Professor

Alejandro Lleras

Vision, awareness, attention.

Office: Room 523 | (217) 265-6709 |

Daniel J. Simons, Professor

Daniel J. Simons

Visual cognition, perception, attention, and memory. Much of my research focuses on successes and failures of visual awareness, including change blindness and inattentional blindness.

Office: Room 807 | (217) 689-1527 |

Ranxiao Frances Wang, Professor

Ranxiao Frances Wang

Principles used by humans and other animals to solve various perceptual and spatial problems and how to implement these principles in artificial systems; and the reference systems and processes underlying human navigation, space perception, object and scene recognition, and visual perception of self-motion.

Office: Room 533 | (217) 244-3664 |

Associated Faculty

Simona Buetti, Research Assistant Professor

Simona Buetti

Visual attention, emotion-cognition interactions, response interference effects, and individual differences.

Office: Room 521 | (217) 300-8156 |

Arthur F. Kramer, Professor Emeritus

Arthur F. Kramer

Cognitive neuroscience, cognition & aging, selective attention, skill acquisition and training, human factors.

Northeastern University | (617) 373-2129 |

Christopher Wickens, Professor Emeritus

Christopher Wickens

Applied cognitive psychology, specifically how humans interact with complex systems, particularly airplanes (pilots and controllers) and ground vehicles.

Office: Room 511 | (217) 333-6195 |

Affiliates from Other Departments

Alex Kirlik, Professor

Alex Kirlik

Beckman Institute, Departments of Psychology, Computer Science, Mechanical Science & Engineering, and Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering

(217) 244-8972 | Website |


Facilities Information

Building Remodeling Projects

Click on the title to check out these pictures from the classroom remodeling project in the basement. A second project to replace the elevators will begin in September. Beginning with the freight elevator, each elevator will be out of service for three months. To get quickly from one floor to another, and improve your fitness, we will encourage the use of the stairs. The repainting of the northeast stairwell has been completed, and the painter is starting on the southwest stairwell.