Our research

Our research aims to investigate the neural mechanisms through which visual perception interacts with motor control. We employ techniques for monitoring and focally perturbing neural activity to understand the functional contribution of individual brain circuits in coordinating perception and action. Besides clarifying our understanding of the sense of vision, our research also sheds light on how neural activity that is distributed across multiple brain areas is organized to support behavior.

Role and genesis of microsaccades

Microsaccades are extremely small versions of the saccadic eye movements that we employ in everyday life, but they never displace retinal images of the objects we are looking at away from the fovea. We use a variety of techniques to explore brain control over microsaccades and when/why these movements are triggered.

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Perception and eye movements

High-resolution vision in humans is only limited to a small area of the visual field. Despite this, humans have the perception of a vivid, clear scene throughout the visual field, and this is because humans are active observers. One of our goals is to understand how eye movements support such clear, stable percepts.

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visual attention and eye movements

Related to the interplay between perception and eye movements is an equally important interaction between attention and eye movements. Our lab investigates the neural mechanisms that underlie such interaction.

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SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Hafed, Z. M. & Chen, C. -Y. (2016). Sharper, stronger, faster upper visual field representation in primate superior colliculus. Current Biology, Vol. 26, pp. 1647-1658.

Hafed, Z. M., Chen, C. -Y., & Tian, X. (2015). Vision, perception, and attention through the lens of microsaccades: mechanisms and implications. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience (Special Research Topic on Perisaccadic Vision), 9:167. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2015.00167

Chen, C. -Y., Ignashchenkova, A., Thier, P., & Hafed, Z. M. (2015). Neuronal response gain enhancement prior to microsaccades. Current Biology, Vol. 25, pp. 2065-2074.

Hafed, Z. M. & Ignashchenkova, A. (2013). On the dissociation between microsaccade rate and direction after peripheral cues: microsaccadic inhibition revisited. Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 33, No. 41, pp. 16220-16235.

Kagan, I. & Hafed, Z. M. (2013). Active vision: microsaccades direct the eye to where it matters most. Current Biology, Vol. 23, No. 17, pp. R712-R714.

Hafed, Z. M. (2013). Alteration of visual perception prior to microsaccades. Neuron, Vol. 77, pp. 775-786.

Hafed, Z. M. (2011). Mechanisms for generating and compensating for the smallest possible saccades. European Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 30, pp. 2101-2113.

Hafed, Z. M., Goffart, L., & Krauzlis, R. J. (2009). A neural mechanism for microsaccade generation in the primate superior colliculus. Science, Vol. 323, No. 5916, pp. 940-943.

Hafed, Z. M. & Krauzlis, R. J. (2006). Ongoing eye movements constrain visual perception. Nature Neuroscience, Vol. 9, No. 11, pp. 1449-1457.

Hafed, Z. M. & Clark, J. J. (2002). Microsaccades as an overt measure of covert attention shifts. Vision Research, Vol. 42, No. 22, pp. 2533-2545.

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our team

We strive to create a collaborative environment that promotes making amazing discoveries. The beauty of science is that it is a perpetual learning experience for each one of us.
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Prof. Ziad Hafed

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Dr. Antimo Buonocore

Post-Doc
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Chih-Yang Chen

PhD Student
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Xiaoguang Tian

PhD Student
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Joachim Bellet

PhD Student
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Konstantin-Friedrich Willeke

Master’s Student

SELECTED MEDIA COVERAGE OF OUR RESEARCH

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