Anouk van Loon


Phone: +31 (0) 20 598 6907
Room: 1B-69


I am working on the ERC-project ‘Depicting the picture in your head’ in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Chris Olivers.


In 2005 I obtained my BSc in Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Amsterdam and started my Masters in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Amsterdam. During my masters, I did my internship at the University of Cambridge at the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute (Prof. Dr. Sahakian & Prof. Dr. Robbins). During my Masters I worked as TMS research assistant at the Amsterdam Center for the study of Adaptive Control in Brain and Behavior where I also finished my thesis on the role of emotion in action readiness using motor-TMS. (Prof. Dr. Ridderinkhof and Dr. van den Wildenberg). In 2014 I finished my PhD thesis titled: The Neurochemical correlate of consciousness: exploring neurotransmitter systems underlying conscious vision. (Prof. Dr. Lamme. & Dr. Scholte). To study this, I have applied a variety of cognitive neuroscience techniques including fMRI, TMS, EEG, MRS and pharmacology and different paradigms such as bistable perception, masking and object recognition.

Research interest

One of the most important features of human vision is that it is selective and dynamic. It flexibly samples the environment on the basis of what is relevant to our current tasks, such as finding a friend in the crowd. This means that the brain maintains some representation of what we are currently looking for, a face. This “picture in your head”, or “template”, remains a huge mystery. I’m intrigued how neural interactions across the visual cortical hierarchy guide our visual perception and how our brain integrates the “picture in our head” with incoming sensory information. I’m using different techniques such as fMRI, EEG and eye tracking to investigate the interplay between attention, perception and working memory. During my PhD, I have also studied the dynamics between bottom-up and top-down visual processes, with the focus on visual awareness. For example, I have used backward masking and different pharmacological manipulations while recording EEG to disentangle feedforward from feedback processes. In another project, I have looked at the role of GABA (by means of MRS and pharmacology) in bistable perception. I have also used Mooney images to see whether object representation, as assessed with MVPA-fMRI, changes with recognition and Ketamine.



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Recent publications

KO Solis, A van Loon, S Los & C Olivers (2018) Microsaccades reveal the temporal dynamics of template and response preparation during visual search.. Journal of Vision 18 (10), 1031-1031
K Olmos-Solis, A van Loon & C Olivers (2018) Pupil Dilation Reflects Task Relevance Prior to Search. Journal of Cognition 1 (1)
AM van Loon, CNL Olivers & JJ Fahrenfort (2018) Current and future goals are represented in opposite patterns in object-selective cortex. bioRxiv, 337964
AM van Loon, K Olmos-Solis & CNL Olivers (2017) Subtle eye movement metrics reveal task-relevant representations prior to visual search. Journal of vision 17 (6), 13-134
HM Kondo, AM van Loon, JI Kawahara & BCJ Moore (2017) Auditory and visual scene analysis: an overview. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 372 (1714), 2016009911
K Olmos-Solis, AM van Loon, SA Los & CNL Olivers (2017) Oculomotor measures reveal the temporal dynamics of preparing for search. Progress in brain research 236, 1-232
KO Solis, A Van Loon & C Olivers (2016) Tracking the dynamics of working memory representations through the eyes. Journal of Vision 16 (12), 1161-1161
K Olmos Solis, AM van Loon & CNL Olivers (2016) Tracking the dynamics of working representations through the eyes.
AM van Loon, JJ Fahrenfort, B van der Velde, PB Lirk, NCC Vulink & ... (2015) NMDA receptor antagonist ketamine distorts object recognition by reducing feedback to early visual cortex. Cerebral Cortex 26 (5), 1986-199618
AM van Loon, IIA Groen, JJ Fahrenfort, VAF Lamme & HS Scholte (2015) The role of recognition in shaping neural category representations.
K Olmos Solis, AM van Loon & CNL Olivers (2015) Does the pupil track attentional guidance by visual working memory contents?.
AM van Loon, K Archeou & CNL Olivers (2015) Tracking the dynamics of visual working memory representations using steady-state-visual-evoked potentials.
NA Kloosterman, T Meindertsma, AM van Loon, VAF Lamme, YS Bonneh & ... (2015) Pupil size tracks perceptual content and surprise. European Journal of Neuroscience41
S Van Gaal, L Naccache, JDI Meuwese, AM Van Loon, AH Leighton & ... (2014) Can the meaning of multiple words be integrated unconsciously?. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 369 (1641), 2013021251
JDI Meuwese, AM van Loon, VAF Lamme & JJ Fahrenfort (2014) The subjective experience of object recognition: Comparing metacognition for object detection and object categorization. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 76 (4), 1057-10686
AM van Loon (2014) The neurochemical correlate of consciousness: exploring neurotransmitter systems underlying conscious vision.
JDI Meuwese, AM van Loon, HS Scholte, PB Lirk, NCC Vulink & ... (2013) NMDA receptor antagonist ketamine impairs feature integration in visual perception. PloS one 8 (11), e7932613
AM van Loon, HS Scholte, JJ Fahrenfort, B van der Velde, PB Lirk & ... (2013) Ketamine changes the neural representation of object recognition in early visual cortex.. Journal of Vision 13 (9), 129-129
IG Sligte, HS Scholte, AM van Loon & VAF Lamme (2013) A direct link between primary visual cortex functioning and iconic memory capacity. Journal of Vision 13 (9), 460-460
AMV Gerlicher, AM van Loon, HS Scholte, VAF Lamme & AR van der Leij (2013) Emotional facial expressions reduce neural adaptation to face identity. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 9 (5), 610-61415

View full list of publications on Google Scholar