PhD Student

Berno Bucker

PhD Student

Phone: +31 (0) 20 5983914
Room: 1B-61


I am working on the ERC-project ‘What you get is what you see: How reward determines perception’ with my promotor, professor Jan Theeuwes.


My name is Berno Bucker and I was born and raised in Amsterdam. I studied Psychobiology (Bsc) and the research master Brain and Cognitive Science (MSc) at the University of Amsterdam. At the end of my bachelors I did an internship with Tobias Kalenscher and Cyriel Pennartz investigating decision processes in rats. During my masters I worked on the ID1000-project investigating the relationship between neuroanatomy (MRI, VBM and DTI techniques), choice-reaction time tasks and intelligence (IQ tests) with Steven Scholte and Andries van der Leij. Thereafter I conducted an fMRI experiment with Mike Cohen and Tomas Knapen, investigating the effect of top-down control on preparatory activity patterns (MVPA) in human visual cortex. During my masters I also worked as a research assistant at the Spinoza Center Amsterdam, where I operated the 3T scanner for the Department of Psychology and a neuro-marketing company called Neurensics. Currently I am working on Jan Theeuwes his ERC project investigating the relationship between reward and attention. Up till now I conducted behavioral and eye tracking experiments and in the near future I will start using fMRI or EEG to investigate reward related attentional processes inside the brain.

Research interests

Reward constantly dominates our state of mind and is known to be the main driving force behind adaptive behavior. Therefore our most adaptive organ, the brain, has become specialized in constantly predicting, representing and evaluating reward related information. At the one hand reward triggers anticipatory motivational processes, which interact with attention to bias perception towards possible rewarding stimuli. At the other hand reward can directly bias perception and automatically change the priority of reward associated perceptual features. I like to study both the motivational aspects and the more automatic priority effects of reward, as well as reward-learning. What fascinates me most is that reward can exert very rapid, automatic and long-lasting effects on attention that can be revealed in very basic reaction time and eye movement experiments.

Personal pages

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Recent publications

B Bucker & J Theeuwes (2018) Stimulus-driven and goal-driven effects on Pavlovian associative reward learning. Visual Cognition 26 (2), 131-1481
F Walker, B Bucker, NC Anderson, D Schreij & J Theeuwes (2017) Looking at paintings in the Vincent Van Gogh Museum: Eye movement patterns of children and adults. PloS one 12 (6), e0178912
B Bucker (2017) Reward Modulates Visual Selective Attention. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit
B Bucker & J Theeuwes (2017) Pavlovian reward learning underlies value driven attentional capture. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 79 (2), 415-42813
B Bucker (2017) Reward, a State of Mind: Reward Controls Visual Selective Attention.
B Bucker & J Theeuwes (2016) Appetitive and aversive outcome associations modulate exogenous cueing. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 78 (7), 2253-22655
B Bucker, JD Silvis, M Donk & J Theeuwes (2015) Reward modulates oculomotor competition between differently valued stimuli. Vision research 108, 103-11215
B Bucker, AV Belopolsky & J Theeuwes (2015) Distractors that signal reward attract the eyes. Visual Cognition 23 (1-2), 1-2424
F Walker, B Bucker & J Theeuwes (2015) The Hunger Games: Modulation of salience by reward in an experimental setting.
B Bucker & J Theeuwes (2015) Reward modulates orienting and reorienting in exogenous cueing.
B Bucker & J Theeuwes (2014) The effect of reward on orienting and reorienting in exogenous cuing. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience 14 (2), 635-64618
B Bucker & J Theeuwes (2013) How reward induced motivation affects exogenous attention orienting.

View full list of publications on Google Scholar