Erik van der BurgAssistant Professor
After finishing my technical engineering degree (B.Sc.), and artificial intelligence degrees (B.Sc. and M.Sc.), I finished my PhD (Summa Cum Laude) at the Dept. of Cognitive Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam in November 2009, under the supervision of Prof Jan Theeuwes and Prof Chris Olivers. During my PhD, I discovered a novel phenomenon, showing how multisensory integration can have a major impact on what we see, and select in dynamically cluttered displays. We dubbed this phenomenon the pip and pop effect (Van der Burg, Olivers, Bronkhorst & Theeuwes, 2008, J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform). After my PhD, I worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the lab of Prof Jan Theeuwes for another 2.5 years, to extend my multisensory research and to examine how we search in densely cluttered environments.
In April 2012, I moved to Sydney with my wife and two sons to work as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Sydney, Australia, in the lab of Prof David Alais. Soon after my arrival, I was awarded a prestigious DECRA fellowship (~320k€; ~12% acceptance rate) from the Australian Research Council. As a result, in 2013, I became a lecturer and, in 2015 I received promotion to senior lecturer. While working for the University of Sydney, I discovered that our percept of time rapidly adapts to the immediate past (see Van der Burg, Alais & Cass, 2013, J Neurosci; Van der Burg & Goodbourn, 2015, Proc B). Together with, my other main collaborator in Australia, Dr John Cass from the University of Western Sydney, we found a new form of crowding in the temporal domain, which we labelled Remote Temporal Camouflage (Cass & Van der Burg, 2014, Vis Res). We showed that our percept of time can be profoundly disrupted by flickering objects elsewhere in the visual field. Recently, I introduced genetic algorithms to the field of visual search to examine how people search through cluttered heterogeneous displays (Van der Burg, Cass, Theeuwes & Alais, 2015, J Vis).
I returned to my roots in January 2016, taking up an Assistant Professor position at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. I remain affiliated by the University of Sydney as an Honorary Senior Research Associate.
I am interested in many research topics. Here, I mention just a couple of them:
1. Multisensory processing.How do we process information from different sensory modalities, and how do our senses interact with each other. I am interested in the following phenomena: the pip and pop effect, (temporal) ventriloquism, temporal recalibration, multimodal attention, and temporal preparation. My research focusses on vision, audition and touch only. I have ongoing collaborations with David Alais, Emily Orchard-Mills & Patrick Goodbourn (University of Sydney, Australia), John Cass (University of Western Sydney, Australia), Chris Olivers & Sander Los (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Mark Wallace & Jean-Paul Noel (Vanderbilt University, USA), Durk Talsma (Ghent University, Belgium) and Ed Awh (University of Chigago, USA). Selected publications:
Van der Burg, E., Olivers, C. N. L., Bronkhorst, A. W., & Theeuwes, J. (2008b). Pip and pop: Non-spatial auditory signals improve spatial visual search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 34(5), 1053-1065.
Van der Burg, E., Talsma, D., Olivers, C. N. L., Hickey, C., & Theeuwes, J. (2011). Early multisensory interactions affect the competition among multiple visual objects. NeuroImage, 55(3), 1208-1218.
Van der Burg, E. Awh, E., & Olivers, C.N.L. (2013). The capacity of audiovisual integration is limited to one item. Psychological Science, 24(3), 345-351.
Van der Burg, E., Alais, D. & Cass, J. (2013). Rapid recalibration to audiovisual asynchrony. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(37), 14633-14637.
Van der Burg, E. & Goodbourn, P.T. (2015) Rapid, generalized adaptation to asynchronous audiovisual speech. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 282, 20143083.
2. Perception.How do we (visually) perceive the world as it is? I am conducting research on the following topics: motion perception, face perception, time perception, visual crowding and how we taste wine. Within the field of perception I have ongoing collaborations with David Alais, Jess Taubert & Johan Leung (University of Sydney, Australia), John Cass (University of Western Sydney, Australia), Chris Olivers (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).
Cass, J. & Van der Burg, E. (2014). Remote temporal camouflage: contextual flicker disrupts perceived visual temporal order. Vision Research 103, 92-100.
Van der Burg, E., Olivers, C.N.L. & Cass, J. (submitted). Evolving the keys to crowding.
Taubert, J. Van der Burg, E. & Alais, D. (submitted). Love at second sight in online dating.
Alais, D., Leung, J. & Van der Burg, E. (submitted) Adaptation to translating dots reveals direction and orientation effects: Evidence for motion streaks.
3. Visual search.How do we search through clutter? What information competes for selection and what not. I am mainly interested in highly cluttered scenes. We apply genetic algorithms to understand how we search through those heterogeneous scenes. We main collaborators are: Jan Theeuwes & Chris Olivers (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), David Alais, Emily Orchard-Mills & Garry Kong (University of Sydney, Australia) and John Cass (University of Western Sydney).
Van der Burg, E., Cass, J., Theeuwes, J. & Alais, D. (2015). Evolving the stimulus to fit the brain: a genetic algorithm reveals the brain’s feature priorities in visual search. Journal of Vision, 15(2):8, 1-15.
Kong, G., Alais, D. & Van der Burg, E. (submitted) Linguistic Relativity and the Role of Recognisability in Visual Search for Colour.