Assistant Professor

Erik van der Burg

Assistant Professor

Phone: 020-5982173
Room: 1B-79


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.

Research Interests

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).

Selected publications:

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).

Selected publications:

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.

Recent publications

J Munneke, SS Hoppenbrouwers, B Little, K Kooiman, E van der Burg & ... (2018) Comparing the response modulation hypothesis and the integrated emotions system theory: The role of top-down attention in psychopathy. Personality and Individual Differences 122, 134-139
G Kong, D Alais & E Van der Burg (2017) Orientation categories used in guidance of attention in visual search can differ in strength. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 79 (8), 2246-2256
D Alais, T Ho, S Han & E Van der Burg (2017) A Matched Comparison Across Three Different Sensory Pairs of Cross-Modal Temporal Recalibration From Sustained and Transient Adaptation. i-Perception 8 (4), 20416695177186972
D Alais, J Leung & E Van der Burg (2017) Linear summation of repulsive and attractive serial dependencies: orientation and motion dependencies sum in motion perception. Journal of Neuroscience 37 (16), 4381-43903
E Van der Burg, CNL Olivers & J Cass (2017) Evolving the keys to visual crowding.. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 43 (4), 6901
D Talbot, E Van der Burg & J Cass (2017) Stereoscopic Segmentation Cues Improve Visual Timing Performance in Spatiotemporally Cluttered Environments. i-Perception 8 (2), 20416695176992221
R Kok, J Taubert, E Van der Burg, G Rhodes & D Alais (2017) Face familiarity promotes stable identity recognition: exploring face perception using serial dependence. Open Science 4 (3), 1606851
G Kong, D Alais & E Van der Burg (2017) Correction: Competing Distractors Facilitate Visual Search in Heterogeneous Displays. PloS one 12 (2), e01732151
CNL Olivers, E Awh & E Van der Burg (2016) The capacity to detect synchronous audiovisual events is severely limited: Evidence from mixture modeling.. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 42 (12 …4
G Kong, D Alais & E Van der Burg (2016) An investigation of linear separability in visual search for color suggests a role of recognizability.. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 42 (11 …4
J Taubert, E Van der Burg & D Alais (2016) Are we looking for love in all the wrong faces?. Journal of Vision 16 (12), 494-4941
G Kong, D Alais & E Van der Burg (2016) Investigating Linear Separability in Visual Search for Orientation. Journal of Vision 16 (12), 1280-12801
JP Noel, M De Niear, E Van der Burg & MT Wallace (2016) Audiovisual simultaneity judgment and rapid recalibration throughout the lifespan. PloS one 11 (8), e016169810
G Kong, D Alais & E Van der Burg (2016) Competing distractors facilitate visual search in heterogeneous displays. PloS one 11 (8), e01609143
E Van der Burg, D Alais & J Cass (2016) Rapid recalibration to audiovisual asynchronies occurs unconsciously. PERCEPTION 45, 269-2691
J Cass, E van der Burg & T Baldson (2016) Effect of audio-visual source misalignment on timing performance. PERCEPTION 45, 153-1531
E Orchard-Mills, E Van der Burg & D Alais (2016) Poorer resolution for audiotactile than for audiovisual synchrony detection in cluttered displays.. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 42 (7), 9532
E Orchard-Mills, E Van der Burg & D Alais (2016) Crossmodal Correspondence Between Auditory Pitch and Visual Elevation Affects Temporal Ventriloquism. Perception 45 (4), 409-4242
J Taubert, E Van der Burg & D Alais (2016) Love at second sight: Sequential dependence of facial attractiveness in an on-line dating paradigm. Scientific reports 6, 2274021
D Alais, SM Locke, J Leung & E Van der Burg (2016) No attentional capture from invisible flicker. Scientific reports 62

View full list of publications on Google Scholar