Why do we make errors in perception, in memory, and in our actions? Variability and uncertainty are fundamental aspects of human behaviour, which worsen with advancing age or neurological disease. In the lab we measure these factors using visual psychophysics and memory tasks, eye tracking and limb motion-tracking. Then, using mathematical models and computer simulations, we develop and test hypotheses about the underlying brain mechanisms.
One focus of the lab is on visual memory. Our ability to remember what we have seen is surprisingly limited: rather than a fixed capacity on how many objects we can remember, our work shows that the limit is on the resolution with which visual information can be maintained. Visual memory acts like a resource that can be allocated to important information in our environment: we investigate how this resource is distributed between features of the visual scene and how it is updated when we move our eyes.
In the brain, information about our environment and our planned actions is represented by the electrical activity (“spiking”) of neurons. Some of the most recent work in the lab involves developing computational models of encoding and decoding of neural activity that explain aspects of human perception and behaviour.
link]As of 2017, we will be making all data from our published studies publicly available via our publications page [
pdf]The population coding model of working memory explains why people make binding ("swap") errors -- new article in Journal of Neuroscience [
pdf]New article in PLOS Computational Biology examines the fidelity with which we store information about reward [
code]New code is available for trial-by-trial estimation of mixture component probabilities in working memory tasks [
Robert Taylor joins the lab from UNSW Sydney
David Aagten-Murphy joins the lab from LMU Munich
Sebastian Schneegans and Ben Dowding join the team
The lab has moved to the University of Cambridge, Department of Psychology
pdf]Opinion paper in TICS: "Spikes Not Slots" responsible for working memory limitations [
Paul Bays awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Science
pdf]Investigating the theoretical basis of misbinding in working memory, in collaboration with Loic Matthey and Peter Dayan [
link] is a web-based therapy for patients with visual disorders, developed in collaboration with Alex Leff and Masud Husain — our new paper [pdf] reports benefits for visual search ability in hemianopic patientsEyeSearch [
pdf]: errors in short-term memory are explained by noise in neural activityNew article in Journal of Neuroscience [
pdf] in Nature NeuroscienceReview paper on changing concepts of working memory [
Paul Bays visiting UC Berkeley, Institute of Cognitive & Brain Sciences during 2013/14
Leonie Oostwoud Wijdenes joins the lab from Jeroen Smeets' group in Amsterdam
Paul Bays at the Vision Sciences Society meeting in Naples, Florida
pdf] investigates the role of memory in selecting eye movements in natural visionNew article in Journal of Vision [
Louise Marshall to join UCL's PhD programme in Clinical Neurosciences