Reliability of pRF measurements

Former MSc student Jelle van Dijk published a study in NeuroImage in which we quantify the test-retest reliability of population receptive field measurements by comparing mapping experiments separated by several weeks. We found that visual field positions are extremely reliable but second-order parameters, such as pRF size and cortical magnification factor, is far less reliable (although still well correlated across sessions). Control experiments further suggested that these findings do not critically depend on the carrier stimuli used for mapping – but that reliability is a lot better if comparing mapping experiments conducted within the same scanning session. This suggests that changes of the scanning environment over time (both in terms of the setup or the scanner itself) are the greatest source of noise limiting reliability.


van Dijk, JA, de Haas, B, Moutsiana, C, & Schwarzkopf, DS (2016). Intersession reliability of population receptive field estimates. NeuroImage 143: 293–303.

Kanizsa contours require awareness of inducers

Former MSc student Theodora Banica published an article in PLoS One in which we investigated whether Kanizsa (illusory) contours are generated and perceived when observers are unaware of the inducers. This follows up earlier conflicting reports on this question. We conducted attentional cuing experiments as well as direct discrimination experiments while in some trials the inducing shapes were masked from awareness. We found no evidence that observers perceive Kanizsa contours when they are unaware of inducers.


Banica, T, & Schwarzkopf, DS (2016). Induction of Kanizsa contours requires awareness of the inducing context. PLoS One 11(8): e0161177.

Linking size perception to pRFs

Drs Christina Moutsiana and Benjamin de Haas published a study in Nature Communications in which we investigate perceptual biases for size judgements and their relationship to the spatial tuning of visual cortex (population receptive fields). We describe a model for how the visual system may infer object size from activation patterns in early visual areas. In this article we also present the our new psychophysical method for estimating perceptual biases across several visual field locations, Multiple Alternatives Perceptual Search (MAPS).


Moutsiana*, C, de Haas*, B, Papageorgiou, A, van Dijk, JA, Balraj, A, Greenwood, JA, & Schwarzkopf, DS (2016). Cortical idiosyncrasies predict the perception of object size. Nature Communications 7: 12110.

Blog at

Up ↑