Barbara Nordhjem (DK, 1983)

 Specialist and generalist

illusorymotionI am a PhD researcher working in the field of visual neuroscience. My background is in Cognitive Neuroscience and I also have several years of experience as a project manager outside of academia.  I study visual recognition and also strive to take scientific work beyond the lab by collaborating with artists, participating in public events, and by writing texts targeted at people outside my own field.

Management experience

I have experience coordinating public events and have been involved in several multidisciplinary projects. Transforming a creative idea into concrete project plans and finally a unique manifestation or collaboration really fascinates me.

I initiated the festival Display/ground in 2006 in Aalborg (DK). For three days an old power plant was transformed into a playground for live visuals, video installations, workshops, and electronic music. Following, I started as project manager in 2008 at V2_ Institute of Unstable Media in Rotterdam (NL). Here, coordinating the impossible became part of my daily work – from showcasing Dutch electronic art in China to simulating a warzone in the basement of V2_. During my PhD, I have been involved in different exhibits and festivals that connect art and science such as the Night of Art & Science, Noorderzon, and the exhibit 400 Years of Academic Science.

Making sense of visual perception

As a researcher, I am based in the Visual Neuroscience group within the Laboratory of Experimental Ophthalmology at the University Medical Center Groningen. I am currently in the 4th year of my PhD. My PhD project is about visual information integration, and how we explore different possible interpretations during object recognition. I often use stimuli that takes time to recognize or can be interpreted in several ways – bistable images, objects that are gradually revealed from noise, and emergent images where recognition requires feature integration.  I use eye tracking to study how visual information is sampled over time and when which image sections are inspected. My work also uses fMRI in combination with different techniques to model connectivity between occipito-temporal regions. Currently, I am studying differences in connectivity with connective field modeling, and changes in population receptive field sizes, before and after successful feature integration.

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