The Cognitive Development Lab

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People of the Lab

Post-doctoral fellow

Nahal Binur

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Nahal received her B.A in Psychology and Music in 2012. She continued in a direct PhD track, funded by a President’s scholarship, at the Edmond J. Safra Brain Research Center for the Study of Learning Disabilities at the University of Haifa. In her PhD research Nahal used behavioral and ERP measures to study the relations and shared neural resources for music and language processing, and how they may enhance perceptual and cognitive abilities in special populations.

Nahal is currently studying contextual effects on basic perceptual processes in typically and atypically developing children and adults:

EEG correlates of perceptual narrowing in infancy. This project combines psychophysical methods and the oddball frequency response from the fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) paradigm to test markers for perceptual narrowing and specialization. We test perceptual narrowing for different perceptual domains such as faces, music and language, to tap into a possible common mechanism of perceptual narrowing for these three perceptual domains.

Contextual effects within and across modalities. contextual effects on perceptual resolutions are well established so that thresholds are often lower (and sensitivity is higher) for stimuli presented within a narrow range of magnitude versus those presented within a wider range. We examine whether this calibration of resolution is modality-specific, testing contextual effects on perceptual resolutions, within and between different modalities.

Top-down processes in autism.

Perception in autism is shown to be insensitive to context and is more proximal to the sensory input. Based on our recent findings demonstrating qualitative changes in stimulus encoding (the violation of the constant Weber ratio), we claim that the typical pattern of increased effects of biases for noisier measurements may not be evident in autism where scalar variability (the Weber ratio) does not seem to hold. Consequently, the typical weighing of the sensory input in relation to prior knowledge may differ, so that for example, biases will not increase with intensities. We thus examine inference in basic perceptual processes in ASD testing possible modulations in how predictions are constructed while alterations in sensory measurements are taken into account.