Marko Nardini


Marko Nardini is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Durham University, interested in sensory and cognitive development, and an Honorary Senior lecturer at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. After his first degree (Philosophy and Psychology) at Oxford he completed a PhD on human navigation at UCL with Janette Atkinson and Neil Burgess in 2006. Following his PhD he formulated three projects which were funded by ESRC and supported him as a post-doc at Oxford (with Oliver Braddick), UCL (with Janette Atkinson) and Birkbeck (with Denis Mareschal). These projects investigated human spatial and multisensory development. In his first Lecturer post at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology he continued this research alongside clinical collaborations to assess infants and children with vision disorders, including those undergoing new therapies for sight loss.

Scottish Vision Group 2014: Computation and Learning in Visual Development

In a special issue marking 30 years since the publication of Marr’s Vision (Perception 41:9, 2012), Poggio proposed an update to Marr’s influential “levels of understanding” framework. As well as understanding which algorithms are used for computations such as stereo or object recognition, we also need to understand how observers learn these algorithms, and how this learning is accomplished by neural circuits. I will describe research that addresses this problem in the domain of cue combination. In the last decade, linear cue combination has emerged as a common principle in visual and multisensory processing. In very many tasks, a computational goal (to minimise sensory uncertainty) is achieved by the algorithm of weighted averaging. This framework provides a good description of observers’ behaviour when combining sensory estimates (e.g. multiple depth cues). However, research has repeatedly shown that the computations carried out by developing perceptual systems – up to 8 years or later in humans – are not those leading to uncertainty reduction via weighted averaging. I will describe results showing how developing and mature perceptual systems differ in their computations when combining sensory cues, and outline two key problems for current and future research: 1. understanding the reorganisation of neural information processing that underlies these computational changes, and 2. understanding the learning mechanisms by which we acquire cue combination abilities through perceptual experience.


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