Psychology of Information Processing


Our group works on understanding how humans use their perceptual systems, especially vision, actively during natural extended behavior to guide decisions and actions with their bodies. This leads to the study of how the visual system uses sensory input, forms beliefs about the world by carrying out computations on the basis of its representations, and then carries out actions in goal directed behavior. Both experimental evidence from the area of active vision as well as theoretical advances in control theory and machine learning show that perception, action, and learning can only be separated under very restricted circumstances demonstrating the importance of the behavioral goal i.e. the current task. Our work therefore emphasizes the necessity to consider perception, cognition, decision making and actions jointly and investigates their interplay.

To make progress in this area we use an integrated approach requiring us to apply different methodological techniques. Our current focus is on:

  • behavioral studies involving eye tracking of human eye and body movements during complex naturalistic tasks in natural and virtual environments,
  • building models of tasks and developing algorithms that learn how to solve these tasks in virtual agents,
  • developing models for the representation and quantification of extended sequential human behavior,
  • simulation of learning algorithms in naturalistic virtual environments,
  • developing learning algorithms with an emphasis on the learning of sensory representations for actions.


10 April 2018 – invited talk in the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences at ETH Zürich, Switzerland
23 – 24 March 2018
– invited talk at the Probabilistic Brain workshop at Durham University, UK
19 – 22 March 2018
– teaching in the artificial intelligence group at the Kolleg of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation Studienstiftung in Weimar
28 Februaray 2018
– talk by Constantin Rothkopf at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Tübingen
14 February 2018
– new paper out in PNAS: Humans quickly learn to blink strategically in response to environmental task demands
02 February 2018 – talk by Constantin Rothkopf at the German Bundesbank as part of the series 'Experten zu Gast bei der Bundesbank'
15 November 2017 – Constantin Rothkopf is giving a talk at the departmental colloquium at the Cognitive Science Department at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
September – December 2017 – during the winter semester Constantin Rothkopf will be a visiting faculty in the Cognitive Science Department at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
27 – 31 August 2017 – we are presenting three posters on new work with Nils Neupärtl, Huaiyong Zhao and together with Melnik, Schüler & König at the European Conference on Visual Perception, Berlin, Germany
20 – 24 August 2017 – we are presenting two talks at the European Conference on Eye Movements, University of Wuppertal, Wuppertal Germany
19 – 24 May 2017 – we are presenting recent work with Huaiyong Zhao and David Hoppe at the Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting, St. Pete Beach, Florida, USA
26 – 29 March 2017 – David Hoppe and Julia Frankenstein are presenting recent work at TEAP
25 – 30 March 2017 – Constantin Rothkopf is teaching at the Spring School on Intelligence and Cognition, Cairo, Egypt
22 November 2016 – paper by Felix Schmitt, Hans-Joachim Bieg, Michael Herman and Constantin Rothkopf accepted at AAAI: I See What You See: Inferring Sensor and Policy Models of Human Real-World Motor Behavior
07 – 08 September 2016 – Constantin Rothkopf is participating in the workshop 'The state and future of probabilistic methods for modeling brain functions', Department of Cognitive Science, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
06 September 2016 – talk by Constantin Rothkopf at the workshop 'Inferring user action with mobile gaze tracking' at Mobile HCI 2016, Firenze, Italy
12 August 2016 – paper by Boris Belousov, Gerhard Neumann, Constantin Rothkopf, and Jan Peters accepted at NIPS: Catching heuristics are optimal control policies
02 August 2016 – invited talk by Constantin Rothkopf at the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
31 July – 14 August 2016 – Huaiyong Zhao is participating in the 2016 Summer School in Computational Sensory-Motor Neuroscience (CoSMo 2016), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
05 July 2016 – new paper out in PNAS: Learning rational temporal eye movement strategies
01 July 2016 – Julia Frankenstein has joined the Lab as a postdoc
13-14 March 2016 – 2016 Workshop on Cognitive Science at TU Darmstadt
29 February 2016 – you can apply to work in our lab in the area of computational neuroscience through the Smartstart network
31 January – 05 Febuary 2016 – invited talk at the 41st Annual Interdisciplinary Conference, Breckenridge, Colorado, USA
26 January 2016 – invited talk at the Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen, Germany
22 July 2015 – invited talk at the SFB-TRR 135 – Retreat, Castle Rauischholzhausen, Germany
21 July 2015 – invited talk at the Psychoinformatics Workshop, University of Siegen, Germany
02 July 2015 – together with Jan Peters we are organizing a workshop at TU Darmstadt on computational approaches in cognitive science
02 June 2015 – invited talk at the cognitive science center at the University of Tübingen, Germany
15 – 20 May 2015 – we are presenting recent work with David Hoppe on the modeling of optimal temporal allocation of visual attention at VSS, USA
30 April 2015 – invited talk in the Psychology Department at Warwick University, UK
11-18 January 2015 – David Hoppe is participating in the winter course 'The Neuroscience of Decision-making' at the Universitätszentrum Obergurgl, Austria
1 December 2014 – invited keynote talk at 7th International Symposium on Attention in Cognitive Systems ISACS, Citec, Bielefeld, Germany
25-26 October 2014 – invited keynote talk at Neurotechnix, Rome, Italy
16-18 September 2014 – invited talk at the workshop on 'Statistical Generative Models in Perception', Schloss Rauischolzhausen, Germany
17-22 August 2014 – invited talk at Dagstuhl Seminar on 'Resource-bounded problem solving', Schloss Dagstuhl, Germany
12 June 2014 – invited colloquium in the Interactive Graphics Systems Group, TU Darmstadt, Fraunhofer IGD, Darmstadt, Germany
26 – 27 May 2014 – invited talk at the workshop 'Beyond the gabor: Computational approaches to studying cognition in rich gaming worlds', NSF, Arlington, VA, USA
12 – 16 May 2014 – invitation to participate in the workshop 'Perspectives on Human Probabilistic Inference', Lorentz Center, Leiden, NL
28 April 2014 – invited talk in the colloquium at the computer science department, TU Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany
11 – 13 April 2014 – invited talk at the 'Workshop on Natural Environments Tasks and Intelligence' (NETI), Center for Perceptual Systems, University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA
03 – 04 March 2014 – together with Aldo Faisal we are organizing a Workshop at Cosyne: From the actome to the ethome: systems neuroscience of behavioral ecology
15 January 2014 – invited talk in the psychology department at the University of Giessen, Germany
24 – 27 September 2013 – we are presenting two posters on recent work at the Bernstein Conference 2013 in Tübingen, Germany
23 – 27 September 2013 – I am part of the program committee of the workshop on 'Reinforcement Learning with generalized feedback: beyond numeric rewards' organized by Johannes Fürnkranz and Eyke Hüllermeier at ECML 2013
30 June – 03 July 2013 – invited talk at the Ernst Strüngmann Institute retreat, Schloss Ringberg in Tegernsee, Bavaria, Germany
05-07 June 2013 – invitation to the guerrilla-symposium 'Advances in statistical inferences in the visual cortex', Budapest, Hungary
10-15 May 2013 – we will be presenting a talk on heuristics and optimality in visuomotor behavior together with Paul Schrater at the Vision Sciences Annual Meeting, Naples, FL, USA
15-22 March 2013 – invitation to participate as a faculty member in the Interdisciplinary College IK 2013, in Günne at Lake Möhne, Germany
05-07 March 2013 – invitation to participate in the workshop on 'Eyetracking Methods and Scanpath analysis', Center for Interdisciplinary Research, University of Bielefeld